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. Marcus

    Dennis – Since you obviously are having selective memory problems... You are right, for TWO years the Dems controlled both houses of the Congress, and during this time GWB (who hadn't vetoed any law that was presented before him in his first six years of term, or if he had were not much) staretd to veto EVERYTHING that the Houses approved that he was against. His constitutional right as a POTUS, but that meant that EVEN with a Democrat controlled Congress there were no real changes in the course of the country, since ANY attempt to move the United States of America from the path GWB and Co. had chosen was IMMEDIATELY vetoed.
    Check your facts, will you?

    July 20, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  2. Jon

    So if I recall my Bible correctly, that means that Roskam just likened the American public to a stupid, hairy Neanderthal with more muscle than sense. Nice.

    July 20, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. gt

    somethng has to be done .. american is like a alcoholic who says he doesnt have a drinking problem... look in the mirror... were headed for a disaster that we will never recover from and i childern will have no future if we dont change....

    July 20, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  4. Marty, FL

    No, Republicans are not using the same old campaigns of past elections. Just throw in some misguided fundamentalism/lies with tax cuts for the rich and deregulation. Give me a break.

    I am my brothers' keeper, remember? Whatever you unto the least of these, you do unto me.

    July 20, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  5. NVa Native

    Oh that's great a couple of GOPers quote religious shame and blame trying to continue to scare their followers into the darkness of their shallow minds.
    So no new ideas?
    The right-wing crazies think they can "sell" the public on going back to the failed policies of Republican leadership that got us where we were when Obama took office?
    Cancel all the progress and recovery so they can come back in power to push their fascism while destroying the middle class and small business owners?? Yea, that will work.
    Come on November.

    July 20, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  6. FRANK - LAS VEGAS

    These GOP idiots are still preaching fear and the bible. It's a shame they don't understand the first about the bible or it's teachings. Like so many of these bible preaching types, they only preach about the old testament, nothing about the Christian basis, the New Testament, you know, the part about Jesus. Could be they are silent about that part because Jesus was a liberal.

    Vote NO in NOvember to the party of NO.

    July 20, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    Birthright? Are you kidding me? Could it be clearer who is really feeling like they're entitled to everything they want? I'm honestly not sure if he could've picked language that dovetails with Williams' screed any better.

    This a$$hat has it backwards anyway. Esau's brother was a d-bag who took advantage of Esau's plight and extremity, who instead of showing charity, demanded that he be given the world in return for the pittance he had to give up for his brother...just like the GOP takes advantage of the poorly educated, angry, fearly rural folk in the west, midwest and south. The lesson, my friendly neighborhood morons, was not that Esau was an idiot who should have starved to maintain his birthright even though it would pass to his brother when he died of starvation...it was that Esau's brother was the epitome of a selfish, self-centered a-hole who deserved to be drawn and quartered and would find himself talking pretty excuses in hopes of ever getting past Peter thru the Pearly Gates.

    July 20, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  8. Steve in North Carolina

    For all who worry about his bible thumping, at least he's not thumping a Koran in our face!

    July 20, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  9. charlie from the North

    Hey Christians: Ask yourself this. What really made Jesus hopping mad? The two-faced Pharasees? No. The crowd ready to stone the woman? No. Peter denying him?, Judas betraying him? Not even the crowd who had him killed. Remember: "Forgive them for they know not what they do"

    No the only time he lost his temper was at the money changers in the temple. "Whatsoever you do for the least of these, you do unto me" Think about that before you condemn the people helping the poor and cheer the folks standing in the way.

    Don't let religion get in the way of her faith.

    July 20, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  10. Julie R.

    Just what we need, more bible thumpers in office! Great comment about Jesus from Liz the First; I'm sure he'd be a liberal by today's standards. And for all the whiney conservatives, what solutions do you have beside cutting taxes to the wealthy? We already tried that; didn't work. You have big mouths but are short on new solutions....blaming is not working either.

    July 20, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  11. Tom-Vermillion, Ohio

    The Bible, nearly 2000 years old and people still can't get it right in terms of interpretion. The Kuran, over 1000 years old and people still can't get it right. The US Constitution is over 200 years old and we still can't get it right...Seems to me that it is nearing the time that we need to start over, with a blank sheet of paper. Could it be that we are not mature enough to handle such a task? I think so.

    July 20, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  12. Me

    "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.:

    Why didn't he mention the fact that at this time Isaac was blind and senile and couldn't tell who he was dealing with. In addition to that, Jacob was doing his best to impersonate his brother and steal the birth right.

    Is America supposed to be Isaac in this story? Blind and senile?!?!

    July 20, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  13. dwech

    "And the political left is saying: 'Just give us your birthright. Just trade it in ...'

    Yep. That is without a doubt the nuttiest interpretation of the Democratic platform I've heard yet. Besides the fear-mongering that we've all heard for years from 'conservative' (I'm using that term loosely) GOPers, have you guys had an original thought about what to actually DO in response to the problems we face? Since you'll obviously have to look up an answer, here's a hint: It's probably not in the Old Testament.

    July 20, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  14. NVa Native

    Rickster the retard – Founding Fathers were the Progressives of their day, Tories were the Repubs – idiot.
    And you too Dennis.

    Jesus was damn sure not a conservative, he was as liberal as you can get then and now! He didn't make up lies and labels to demean people or put fear into the hearts of others for the purpose of gaining power.

    July 20, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  15. J. Grant

    Keep that in mind: What have the Republicans accomplished in the last 20 years?

    July 20, 2010 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  16. kd

    Oh, puh-LEASE! This is the best the Republicans can do – whine like little children.

    July 20, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  17. kd

    Democrats have to keep hammering home that it was the damn Republicans who got us into this horrid world-wide mess and that they've actually been making great headway at getting us out of it.

    Republicans are a curse! Their greed makes them inept. And their lies are completely transparent.

    July 20, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    " no pretense of moderation "

    The Theory of Political Relativity is in play.
    It's mindboggling people buy this mirror image accusation garbage from the GOPers. The "radical leftists" have behaved in a slightly left of center...and Obama in many cases slightly right of center...manner since January 2009. They've even moved slightly right since then to appease these sh–t-flinging idiots. Meanwhile, the GOP instigated, organized and helped fund the Teatards and moved waaaaay to the right itself, all while claiming that the gap was growing because of the "radical liberal socialist lefties." It's ridiculous that anyone but the tinfoil hat wearing true-believing dupes that worship Glush Limbeck have gone along with it....but they'll lemming along without an objective thought in their heads because they're so freekin angry that darky won for POTUS and that they're "tribe" lost control of the ship. Seriously, learn something people. That gap didn't grow because Obama and the Dems suddenly started channeling Marx...it's because the GOP has been channeling Moussilini and working directly out of Hitler's writings like champs (go ahead, look up "Big Lie" and compare it to the "socialism" and "death panels" refrains). It's pitiful, sick and societally damaging.

    July 20, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  19. Glenn Koons

    Liberals have been selling America's birthright for decades. These two Pubs are correct . McCarthy is supposedly drawing up a Contract for Pubs to run on. Here is one item I would include for seniors: Harry Truman would have gagged on this spoon of Obama socialist baloney!

    July 20, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  20. Me

    Dear God,
    Please forgive us for our hypocrisy and the twisting of your Holy Word and using your Holy Word to incite fear and hate

    In Jesus name I pray,

    Amen

    July 20, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  21. jake

    Wow....the rebublicans really are scared of the Democrats, thats obvious. And so it continues with the ........... mentality of the right. To quote the bible and even compare it to events now is truly a grasp at the bottom of the reality barrel. Let's face it...times have changed and so has the U.S. If the right cannot handle that, then they are lost. It's time the religious right evolved and join the rest of us into what is called the 21st century.

    July 20, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  22. Marcus

    One of the first steps of any 'cult leader' like Charles Manson and Jim Jones is to divide the world in 'WE' and 'they':
    'WE' are always right, 'they' are always wrong.
    'WE' can do whatever 'WE' want to since 'WE' will always be doing the right thing, 'they' must not be allowed to do anything that 'they' want to since 'they' are always wrong about anything and everything.
    An so on...
    It's the beggining of the 'brainwash en mass' that those used to get so fanatical followers as they had.
    I've been seeing a lot of those guys on the 'right' and 'left' and even 'center' these days...

    July 20, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  23. gt

    i can tell one thing ... very few obama suporters read the old testament....atheitist.. agnostics ,, seem to be his core of readers" of the ticker"....

    July 20, 2010 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  24. redpens

    $13 trillion in debt. Obama and the Democrats have spent more than any of the previous 43 Presidents combined. Is there a money tree growing on the White House lawn to pay for all this? Hey Darrel, Obama just re-signed an extension of the Patriot Act. You gonna criticize him for that? Labor unions are a big reason that jobs are shipped overseas. If passed, cap-and-trade will send even more jobs overseas. The cost of everything you buy: food, clothing, medicine, gas, and everything else you buy in a store will increase sharply. That's because diesel fuel prices will skyrocket and trucking companies will be forced to lay off drivers and shipping rates will increase 20-30%. I'm a truck driver, that's how I know about cap and trade. Not fear-mongering, just facts

    July 20, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  25. BobH

    It could be argued that we traded in our birthright during the even more vulnerable period just after 9/11, when we gave up our liberty and our money to a government that promised to keep us "safe" by tapping our phones, attacking other countries, enacting a "Patriot Act" that scaled back our rights, and spending trillions of dollars on a byzantine system of top secret security agencies with no coordination or oversight.

    July 20, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
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