Saturday, September 03, 2011


In just two full terms IL Sixth District Congressman Peter Roskam has used his considerable intelligence, ambition and drive to rise to Chief Deputy Whip of the majority Republican House leadership. Alas, Roskam's rise coincides with the rise of the cult-like tea party mentality that has captured the GOP, causing it to oppose every sensible measure to extract America from its economic malaise.

Creating or saving thee million jobs with an economic stimulus program caused them to pretend that it didn't create a single job. Providing the first measure of relief in the hundred year effort to give adequate health care to the tens of millions without it, caused them to pretend that capitalism and freedom are dying.

That mentality reached a new low with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's call that any federal aid to Hurricane Irene victims be offset by spending cuts to other parts of the social safety net. Cantor's hypocrisy, not to mention his heartlessness, is breathtaking considering he voted against a similar proposal in 2004, when Tropical Storm Gaston struck his home state of Virginia and a Republican occupied the Oval Office.

Yet, there was Congressman Roskam defending Cantor's comments by blithely stating "We're out of money, all of us...and... we need to recognize there's a cost to that". Roskam knows full well he is simply parroting Tea Party talking points rather than exercising statesmanship. American is neither broke nor out of money; being able to borrow at interest rates which right now are much less than in 2004 when Majority Leader Cantor argued it wasn't necessary to pay for disaster relief. While Congressman Roskam postures about budgetary deficits to help the needy, he is strangely silent as America borrows endlessly to fund senseless wars in the Middle East. Roskam recognizes that the needs of the war party are a forbidden topic for Tea Party ire.

One can imagine Congressman Roskam starting each day with his morning tea, wondering what nonsense the Majority Leader has prepared for the Chief Deputy Whip to re-hash to his District. Republican House leadership in Tea Party Nation sure strikes me as a Devil's Bargain.

Also published in the Daily Herald, September 10, 2011