On Thursday, Congressman Pete Stark went too far. The 18-term Congressman from California took the floor of the House in the debate around the vote to override President Bush’s veto on the SCHIP bill and said, “Under the Republican plan, by 2017, we probably will have killed 20,000 soldiers in Iraq, spending $200 billion…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."
If that wasn’t enough, Stark went on to say, “But President Bush’s statements about children’s health insurance shouldn’t be taken any more seriously than his lies about the war in Iraq. The truth is that Bush just likes to blow things up in Iraq, in the United States and in Congress.” Just think about what has to be going on in your head to believe any of that rhetoric.
Both Keith Olbermann (who HUMAN EVENTS has labeled MSNBC’s “dolt laureate”) and Libertarian pundit Lew Rockwell said Stark’s comments were “refreshing” which should tell you all you need to know about how far out these comments were.
CNN took an online poll that found that 88% of those polled said that Rep. Stark should not apologize. The White House was lackluster in its response. Better for President Bush to take the podium and directly answer the charge.
There wasn’t much to cheer about in the so-called mainstream media’s response. But in the real world where people meet and great in the neighborhoods of America people were shocked at what Rep. Stark said. Pete Stark is the best argument yet for term limits. A 75-year-old man serving 18 terms in Congress doesn’t need to be there. He’s served his constituents while trying to destroy his country long enough and needs to go home.
Putting aside the fact Democrats have been wrong in predicting tens of thousands of body bags in the war and on pretty much everything else, the bigger issue here is that Speaker of the House Nancy (the anti-war protesters are camping out on my begonias) Pelosi came out in almost strong terms to rebuke Stark.
In a statement released on Friday, Mrs. Pelosi said, "Yesterday’s debate in the House to override the President’s veto of bipartisan legislation to cover 10 million children was heated on bothsides. While Members of Congress are passionate about their views, what
Congressman Stark said during the debate was inappropriate and distracted from the seriousness of the subject at hand — providing health care for America’s children."
This is as good as it gets, the first time in memory that a Democrat has called something one of their cadre has said out of bounds. Even though she misrepresented the state of the legislation, and she had to qualify it by saying the discussion was heated on both sides, she actually said that his statements were “inappropriate” and took away from the business of the House. Let’s chalk it up to it’s been so long since any real business has been done in the House, Speaker Pelosi has forgotten what it looks like.
From the Democrats’ point of view, Pete Stark gave Republicans a way to distract from what they think the issue is — the denial of health coverage to 10 million children. It’s for the children they always say (regardless of the issue). Ten million children were not dying without coverage and there is no one in Washington who doesn’t think that a compromise wouldn’t be fashioned before the funding runs out in mid-November.
Through a spokesman Stark said, “He doesn’t believe that he is the story. He believes the story is about 10 million children being denied health insurance.” This from a guy that said on the eve of the invasion of Iraq the President was committing a “terrorist act,” and the guy that provoked ire by calling a Republican member of a committee a “little fruitcake.”
Although Speaker Pelosi’s rebuke will not change Stark’s attitude, it shows the truth about the Democrats. The leadership knows we won’t be getting out of Iraq anytime soon. They know that things are getting better over there and getting out without some measure of stability is not an option. Even most of the field of Democrat candidates for president are backing away from their most strident positions on Iraq. Progress is being made and whoever becomes the nominee will have to represent the mainstream of America who does not want to lose the War on Terror.
Pete Stark should be a dinosaur in the political world today. He represents the last gasp of Viet Nam era anti-war rhetoric. This election will determine if the dinosaurs walk the earth again or they go into extinction. Speaker Pelosi knows that too: she could see Stark’s words being used against Democrats in the political year ahead. I can’t cheer her for what she did. I can only ask, what took you so long?
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