In a USA Today op-ed, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) claims that “Americans are increasingly angry” about Democratic health care reform proposals and that “the backlash isn’t fabricated.” Distorting and mocking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s (D-MD) claim that “drowning out opposing views is simply un-American,” Boehner asserts that “no one condones” the disruptions that have occurred at town halls across America:
The backlash isn’t fabricated, and those expressing vocal opposition are not “un-American,” as Speaker Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer suggested on this page Monday. To the contrary, it is real, and it exists for a single, simple reason: The more the American people learn about the Democrats’ health care bill, the less they like it.
No one condones the actions of those who disrupt public events. Every citizen should have the opportunity to express his or her views in an orderly and respectful way. But those in Washington who dismiss the frustration of the American people and call it “manufactured” do so at their own peril.
Boehner’s claim that “no one condones” the disruptions is laughable considering his office sent out a “GOP Leader Alert” last week promoting the disruptions at Democratic townhalls. In fact, the “Alert” approvingly quoted an Investor’s Business Daily editorial, claiming that “Rep. Lloyd Doggett, a Democrat from Texas, deserved the hostile reception given him at a town hall meeting in Austin.”
Boehner’s not the only GOP leader to cheer on the disruptive protesters. The NRCC sent out an e-mail celebrating “Recess Roasting.” At a “Freedom Conference” meeting last week, Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) mentioned that some Democratic lawmakers were almost “lynched” by angry protesters. After the crowd applauded, he added, “with very good reason they” — the protesters — “were upset.”
As Media Matters notes, Boehner’s op-ed is rife with other distortions of the facts, such as his claim that a Health Benefits Advisory Committee would lead to “rationing” because it would determine what “can be covered.” In fact, the provision cited by Boehner merely sets the minimum requirements for what “treatments, items and services” must be covered.