Conservative members of the House have been frothing that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) adjourned the lower chamber of Congress for its traditional August summer district work period — branding it a “five-week vacation” — instead of letting them dictate the agenda. They wish to pass their drilling-centric energy bill, after having blocked numerous other pieces of energy legislation in June and July. Their strategy is to brand Pelosi as a dictator, with pro-drilling conservatives representing the will of “average American people”:
— Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI): “This is the people’s House. This is not Pelosi’s politiburo.”
— Rep. John Boehner (R-OH): “She’s gonna bring us back and not deal with it? The American people are gonna hang her.”
— Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC): “When the people of France were starving, they went to the queen and said, ‘The people have no bread.’ The queen’s answer was, ‘Let them eat cake.’ That is not the kind of answer we expect from the leader of the people’s house in the United States of America.”
— Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ): “There’s going to be a change in this policy, Nancy Pelosi notwithstanding. She can’t repress us forever.”
— Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO): “I can’t answer why she’s acting like a dictator.”
— Rep. Denny Rehlberg (R-MT): “Nancy Pelosi should not hold the American people hostage.”
— Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX): “In your mind, do you believe America is a democracy or a dictatorship?”
In fact, when they are not crying in the dark, it is conservatives who are acting like dictators. Conservatives in the Senate have filibustered an energy agenda supported by the majority of the American people — and of the Congress — over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. Bush has declared his intent to veto such legislation over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.
McCain has refused to support the compromise. House Republicans have refused to support the compromise. Rush Limbaugh and his band of dittoheads are going absolutely ballistic on the compromise, flooding the legislators responsible with angry phone calls and claiming that it’s going to sink McCain’s presidential campaign.
The only real failure of Pelosi’s tenure has been the lack of strong, mandatory legislation to reduce greenhouse gases passed out of the House. Somehow I don’t think the right wing will be complaining about that any time soon.
UPDATE: From Progress Illinois, Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) joined the vilification of the Speaker of the House on a local radio show yesterday:
What the American people want is for us to work together to come up with solutions, not to have Nancy Pelosi being the dictator. This is a democracy.
Ronald Reagan was a man of many quotes. One of his most famous was given in Berlin, while standing in front of one of the enduring symbols of communism: the Berlin Wall. Fed up with the silent suffering of millions of East Berliners, President Reagan demanded: ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!’. Today we stand in the People’s House, where our public debate has been silenced and we also demand: Speaker Pelosi, turn on these lights and give us a vote!