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

Roskam on liberal agenda: 'Heaven help us'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/20/art.cbb0720.cnn.jpg caption="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. Limbaugh is a liberal

    The republican website that supposedly "listens" to the American people is a sham! They even say it on the website itself that only posts agreeing with their neocon agenda will be posted and discussed. They are not interested in listening to the American people. They only want people who already agree with them. Hypocrites!

    July 20, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  2. rs

    No matter how disatisfied I am with Obama, I will NEVER vote Republican ever again. These people give politics and religion a bad name!

    July 20, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  3. Refudiate

    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.'"
    So then is Obama a failure in getting things done or is he a super achiever? Which side of your mouth is talking again?

    July 20, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  4. scott

    Oh goody, more Right Wing religous kooks running around Congress. They're as dangerous to this country as the religous kooks in the Taliban. Perhaps we should name the Religous Right, the "American Taliban".
    Both want to force their religion on us against our will.

    July 20, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |

    REPUBLICANS squandered all that letting their RICH PALS AND CORPORATE BENEFACTORS HAVE THEIR WAY with the American economy. The rest of us are trying to claw our way back! Liz you are exactly right. I think a more apt biblical analogy is JUDAS – we've been sold out for the quick buck. At least Judas met an appropriate ending. Maybe this November...

    July 20, 2010 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  6. Save America, impeach the treasonous democrats

    Liberals promise everything. Unfortunately, 'everything' costs a lot of money that we don't have. We need more people to take personal responsibility–for their jobs, their healthcare, their families.... We can have a safety net, but shouldn't make it the American way of life (like PelObama suggests).

    Note to the crazy libs that keep bringing Jesus into the discussion: Read the Bible, again. Jesus wasn't a liberal.

    July 20, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  7. Former Republican - Now Independent

    Roskam twists the words of Holy Scripture for his party's political gain the same way the Imams twist the teaching of the Koran for the Taliban's political gain.

    July 20, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Biblical stories of going for the immediate are a joke coming from a Republican.
    Had his party not voted for all of the dereguation of banks, Wall st and oil companies, we would not be in the mess we are today. Add to that, their failed "instant gratification" of tax cuts for the rich with no benefits to the middle class ad we would not be in the situation we are in today.
    If Mr Roskam read history to govern by and not the Bible, he would see that SPENDING got us out of the Depression, not holding back money as Hoover tried. When a car runs out of gas, they pour gas on a carborator to jump start it. Fuel ( money)makes things run.

    July 20, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  9. vickest

    God helps those who help themselves. That's what the Obama administration is doing.

    July 20, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  10. Mesa Mick

    Bible thumpin' hypoctites...

    July 20, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  11. Rodger

    The Republicans are not Afraid of the Dem's. The Democrats are the ones who should be afraid of the America People.

    CNN cast a very Small foot print in America. Most of you really have no Idea the disgust America has for the Dem's and OdumbO the Muslim.

    July 20, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |

    This clown is sill in offiice

    July 20, 2010 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  13. George of the jungle

    having these jokers quoting the bible is disgusting . Jut what we need more bible thumpers who interpet scripture to suite their purpose. For get about the lies they tell or their moral character. Maybe they should try working togeater to help improve this country and her people. Or do they only read the parts of the Bible they like. What happened to peace ,love and charity???

    July 20, 2010 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  14. Dr Matrix

    Even though there is a separation of church and state for good reasen, they want to drag religion into politics. Funny, though they claim to be Christian, they continually work from the old testament full of fear and a vengful God, not the new testament of Christ. I guess that's how they justify their hatred and desire to have a war with anyone who disagrees with them, sort of like the Taliban.

    July 20, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  15. Ruth

    The only hungry people I see are republicans itching to get back in the white house. Their lies and deception are pathetic. Grasping for straws is their motto.

    July 20, 2010 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  16. anthony

    Go thump somewhere else.

    I'd like all politicians to exercise some SEPARATION of CHURCH AND STATE. Nothing good ever comes from religion... most wars are a result of which as well. (well this time around it was christianity AND oil...)

    Fear GOD(or the Universe), not some man-made religion.

    July 20, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  17. Ken, AZ

    I seem to recall the Republicans missing a few budget deadlines when they controlled the house. I guess its OK for them but not OK for the Dems. Talk about double standards.

    July 20, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
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