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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pete Stark Apologizes and Censure Fails: Updated with Video of Stark's Apology: BUMPED with Reax

The Democrats killed a motion to censure Pete Stark for his comments made on the house floor during the failed attempt to override the president on the SCHIP bill:

"You don't have money to fund the war or children," Stark accused Republicans. "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."

The motion itself was able to force the Democrats to publicly stand on one side of the issue or the other, here is the roll call.

Five Democrats, all freshmen from contentious congressional districts, voted with Republicans on the resolution. Eight Democrats voted present. The five Democrats were, Altmire, Carney, Donnelly, Ellsworth, and Schuler.

The resolution quoted Stark and then concluded that "Mr. Stark, by his despicable conduct, has dishonored himself and brought discredit to the House and merits the censure of the House for the same. Resolved, that the member from California, Mr. Stark, is hereby so censured." (Source)

Stark then issued a tearful apology, after already having been mildly rebuked by Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer:

“I want to apologize to my colleagues — many of whom I have offended — to the president and his family and to the troops,” Stark said. He added that he hoped the apology would allow him to “become as insignificant as I should be” as the House moves forward on critical, divisive issues.
Stark then left the podium, wiping away tears as Democratic colleagues surrounded him with supportive handshakes.

Stark’s comments also resulted in a rescheduling of his plans to be the featured speaker for the California State Society at a Capitol Hill Club luncheon on Nov. 6.

“Concerning an upcoming lunch where Congressman Stark was to speak, we mutually decided that it would be best to reschedule for a later date,” said Linda Ulrich, chairwoman of the State Society’s executive board. “The purpose of the Golden State Roundtable luncheons is to discuss issues of importance to California. ... In this case, chances are great that the focus would be on an entirely different subject.”

Remember before Stark was pressured into apologizing after vowing not to, the netroots were already complaining that they felt the Democratic leadership were putting them "in their place", so after this, we can expect to see outrage and more complaints along the same lines.

You can almost "hear" the whine in this persons journal.

The latest message was sent to Congressman Pete Stark of California by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Stark dared to express views on the House floor that made some on the right angry. So his remarks were condemned by Pelosi in public. Needless to say the folks over at Hot Air are drooling over her putdown. They figure they won another round.


Guess that will teach Stark to show too much emotion.

Remember when Dick Durbin actually showed some emotion and made comments that the right wing did not like? Well, he sure did end up apologizing also, didn't he? Not really an activist, but he really learned not to speak unpleasantly.


Not long ago they took a vote to condemn MoveOn for an ad. The vote to condemn got more votes than the SCHIP.


On September 27 one of the most blatant put downs of the grassroots, netroots, liberals, activists was put front and center on the DLC website. The article, which is linked to the full David Brooks op ed was even more insulting to us because the DLC only published parts of it....those geared to put grassroots, netroots, liberals, activists in their places.

The netroots firmly believe that the Democrats should never apologize when they are wrong or do wrong will not be happy that Stark was forced to apologize. I will bring their reactions when they start.

In the meantime, due to horribly low poll numbers for Congress (11% approval ratings on some polls and no higher than 25% on others), Nancy Pelosi is planning a media blitz to try to counter the negativity that this 110th Congress is being seen with.

Democratic leaders want the rank and file to do more to publicize those details, because they are concerned that the public is unaware of those accomplishments and that it will become more difficult to hype their message as the presidential race further dominates the news.

Those leaders expect their members to hold more press conferences and town hall meetings, send out more franked mail and develop better online strategies. Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) is expected to keep tabs on which Democrats are doing their part to play up their record, leadership aides said.

“We’re concerned obviously that the accomplishments of both the House and Senate are overshadowed by failure to change direction in Iraq,” said Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). “We’re hoping in the next three or four months to make it clear what has been done and make it clear we are upset that more has not been accomplished because of the president’s refusal to change direction.”

On the surface, the numbers for Democrats do not look good. A poll for National Public Radio conducted earlier this month by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg and the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies found that only 25 percent of voters approved of the job Congress is doing, while 38 percent approved of President Bush.

Raise your hand if you think this will work any better then their other desperate actions over the last 10 months?

Hot Air promises to bring update with the video of Stark's apology if it becomes available.

YouTube Video up of Stark's apology: (TPM posted it at YouTube)

[Update] Reax have started, first from the comment section over at YouTube:

sheepwshotguns says:
dont worry stark, your right back into that insignificant huddled mass of scared little democrats again, way to cower down.

how much longer before people demand a revolution against these pansies?

From Open Left:
We aren't ending the war, but at least we are forcing those who oppose it to apologize to Bush and other members of Congress. Can't you just picture Stark being held down by Republicans and Bush Dog freshman in Congress, telling him to stop hitting himself?

[Update] I KNOW I shouldn't laugh, but Frank at IMAO just made me spew my coffee all over my keyboard...THANKS ALOT FRANK!!!

[Update] More netroots reactions...first from Crooks and Liars:

The “Battered Spouse Syndrome” has hit the Congressional Democrats. Again.

Firedoglake is "offended"!!!! Not at Stark's words, no, but that he was forced to apologize.

With all of the outrages perpetuated by this administration, with the abject failure of the House under your leadership to do anything that they were elected to do, I guess we’ll have to say that this is your crowning achievement — forcing Pete Stark to his knees and making him grovel before this completely lawless, warmongering and inhumane administration.

For the record, I’m offended.

Hamsher's update is even more amusing and proves our point that Stark was forced to apologize.

Update: From reader Cynthia R.:

I called Stark’s office in DC to complain about his apology. The person answering the phone told me that Stark had no choice; Stark was told before the vote was taken that should he not apologize, the vote to censure would pass. According to his office, that is the only reason he apologized.

I guess we better stop saying the House leadership can’t get anything done.

These are just initial reactions, I am sure that there will be more to come.....

Cross posted @ Stop the ACLU.