Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

When Propaganda Trumps Reality

October 23, 2013

When Propaganda Trumps Reality

October 23, 2013

Mr. Speaker:

This nation has gone through 18 government shutdowns in the last 37 years.  Fifteen of those 18 shutdowns occurred when Democrats controlled the House.  In those 15 shutdowns, the Democrats demanded increased abortion services and labor and environmental policy concessions.

Perhaps the reason we don’t remember those shutdowns as vividly is because in those days, presidents negotiated around the clock to resolve the disputes that caused them and did everything they could to minimize the public’s inconvenience and suffering.

This time was different.  This time, the President refused to negotiate and took unprecedented steps to amplify the pain and suffering that the public endured.  A senior administration official told the Wall Street Journal, "We are winning...It doesn't really matter to us (how long the shutdown lasts) because what matters is the end result."  A park ranger said, “We’ve been told to make life as difficult as we can for people.  It’s disgusting”  

This administration barricaded open-air venues like the World War II memorial for honor flights by World War II veterans, yet it opened the National Mall for an amnesty rally by illegal immigrants.  It closed simple parking lots and roadside turnouts that offered passersby distant views of Mt. Rushmore and Yosemite.  It ordered businesses to close just because they leased their land from the federal government.  It even tried to close the ocean to Florida fishermen.  These measures had never been used in prior shutdowns and they often cost more than simply leaving these venues open. 

A constituent of mine in Hume, California wrote “To get to my place of residence and work I have to travel through the Big Stump Entrance station (of Kings Canyon National Park) on Highway 180.  Currently the entire roadway is barricaded and it appears as though the Park Service is attempting to prevent anyone from traveling to or through the National park…I was in the area 17 years ago as a young adult during the last government shutdown and this type of thing didn’t happen.  Sure the facilities at the visitor centers were closed but the land was still accessible.”

Why would the administration do this?  Why would it deliberately order our public servants to “make life as difficult as we can for people?”  They told us why – because they were winning politically.   

On October 2nd, House Republicans – joined by 23 Democrats --  passed H.J.Res 70 to open the national parks – but the bill was killed in the Senate.  Why?  They told us why – they were winning politically. 

When Republican Governor Jan Brewer stepped forward to use state funds to staff the Grand Canyon National Park -- as Arizona had done during previous shutdowns – she was stonewalled by the Administration for ten days.  Why?  They told us why – they were winning politically. 

What was the outrageous Republican demand that Democrats refused even to discuss during the 16-day shutdown while they ordered our public servants to make life as difficult as possible for people? 

On September 30th, with the deadline just hours away, House Republicans had dropped all conditions to fund the entire government with one substantive exception: delay the individual mandate that forces people to buy policies against their will.  Democrats summarily rejected this proposal and for 16 days refused to negotiate on this single point, while literally accusing Republicans of sedition. 

Then this past Monday, the President’s Press Secretary made this stunning admission: the administration may itself seek to delay the individual mandate by dropping the penalty for non-compliance.

They’ve got to be kidding.  For the 16 days of the shutdown, the only substantive dispute was the Republican plea to delay the individual mandate for the millions of Americans who couldn’t find or afford Obamacare policies.  Doing so could have ended the impasse instantly.  During those 16 days, it was clear to everyone that the exchanges weren’t working.  Yet for 16 days the President and Congressional Democrats refused even to discuss the matter, while they turned their formidable propaganda machine to the task of winning politically. 

Then, just four days after Republicans capitulated on all points, including dropping their single substantive request to delay the individual mandate, the administration is now considering delaying the individual mandate?  

These facts speak for themselves and need no embellishment from me.  John Adams once observed that “Facts are stubborn things.” As passions cool and reason resumes its rightful place in the nation’s discourse, these facts will speak eloquently and stubbornly of what happens when politics trumps policy and propaganda trumps reality.


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