Speaking on the House floor Thursday concerning the vote to override President Bush’s veto of the SCHIP funding bill, Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) shouted:
"You don't have money to fund the war or children, but you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President's amusement."Posting at NewsBusters, Brad Wilmouth reported [excerpt]:
On Thursday's "Countdown," MSNBC host Keith Olbermann suggested that President Bush "hates" kids because of the President's veto of the SCHIP funding bill, as the "Countdown" host teased the show: "Why does President Bush hate American kids?"So Olbermann finds it “refreshing” that Stark refused to back down?
Olbermann also suggested that it was "refreshing" to see Democratic Congressman Pete Stark refuse to apologize for accusing President Bush of gaining "amusement" at U.S. troops having "their heads blown off" as he asked of guest Jonathan Alter [, a liberal Newsweek columnist]: "Did you not, in that, obviously he went to extremes there, but was there not something refreshing about his at least refusal to back down when somebody came after him?" (Transcript follows)…
OLBERMANN: And yet, did you not, in that, obviously he went to extremes there, but was there not something refreshing about his at least refusal to back down when somebody came after him? Or is the Democratic leadership going to say to him, "No, you're going to have to back down to some degree"?
ALTER: No, I think he should back down. I mean, you've got to look at the way, say, Pelosi handles it, versus the way, you know, Stark handles it. You can't say, look, the President is misguided, he's been a terrible President, but he's a human being, and he doesn't like to see people killed, and to say that he does is just silly and counterproductive, and the best thing for him to do would be to apologize and move on. …
A few comments:
I remember people rightfully noting a climate of increased danger for the President stirred by, among other things, a Nov. 22, 1963 Dallas newspaper ad which the NY Times reported “bitterly attacked [President Kennedy’s] record."
Olbermann make’s clear he’s willing to tolerate, even encourage, vicious and inflammatory attacks on an American President, or at least on the current President.
Yes, Olbermann says Stark’s statement was “extreme” but in the next breath he reveals, unintentionally for sure, that he’s not only willing to accept a House member attacking the President as Stark did, he’s glad Stark hasn’t retracted his attack.
Olbermann finds that "refreshing."
By the way, it was a member of the media who asked Stark if he would retract his statement.
As of today, I don't know of any Democratic House member who's said Stark should retract his attack and apologize to the President and the House.
If there's a Dem House member out there who's called for Stark to retract and apologize, please let me know. I'll be glad to post about it.
Regarding Alter, his remarks fall in the categories of “common decency” and “responsible adult.”
But I wish Alter had gone further and called for the House to censure Stark for his reckless and dangerous statement.
I’l like to hear what you think but one caution: I hope no one offers the “Pete Stark’s just like that and does it all the time” excuse for overlooking what Stark did.
Many drunk drivers are “just like that” and do “it all the time.” But that doesn’t excuse them. So why should the same arguments excuse Stark?
The House censuring Stark would be letting him off easy for what he did.
As well as censuring him, his fellow House Democrats ought to tell Stark if he does anything again close to what he’s just done, he’ll be stripped of his membership on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.
Brad Wilmouth's entire post is here and well worth a read.