Beyond the Rampant Hypocrisy
by Charles Lemos, Tue Mar 16, 2010 at 10:17:15 PM EDT
Norman Orstein, the Congressional scholar and the liberal in residence at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, has a short must read post:
Any veteran observer of Congress is used to the rampant hypocrisy over the use of parliamentary procedures that shifts totally from one side to the other as a majority moves to minority status, and vice versa. But I can’t recall a level of feigned indignation nearly as great as what we are seeing now from congressional Republicans and their acolytes at the Wall Street Journal, and on blogs, talk radio, and cable news.
It reached a ridiculous level of misinformation and disinformation over the use of reconciliation, and now threatens to top that level over the projected use of a self-executing rule by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In the last Congress that Republicans controlled, from 2005 to 2006, Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier used the self-executing rule more than 35 times, and was no stranger to the concept of “deem and pass.”
That strategy, then decried by the House Democrats who are now using it, and now being called unconstitutional by WSJ editorialists, was defended by House Republicans in court (and upheld). Dreier used it for a $40 billion deficit reduction package so that his fellow GOPers could avoid an embarrassing vote on immigration.
I don’t like self-executing rules by either party—I prefer the “regular order”—so I am not going to say this is a great idea by the Democrats. But even so—is there no shame anymore?
The answer to Dr. Ornstein's question is no, not on that other side of the aisle.
It's gone beyond hypocrisy however. The rhetoric emanating from the Republicans is as if some prelude to civil war. You have Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota openly calling on citizens not to pay taxes and to engage in acts of civil disobedience. At her "Kill the Bill" rally on the St. Paul Minnesota State Capital steps, she compared President Obama to Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez and then called the healthcare reform bill "illegitimate" before suggesting that such illegitimate bills need not be followed.
"In their bill they have the IRS enforcing the Health Care Bill", said Rep. Bachmann. "We're not going to pay their taxes..." "We don't have to follow a bill that isn't law."
Then there's Rep. Steve King of Iowa who in comments to the Huffington Postis encouraging a popular uprising that shuts down government until it capitulates.
Fill this city up, fill this city, jam this place full so that they can't get in, they can't get out and they will have to capitulate to the will of the American people," he said.
"So this is just like Prague under communist rule?" the Huffington Post asked.
"Oh yeah, it is very, very close," King replied. "It is the nationalization of our liberty and the federal government taking our liberty over. So there are a lot of similarities there."
Earlier, King implored the crowd to bring the nation's capital to a sort of paralysis. Warning, erroneously, that the health care bill would fund abortion and fund care for 6.1 million illegal immigrants, he demanded that concerned citizens "continue to rise up."
"I look back 20 years ago in the square in Prague... when tens of thousands showed up there and they shook their keys peacefully and they took over their country and they achieved their freedom back again," he said.
"If you can keep coming to this city, fill up the congressional offices across the country but jam this city. If you can get on your cell phones, and get on your Blackberries and your email, and ask people to keep coming to this town. Storm this city, fill up Washington D.C., jam this capital so they can't move. And if tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of you show up, we will win. We will defeat this bill and you will have your liberty back."
This is government by intimidation. It's crazy talk and it's much more than just rampant hypocrisy and shameful. It is downright reprehensible.