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Why Won’t "Blue Dog" Dems Sign Discharge Petition on Fairness Doctrine Ban?

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‘So Many Men Are Afraid of Nancy Pelosi!’ Says Rep. Bachmann

Why Won’t "Blue Dog" Dems Sign Discharge Petition on Fairness Doctrine Ban?

Last week, I experienced one of the most frustrating assignments in my twenty-nine years as a reporter with HUMAN EVENTS.  Rep. Mike Pence (R.-Ind.) needs 22 more signers on a discharge petition to get his Broadcasters Fairness Act on the House floor for a vote.  I decided to call some of the “Blue Dog” (conservative) Democrats in the House to see if any would help Pence’s measure to ban revival of the Fairness Doctrine (the communications policy ended in 1987 that would require radio stations to present varied political views and discourage small broadcasters from running Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and other conservative commentators.)

But I found myself disappointed.  Democratic Reps. Brad Ellsworth (Ind.) and Jason Altmire (Pennsylvania) — both considered centrist Democrats — never responded to my query.  The newest Democrats, Travis Childers (Miss.) and Don Cazayoux (La.), both won nationally-watched special elections for the House in previously Republican districts earlier this year.  Both ran as pro-life, pro-gun, and anti-tax candidates who were only vaguely aware of Barack Obama.  Neither will sign onto bringing Pence’s measure to the House floor. At least, they won’t say that they will.  Spokesmen to both told me they would get back with an answer but didn’t do so.  Freshman Rep. Heath Schuler (D.-N.C.) showed great courage when he played professional football for the Washington Redskins, but that courage wasn’t apparent last week.  He never called back on the Pence measure, either.

All told, there isn’t a single Democrat in the House who has signed the discharge petition so far.  The bill would pass the House easily, if only it could be wrested from Pelosi’s grip.

“There isn’t any independence on the Democratic side of the aisle,” Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R.-Minn.) told me from the House floor yesterday.  “It’s amazing that so many men are afraid of Nancy Pelosi.  But that’s what it is — Democrats say they are so committed to the First Amendment but they won’t pass a measure to ensure freedom of speech because they are so afraid of her.”

Bachmann told me she would seek out Rep. Dan Boren (D.-Okla.), self-styled conservative Democrat who won’t endorse Obama for President.  She tried to get him on the House floor yesterday to ask why he had not signed the discharge petition, but was told Boren had left for Oklahoma.  “Rep;. Bachmann will try to get him next week and get back to you,” her spokeswoman promised. 

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John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on HumanEvents.com. Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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