July 20th, 2010
04:26 PM ET
4 years ago

Roskam on liberal agenda: 'Heaven help us'

Republican Reps. Peter Roskam, left, and Kevin McCarthy, right, spoke Tuesday about a GOP initiative that allows the public to weigh in on agenda items.
Republican Reps. Peter Roskam, left, and Kevin McCarthy, right, spoke Tuesday about a GOP initiative that allows the public to weigh in on agenda items.

Washington (CNN) – With less than four months until voters go to the polls in this year's midterm elections, one of two House Republicans charged with developing a positive GOP agenda sounded a warning Tuesday about what he sees as the temptations inherent in the liberal agenda.

Invoking the Old Testament story of Esau and Jacob, Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Illinois, said the American public should not be taken in at a time of need and vulnerability by what "the political left" is offering.

In the Bible tale, Esau, as the older of Isaac's two sons, was in line to receive an inheritance from his father. But, in a moment of hunger after returning home from a trip, Esau gave up that birthright to his younger brother Jacob in exchange for a pot of stew.

"Today the political left is coaxing the American people and the American people are hungry," Roskam said at the Heritage Foundation's weekly gathering of conservative bloggers. "They're uncertain. They're in ground that they have never been on before. They're seeing an economy that is one of the scariest things that they've seen in a long time. They see the United States and our role in the world being challenged here, there, and elsewhere. And they are uncertain."

Roskam likened the public in the current economic and political environment to Esau in the Old Testament.

"And the political left is saying 'Just give us your birthright. Just trade it in and we'll give you stability.' Well, Heaven help us if we make that deal. Heaven help us if we give a birthright of freedom and opportunity and entrepreneurship and national strength and goodness. If we just squander that – for what? For people – entrusting it to people who can't pass a budget. Are you kidding me? That's a raw deal," the Illinois Republican said, making a reference to the fact that Democrats in Congress have missed the traditional deadline for producing the next federal budget.

Roskam, a House Republican deputy whip, was joined at the Heritage Foundation event by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-California, the chief deputy whip of the House Republican Conference.

In the run-up to the midterms, the two men have been charged by House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, with developing the House GOP's positive agenda for governing. The project has been likened to Newt Gingrich's "Contract with America," which House Republicans unveiled prior to the 1994 midterm election where the GOP retook control of the House and the Senate during the last Democratic administration.

McCarthy said Tuesday that the GOP agenda will include legislation and is likely to touch on job creation, federal spending, governmental reform, health care, and national security.

House Republicans recently launched an initiative called "America Speaking Out" that allows the public to log on to a website and submit ideas for the agenda.

Roskam said the "America Speaking Out" initiative fits well with the public's concerns about the policies of national Democrats.

"The public has the sense that the majority has completely squandered the goodwill that was entrusted to them," said Roskam.

He added, "The mask is off of this liberal agenda – no pretense of moderation – and people are just recoiling from it. Saying 'That's not what we signed up for. That's not what we were promised in November of 2008.'"

And Roskam also had a warning for Democrats on Capitol Hill how might try to pass more of their proposals in a lame duck session if they lose control of the House in November's voting.

The Illinois Republican said voters would not soon forget such lame duck legislating.

"The Democratic Party wouldn't live that down for years and year and years," Roskam said. "It would haunt them."


Filed under: 2010 • GOP • Kevin McCarthy • Peter Roskam
soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. Rickster

    The Founding Fathers would be appalled at today's democrat party. It represents everything they worked so hard to avoid for the country. Look it up.

    July 20, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Enough already! I'm sick of bible-thumping in Congress!!

    July 20, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. Larry

    Story of Esau? LOL.

    Oh gawd, the republicans are reading the bible.

    Wait till November, Roskam, the Dems are going to rain some real fire and brimstone on you.

    July 20, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  4. Michael

    The Christian Republican Party's hyprocrisy is simply astounding. As just one example of this, I would challenge any Christian to read the bible and show me where Jesus is saving the money changers (bankers)– a favorite of most Republicans.

    Let's be serious. Jesus was helping those in need and almost exclusively follows the Democratic Party's so called "liberal" agenda. For God's sake, this was Jesus' agenda. The concept of Republican Christianity has so bastardized Christianity to the point that it has become anathema to many Americans. When judgement day comes, I hope Jesus has a lot of forgiveness in his heart otherwise the vast majority of the Republican Party members will be panhandling at the pearly gates.

    July 20, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  5. Chas in Iowa

    A Republican neo-conservative stepping up to tell biblical stories,.....now that's rich.

    These fools that deprive the most needy Americans of the basic needs so they can keep thier big tax breaks (and bitch about who is going to pay for them).

    Next time let the big banks fail and save the American people, we'll be a lot further ahead.

    July 20, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  6. ib

    If we don't get the power away from the liberals we will not have a country like we used to know. They cannot and will not controll spending. Like little kids in a cookie jar; can't keep their hands out of it. Please people wake up and look at what is really happening to our country we have to get back to controlled spending.

    July 20, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  7. Wisconsinite

    Better watch out, Roskam! God just might reach out and SMITE you for using the Bible for political gain! :-) Freaking HYPOCRITE just like the rest of the Rabid Right!

    July 20, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  8. Dennis

    I have had enough of the liberal falsehoods. If I remember the Constitution correctly, Congress controls the pursestrings. That means that Democrats were in charge of the money for TWO YEARS before the economic downturn. If I remember correctly unemployment was dropping until 2006, and the economy was correcting after the 1999 and 2001 recessions (one the dot com bubble and the other 9/11 atttacks and resulting economic impacts. Further, These Democrats obviously failed Econ in College or worse they understood completely what would happen when they enacted laws that disturbed the equilibrium point in the labor commodity. I have had enough, and can no longer stay silent. There are a great many fools that actually believe the Democrats are helping them, and over time have had economic stagnation in response. The Democrats took your job to gain power, but give you a nice monthly unemployment check so keep voting them in.

    July 20, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. JimII

    Did this guy not read the story of Jacob and Esau? He knows that Jacob, aka Israel, is the good guy in the story, right? No Jacob then no Judah, no Judah no David, no David no Jesus.

    I mean, seriously? I you believe God wrote the book, shouldn't you read it?

    July 20, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  10. Former Republican - Now Independent

    To those of you who don't know Peter Roskam, consider yourselves lucky. Roskam replaced the late Henry Hyde and since then he has accomplished nothing. Roskam's greatest achievement in the House was managing to sit next to the bozo who yelled out "You lie" during a State of the Union address. I am certain that Roskam would be proud to be considered part of the party of "No," but don't ask him to spell it without spotting him the "n" or the "o."

    July 20, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  11. doug

    Republicans have their issues for sure, but they are not pure evil, not bent on destroying our country and changing our way of living.

    Their is no soul in the Democrat, I never have been religious but the evil that is the average Democrat is certainly inhuman. If we know there is a devil then there must be a god.

    July 20, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  12. Thomas

    Republicons are shameless.

    They try to use the bible, which they think is the word of God (it is NOT) in their "us vs them" political vendettas.

    I wish the world could experience, for just one week, the world the way it would be if republicans got everything they wanted. Oh wait, they can....we could just send everyone to Tehran for half a week and then to China for the rest of it.

    Then they'll get a taste of what it's like to live in a world where religious extremists conspire with the lackies of corporate profiteers to manipulate and control the masses through propaganda and rhetoric.

    Then everyone would finally realize that republicons don't believe in things like freedom and justice.

    All they believe in is power and profit.

    Fortunately, as long as there are people who can think for themselves the cons will never win.

    July 20, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  13. w l jones

    Some people afraid what might of what might come tomorrow but the Repug will scare the h!!! out you what will come today. We being around for over two hundred years and will be around much longer if we keep the Repug in toe.

    July 20, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  14. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but...

    Do you consumerbots honestly believe that anyone in our government, including our president is progressive? Your perspective has been warped by 30 years of corporatist rule. They've pushed the political spectrum so far to the right that even Ronnie Rayguns (you know, the guy who pardoned millions of illegal aliens and raised taxes 4 times to get us out of a recession) would appear to be a socialist to the idiot "real Americans" Ask yourself, what was the last piece of legislation that didn't help large corporations at the expense of the people. You'd probably have to go back to LBJ to find an example. But just keep believing what your TV tells you to believe. Have a nice day!

    July 20, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  15. anthony

    Nice to see Heritage Foundation making news again! Are they going to tell the public that the Obama health care reform plan, which is essentially a national version of the Massachusetts health care plan, is based on their proposal from the 1990s? In other words, they are the originator of the Obama health care plan?

    July 20, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  16. Robert

    What an idiot......the bible involve in politics? Give a break.
    I am religious but leave the bible alone when it comes to politics.
    This guys looks retarded to me.

    July 20, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  17. Oregon

    And where exactly was Rep. Roskam with this little speech when Congress and the Bush administration authorized the Patriot Act, stripping away a number of civil liberties?

    You're living in a glass house, my friend.

    July 20, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  18. big papa

    We know what treasonous confederates like Roskam stand for...

    ...they support the racist, rich, white power structure of traditionalist fear-mongering, cowards...

    ...who want to break the toy (America)...

    ...rather than see it prosper and flourish– according to its true creed of diversity and equality...

    ...especially under the Obama Administration...

    ...but God has cursed Roskam and his ilk...

    ...they will be hereafter remembered as Satan's soldiers...

    ...their crops will fail, the fruit of their loins dried up, and their homes will rot from within...

    July 20, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  19. ed from annapolis

    Why is it Conservatives are always invoking the Old Testament ? Didn't Jesus teach a new way, to love your neighbor as yourself and do unto others as you'd have them do unto you ? The Right seems to have forsaken all that Jesus taught. They sound more like the Pharisee in the Temple every day.

    July 20, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. Bill

    Yes, remember how everything was perfect during the Republican reign? Remember how they were just as vigilant over the loss of constitutional rights when they passed illegal wire tapping and started throwing US Citizens in Guantanamo?

    This is not about the Democrats having some secret plan to steal the perfect America away from us. The perfect America is a farce. And the Republicans and Democrats and Tea Partiers are all playing off of irrational fears to try to get their turn in office making deals with lobbyists.

    July 20, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  21. g

    already know what a republican agenda will get you tax-cuts for the rich-trickle down economy and never ending un payed for war,s

    July 20, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  22. La Piovra

    Whenever Republicans invoke the Bible, there is a fragrance of hot air blowing through Astroturf.

    July 20, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  23. Mark, Phoenix

    What a kook with a capital K. Make that three capital K's. These guys would be cary if they weren't so crazy.

    July 20, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  24. Darrel from Denver

    So, where was this guy when the Republicans took away many of our natural rights with the so-called Patriot Act?

    July 20, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  25. Rick McDaniel

    God's on vacation. Better learn to fend for yourselves.

    July 20, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
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