The Shame Of The Republicans
It’s not just that they fought against insuring 32 million Americans, and cared more about depriving Democrats and the president of a a political victory than of doing what’s right for Americans. It’s that they behaved like children and set a poor example for real children. Yelling “Socialism!” “Communism!” “Tyranny!” and hurling the “N” word and making homophobic remarks do not speak well of them. And then, on the day of the vote, Republicans went out of their way to incite an unruly crowd of tea partiers.
Thousands of conservative “tea party” activists had massed on the south side of the Capitol, pushing to within about 50 feet of the building. Some Democrats worried aloud about the risk of violence, and police tried to keep the crowd away from the building.
But rather than calm the demonstrators, Republican congressmen whipped the masses into a frenzy. There on the House balcony, the GOP lawmakers’ legislative dissent and the tea-party protest merged into one. Some lawmakers waved handwritten signs and led the crowd in chants of “Kill the bill.” A few waved the yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag of the tea-party movement. Still others fired up the demonstrators with campaign-style signs mocking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Republican behavior inside the chamber wasn’t much better.
Inside the House chamber, Republicans placed on Democrats’ chairs photos of the Democratic lawmakers who lost their jobs in 1994. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) went to the well to say that “freedom dies.” Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tex.), sitting in the front row in a way that displayed the Lone Star flag on his cowboy boots, said Democrats were on “the path of government tyranny.” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) warned of a “fiscal Frankenstein.”
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) hollered on the floor about “dirty deal after dirty deal.” Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) likened the Democrats to Soviets. “Say no to totalitarianism!” he said. Somebody in the Republican seats shouted “Baby killer” at Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), an antiabortion Democrat.
Then a number of GOP representatives continued to stir the crowd up outside.
First Reps. Buck McKeon (Calif.), Rob Bishop (Utah) and Mike Turner (Ohio) came out waving signs saying “KILL THE BILL.” The crowd went wild. Reps. Mary Fallin (Okla.), Geoff Davis (Ky.) and Bill Posey (Fla.) held the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, and Rep. Pete Sessions (Tex.), head of the House Republicans’ 2010 campaign committee, came out with half a dozen colleagues and more kill-the-bill signs. Rep. Jeff Miller (Fla.) dangled an American flag from the balcony.
By the time Minority Leader John Boehner took the floor at about 10 pm, the mood on the floor was barely distinguishable from the mood on the lawn outside. “Shame on each and every one of you,” the Republican leader yelled at the Democrats, as the GOP lawmakers gave him a standing ovation. Boehner said the Democrats were a “disgrace” to Jeffersonian values.
No, “Leader” Boehner. Shame on you. And shame on a political party that not only works to prevent progress for the American people, but is incapable of doing so gracefully.
Below, chanting, “Obamacare has got to go! Hey hey ho ho!”, one of the protesters is carrying a sign saying “Obama Communism You Can Believe In.”
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