Of all the leftwing calls for surrender in Iraq — of all the insults to our troops and hysterical attacks on our President — one stood out this week.
It was even more outrageous because it came from an 18-term member of Congress.
And it was more outrageous still because it was said on the floor of the United States House of Representatives.
But first, let me give you some context, so you understand the full disgracefulness of the statement.
Last Thursday, House Democrats tried and failed to override President Bush’s veto of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) expansion bill.
Just as the President’s rejection of the bill was about to be supported by a vote of the House, Congressman Pete Stark (D-Calif.) took to the floor and showed that just when you think the level of debate among the leftwing lunatic fringe can’t sink any lower they surprise you.
Sending Kids to Iraq ‘to Get Their Heads Blown off for the President’s Amusement’
Here’s what Congressman Stark said on the floor of the House, accusing Republicans of funding the war in Iraq but not children’s health:
“You don’t have money to fund the war or children. But you’re going to spend it to blow up innocent people — if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President’s amusement.”
You can watch it here.
By my count, in one ugly statement, Congressman Stark manages to level at least four vicious attacks: He accuses Republicans of indifference to children’s healthcare needs; he demeans the sacrifice of our troops in Iraq; he grotesquely accuses the President of being amused by the deaths of our troops in Iraq; and he attacks the honor of the House of Representatives by uttering the words in the first place.
Of course Republicans immediately objected to Congressman Stark’s comments. They demanded that he retract his statement and apologize. So what did he do?
Stark issued a statement saying Republicans should apologize for voting against SCHIP.
Congress Should Vote to Censure Pete Stark
It’s clear that no expressions of regret will be forthcoming from Congressman Stark. He obviously stands by his comments. But what about his Democratic colleagues? Do they agree that the sacrifice of our troops in Iraq is meaningless? Do they agree that the President is “amused” by it?
One way we can know for sure is if the House votes immediately to censure Congressman Stark.
The Constitution gives the House the right to censure a member for misconduct or inappropriate words or behavior.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the majority of the 22 censures of members in House history “concerned issues of decorum, that is, the use of un-parliamentary or insulting language on the floor of the House or acts of violence towards other members.”
In other words, precisely what Congressman Stark did last week.
Congressman Pete Stark has dishonored the entire House with his despicable remarks.
By voting for or against censure, House members can go on the record. Do they agree or disagree that America is sending its young people to Iraq to fight and die for the President’s “amusement”? Do they agree or disagree that this is language worthy of a member of the House of Representatives?
Americans deserve to know the answer.
On the Other Hand, Congressman Tim Murphy Deserves Congratulations
From one member of Congress who deserves censure to another that deserves congratulations:
Congressman Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) has been a long-time champion of transforming health and healthcare in America. He has been a strong advocate of modernizing healthcare through information technology, and he has been a true leader on improving patient safety. And the recent scare of drug-resistant staph infection in hundreds of communities across the country shows that Congressman Murphy is a leader that more members of Congress should listen to.
Staph Infections Kill More Americans Each Year Than AIDS
Staph infections have been a persistent problem in our healthcare system, particularly in our hospitals. But the size and scale of the drug-resistant strains are alarming.
A recent study by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control & Epidemiology concluded that drug-resistant staph is about 10 times more prevalent than earlier estimates, accounting for as much as 70% of all staph infections. It likely kills more than 18,000 Americans every year — more than AIDS.
The antibiotics that worked in the past can do little to stop it. One high school student died recently from a methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection in Virginia. And the threat of infection has forced dozens of school districts across the country to close.
The problem is worse in healthcare. More than half of all cases originate in the healthcare system, from outpatient facilities to nursing homes. But the single biggest danger still remains in our hospitals.
Pass the Healthy Hospitals Act — Now
One quarter of drug-resistant staph is in hospitals. But this is only part of a larger problem. Hospitals can be breeding grounds for infection, from ventilator-associated pneumonia to urinary-tract infections. Earlier this year, Rep. Murphy introduced the Healthy Hospitals Act (H.R. 1174) to help eliminate hospital-acquired infection. An important part of this bill is to have hospitals publicly report their infection rates.
Pennsylvania has a model that other states — and the federal government — should follow to publicly report this information. The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council makes available a wealth of information on every hospital in the state.
Consumers have a right to know which hospital is safer. Shining a light on a serious problem like infection rates is one step toward curing it.
Congressman Murphy should be applauded for his leadership on this important issue, and Congress should pass the Healthy Hospitals Act — now.
The Significance of the Bobby Jindal Victory
Saturday’s election of Bobby Jindal (R) to be governor of Louisiana is an historic victory.
Not only will Jindal become the nation’s youngest governor, but he will be the first non-white governor to hold the state’s post since P.B.S. Pinchback, an African-American Republican who served as acting governor of the state during the 35-day period after the state legislature impeached Gov. Henry Clay Warmoth in 1872.
Perhaps there is something that 2008 candidates can learn from this son of Indian immigrants. In essence, Jindal can be seen as the model for Republicans on how to win next fall. Jindal endured a vicious smear campaign from the left, including accusations that he was “anti-Protestant” by twisting an essay on religion he published in the Oxford Review and attacking his Catholic faith, as well as race-baiting tactics that preyed on the emotions of minorities victimized by Hurricane Katrina.
Still, Jindal won a resounding victory. With about 92% of the vote tallied, the 36-year-old Jindal had garnered about 53% of the votes cast in a 12-way contest. His nearest competitor was Democrat Walter Boasso, with just 18%. In addition, a poll taken by Loyola University and CBS TV-Affiliates showed Jindal leading among African-Americans.
Convincingly, Bobby Jindal has proven that he is the essence of the American dream — the very dream his parents immigrated to this country to achieve. I applaud his victory and wish him well in the coming months.
P.S. — I had the opportunity this week to speak to the Values Voter Summit held in Washington. As a report from the Baltimore Sun notes, a lot of my remarks focused on themes found in my book, Rediscovering God in America. In particular, I pointed out that values voters are fed up with the attacks on our religious heritage.
“What our secular friends don’t understand … the America that gave us freedom … was an America based on the rights given to us by our Creator,” I told the gathering. “I’ve shared this with you because I believe we are at one of the great turning points in American history … I believe that in the next few years, Americans are going to come together … and they are going to say, you know, the path we’ve been on recently, the path the liberal media had us on, the path that judges had us on … that is a path to end America as it has been.” There will be “a fundamental sea change.”