Heh … ok, a bit of an understatement. Democratic Rep. Eric Massa thinks he’s been a victim of “the Chicago Way”. And he has absolutely no use for either Steny Hoyer, the House’s number 2 Democrat or Rahm Emanuel, the president’s chief-of-staff.
In a radio interview Massa let loose on Emanuel:
“Rahm Emanuel is son of the devil’s spawn, Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) said. “He is an individual who would sell his mother to get a vote. He would strap his children to the front end of a steam locomotive.”
Rep. Massa describes a confrontation with Emanuel in a shower: “I am showering, naked as a jaybird, and here comes Rahm Emanuel, not even with a towel wrapped around his tush, poking his finger in my chest, yelling at me.”
“When I voted against the cap and trade bill, the phone rang and it was the chief of staff to the president of the United States of America, Rahm Emanuel, and he started swearing at me in terms and words that I hadn’t heard since that crossing the line ceremony on the USS New Jersey in 1983,” Massa said. “And I gave it right back to him, in terms and words that I know are physically impossible.”
“If Rahm Emanuel wants to come after me, maybe he ought to hold himself to the same standards I’m holding myself to and he should resign,” Massa said.
As for Hoyer, Massa had this to say:
“Steny Hoyer has never said a single word to me at all, never, not once,” Massa said. “Never before in the history of the House of Representatives has a sitting leader of the Democratic Party discussed allegations of House investigations publicly, before findings of fact. Ever.”
“I was set up for this from the very, very beginning,” he added. “The leadership of the Democratic Party have become exactly what they said they were running against.”
The allegations stem from an incident in which it is asserted that Massa made inappropriate comments to an aide at a Christmas party. Massa doesn’t dispute he made comments but claims that “political correctness” as well as a desire to make an example of a Democrat who isn’t and hasn’t played ball with the leadership is the real reason behind the demand he resign or face an ethics inquiry.
Of course, he has a point considering the outcome of the Rangel ethics probe in which Rep. Charles Rangal got off with nothing more than a virtual slap on the wrist (the ethics panel nor Democratic leadership requested he step down from his chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee, pressure from other Democrats drove it) and he still retains his seat. He’s also a “yes” vote on the health care bill. Massa, of course, is a ‘no’.
I’m not sure which side is right on the allegations or their seriousness (here’s Massa’s side of it), but it is clear there’s a double standard at work given the treatment of Rangal v. Massa. And one can only hope that Massa will change his mind and continue to sound off about his treatment and expose the double standard. As someone said, if it is true, it amounts to extortion by the House leadership (vote our way or we do an ethics probe). But on top of the bribery we see daily, I’m not sure anyone should be surprised.
A few points about the status of health care reform. First, if the votes were there for passage in the House, the bill would now be law. That should tell you all you need to know about the present status of the bill. The votes aren’t there. The bottom line, however, is if the House manages to pass it, health care reform becomes law. At that point, reconciliation is moot. It will be part of the deal, but with or without reconciliation in the Senate, the bill is law.
President Obama has said he wants to sign the bill into law by March 18th – prior to his trip to Indonesia and Australia. Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer refuse to sign on to that timeline. That should give you a good indication of the level of DEMOCRAT resistance to this bill. Again, I want to make the point that there are enough Democrats in the House right now to pass this bill into law without a single solitary Republican vote (and it appears if it does pass it will be without any GOP votes – something which also scares House Democrats, especially with November looming).
Yesterday the President was reduced to begging Congressional Democrats to pass the bill. He appealed to emotion claiming the fate of 31 million uninsured was in their hands and this bill was their only chance to get insurance (it’s not). And, of course, placing the future of his presidency second, claimed that it too was in their hands.
Heh … no pressure. And it is the sort of appeal that many former “no” votes will have difficulty resisting (calling Mr. Stupak).
But here’s what you should take away from those meetings with liberal members of Congress, because it is important:
[Rep. Barbara] Lee said Obama said he still “strongly supports” a public option, but “the votes aren’t there.”
But, she said, Obama said the current healthcare legislation is a “foundation,” adding he “would work with us on the next effort.”
“I am going to keep hop[ing] for a public option,” Lee said. “And he said he’s going to work with us.”
The term “foundation” is the key. From this bill the plan is to morph it into something that more closely resembles a single-payer system – something Obama has said any number of times he supports (prior to becoming president, of course, where he now claims it’s just not possible in America). The public option is step in that direction and, as Lee is pointing out, passage of this bill allows them to build on the “foundation” at a later date with things like a public option.
One other point I want to make – the dog and pony show the President had the other day where he used doctors in white coats as props (you remember his health care summit rant about Republicans using the actual bill they were talking about as “props”?) was nothing more than propaganda. There is no “Obama bill”. His claim that all of those things that both sides agree on are in the bill is just not true. It was an attempt to claim bipartisanship and paint the GOP as unreasonable if they didn’t help pass the Senate version of the bill. There isn’t nor has there ever been any real attempt to include Republican ideas or at bipartisanship. The speech was transparent propaganda designed for a specific purpose – to justify ramming the bill through by any means necessary. It is the only thing which has been transparent in the entire process.
The next two weeks are going to be among the most interesting politically that I’ve seen in a while. The arm-twisting will be brutal and you can also expect the deals and pay-offs to be monumental (and all done with your money – in the real world we’d call them attempts to bribe a public official and jail those offering the bribe. In Congress, it’s business as usual.).
Will the administration win out in the end or will the people be properly served by the eventual defeat of the bloated, intrusive and costly monstrosity? Stay tuned.
Last night, Twitter was all atwitter with the Drudge rumor that Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer had penned a USA Today editorial in which they called the health care protesters “un-American”. My reaction was, “surely they can’t be that dumb “.
To use a variation on a phrase, “Yes they can”:
These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views — but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades.
Of course the rest of whatever message they have in the editorial will be lost because of this bit of abject stupidity. Americans have little tolerance for being characterized as “un-American” when they speak out at meetings with the representatives who work for them. And they’re especially intolerant of those who purport to be political leaders and use language like that.
But then, no one has ever tried to make the case that Nancy Pelosi, or Steny Hoyer for that matter, had good political instincts. You know, for instance, that the editorial is most likely Pelosi’s idea, and she wanted Hoyer for cover. Allowing himself to be used that way doesn’t say much for Hoyer’s political acumen, and Nancy Pelosi’s lack thereof is legendary. This editorial just puts a cherry on top.
It is one thing to plead for civil debate and ask the rhetoric be toned down. That would most likely find some sympathetic ears out there and perhaps even agreement from some on the other side . Instead, apparently completely clueless to building sentiment against the legislation in question, Pelosi and Hoyer decide on the “enemy” approach. Characterize good Americans who are tired of being lied too as “un-American” when they approach their representative with questions and get a little steamed when he or she avoid answering them or pops off with talking points which everyone knows are a bunch of crap.
Yup, that makes them “un-American”. They’re un-American for demanding answers from slippery pols who seem to have their minds made up about the legislation and were hoping to hold pro-forma townhalls stuffed with friendly faces to validate their position. They’re un-American for disrupting what are supposed to be “shut up and listen” sessions instead of open forums in which constituents ask questions and receive answers to them. They’re un-American for coming out and demanding their representatives actually represent them and not their party.
Pelosi, Hoyer and most of the Democrats are apparently tone deaf when it comes to this issue. This is their agenda, not the country’s agenda, and they seem bound and determined to push through something that the country is telling them loudly at townhalls and through various polls, that they do not want.
Instead of listening, like Pelosi has said they planned on doing during the recess they’ve decided to declare war on the American public, because that public isn’t following along like good little sheep and allowing the Democrat judas goat to lead them into health care hell.
They have questions, like “what’s the rush”? And “have you read the bill”? And “if not, why not and what business do you have voting or even holding an opinion on something you haven’t read?”
Of course it’s rather hard to hold a “discussion” or a “debate” with someone who hasn’t read what they’ll be voting on. It also makes it obvious that when they try to tell you what’s in the bill they haven’t read that they’re spouting words someone else has given them which may or may not have any basis in fact.
And Pelosi has the gall and temerity to call Americans who object to that, however loudly, “un-American”? She truly is the poster-child for everything that is wrong with a seniority system. She’s been a disaster for the Democrats and has gone over the line with this statement. As is obvious, she has again put party in front of what is best for the country. She should resign her post as Speaker of the House in shame for such an outlandish insult to the American people.
UPDATE: An example of a lefty blog which either chooses to ignore the point, or completely misses it in favor of pretending the outrage on the right is completely misplaced.