‘I believe a little raw anger right now is justified,’ Weiner explains rant
He was mad as hell and he couldn’t take it anymore.
In a column published in Wednesday’s New York Times, Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner explains why he erupted against Republicans in a video that went viral the other week.
LAST week I got angry on the floor of the House. In this age of cable and YouTube, millions of people evidently saw the one-minute-plus clip. But there has been relatively little focus on why the substantive debate that sparked it matters.
At the Moderate Voice, Jerry K. Remmers observes, “WeinerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s portrayal of Jimmy Stewart playing ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington’ he thinks got lost in the translation to the American public by the right-leaning elements of our media.”
“In a losing battle to secure passage of a bill to fund health care and compensation for ill 9/11 rescue workers, he unleashed a tirade against what he called unprincipled GOP opponents of the measure,” Brett Michael Dykes wrote for Yahoo News last week. “Watch his outburst, which concluded in him smashing down the House rostrum microphone.”
New York Congressman Anthony Weiner vehemently opposed the stance by House Republicans to vote ‘No’ on the 9/11 First Responders bill. He took to the House floor to deliver a forceful tirade against their actions. The resulting CSPAN footage has spread like wildfire on sites like Youtube and across social networks.
Weiner angrily assailed Republicans for citing procedural hurdles as their reasons for voting against the bill. “You vote yes if you believe yes! You vote in favor of something if you believe its the right thing!,” he yelled.
Attempts to interrupt Weiner were batted away as he pointed a finger at a representative believed to be New York’s Peter King, and responded, “I will not yield to the gentleman and the gentleman will observe regular order!”
The most popular Youtube version of the tirade has nearly 500,000 views with a litany of other versions scattered across the popular video site.
Blogger Remmers adds,
WeinerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s dramatics was another nail the Democrats are hammering into the Republican obstructionist coffin.
It made me reflect on the path Sept. 11, 2001, has taken this nation: War in Afghanistan that inexplicitly got us into Iraq, the Patriot Act, compensation for 9/11 family victims and a former mayor of New York City who was accused of constructing every sentence on his presidential bid with a noun, verb and 9/11.
Since WeinerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s bill is deficit neutral without reminding us it is the right thing to do, I think heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s got the Republicans by the short hairs on this argument.
But the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent wrote at the Plumline last week, “To be clear, I’m all for the kind of passion Weiner is showing here, but let’s direct it properly. Don’t get into a shouting match about procedure. As emotionally satisfying as it may be to watch, raging against the GOP opposition machine’s successful efforts to tie Dems in knots just makes Dems look whiny, weak and impotent.”
Wednesday, Weiner writes, “More broadly, while I appreciate the concern over the future of civility in politics, I believe a little raw anger right now is justified. Democrats make a mistake by pretending there is a bipartisan spirit in Congress these days, and would be better served by calling out Republican shams.”
The specifics of the debate last week should be an example of an issue beyond partisan dispute. The bill in question was created to help the thousands of citizens who went to ground zero after the Sept. 11 attacks. These are Americans who wanted to help, and who scientific studies now show are falling ill and dying in troubling numbers.
After nine years, the House had a chance to make this right by voting on a bill that would provide treatment, screening and compensation to Americans who sacrificed their safety that day, as well as Lower Manhattan residents and others who have suffered injury from exposure to the dust and debris.
Though it should have been a legislative slam dunk, the bill was defeated on a simple up-or-down vote, with only 12 Republicans voting in favor. Just 21 additional Republican votes would have been sufficient for passage.
The truth is that this is a limited program, with a cap, because it is restricted to 9/11 responders and others directly affected by the toxic substances. As we all remember, the victims of ground zero dust came from all over the nation Ã¢â‚¬â€ they werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t just New Yorkers. And, frankly, I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wrong with trying to close a loophole that lets foreign multinational corporations avoid paying taxes on income they have earned in the United States.
“ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why I got mad last week,” Weiner concludes in his NY Times Op-ed. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also why IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m going to fight for this bill when we come back in session in September. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m still angry. Playing politics on important issues is never right. But on health care for 9/11 responders, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s an outrage.”