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Rep. Grayson, Tough Kid from Bronx, Rips GOP

10/2/09

We like to look on the bright side when it’s at all realistic to do so, and so in a week that saw the very disappointing performance (despicable, really) of several Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee—including Chairman Max Baucus—who voted against amendments put forth by their Democratic colleagues Jay Rockefeller and Chuck Schumer that would have offered some form of public option to the Finance Committee’s health reform bill, we are happy to praise someone who does have courage to stand up and fight.

Ladies and gentlemen, may we introduce the Bronx Bomber.

On the floor of the House Sept. 29 and 30, Florida Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson bluntly called the congressional Republicans heartless liars whose only health care plan is “Don’t get sick . . . and if you do get sick, die quickly.” Naturally the Republicans are shocked! at such behavior from a Democrat, and have demanded an apology. Not from this Democrat. Grayson turned right around and apologized to the tens of thousands of Americans who have died needlessly from a heartless medical system. He cited a recent study that says 44,789 Americans die each year because they have no health insurance. “I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven’t acted sooner to end this holocaust in America.” (More about his use of the word “holocaust” below.) Later in the TPM clip shown here, CNN’s polite society led by Wolf Blitzer asks Grayson if he shouldn’t apologize to the Republicans. “They should apologize to the American people. These are foot-dragging, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals who think they can dictate policy to America by being stubborn.” He used the same terms with Rachel Maddow, but added, “We’re dealing here with people on the other side who are utterly unscrupulous.” (He also admitted, when pressed three times, that the word “holocaust” perhaps wasn’t the best choice of words.) Here is a clip from The Rachel Maddow Show that shows her interview in full.

John Nichols of The Nation writes that Grayson is originally from the Bronx in New York City and is a graduate of Harvard Law. He was also, Nichols writes, an assistant “on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to current U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia, and conservative judicial icon Robert Bork.” But here’s the best part:

So unfamiliar with the notion that a Democrat might actually take the healthcare debate seriously enough to try and win it, the Republicans presumed that Grayson had gone off the deep end.

We first noticed Grayson earlier this year when, in hearings held by the House Financial Services Committee, he was positively grilling bankers and members of the Federal Reserve about the bailouts and the recklessness that led to the financial meltdown. Here he is in January grilling Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit, Federal Reserve Vice Chair Donald Kohn, and laughing in Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s face. The man has balls. (Harry Reid, former boxer, are you watching this?)

We look forward to more boldness-of-truth from this Democrat, and pray that more members of his party—and independents too—will be emboldened by his fighting spirit to do what they should have been doing all along. We also praise House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for backing him up, saying there is nothing for him to apologize for.



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