Chutzpah!

12 05 2011
From the New York Times Caucus blog:

May 11, 2011, 1:16 pm

Republicans Decry Tactics the Party Used in 2009

By JENNIFER STEINHAUER

Yes, it’s true, Republican House freshmen say, our party did help storm town-hall-style meetings to protest changes in the Medicare plan during the debate over the health care overhaul. But they would appreciate it if Democrats did not take that page from their playbook.

On Wednesday, 11 newly elected representatives held a news conference outside the Capitol to promote a letter sent to President Obama and signed by 42 freshmen Republicans asking him “join us to stop the political rhetoric” surrounding their Medicare proposal. In asking the president to work with them to untangle the issues facing massive entitlement programs, the letter further implores Mr. Obama to “condemn the disingenuous attacks and work with this Congress to reform” the programs.

Repeatedly, the members called for a “fact-based conversation” and criticized Democrats for filling town-hall-style meetings with political operatives and citizens who complained – often loudly – about the Republican proposal on Medicare at constituent meetings over the Easter recess. The Republican proposal would convert Medicare into a program that subsidizes future retirees in private insurance plans.

The freshmen conceded that Republicans used similar organized tactics during the health care debate over the summer of 2009, when Tea Party organizers and Republican groups spoke out against the overhaul.

“I’m not going to defend anything in the past,” said Representative Adam Kinzinger, a freshman from Illinois, who led the news conference calling on Democrats to stop their public critique of the plan. “Let’s get past the past.”

Representative Nan Hayworth of New York, a former doctor, said it was time to “have a civilized conversation” and her class was “standing ready to work with the president.”

. . . .

Here’s the letter (via Talking Points Memo).

My favorite bits?

We have all been guilty, at one time or another, of playing politics with key issues facing our country.

As the freshman class, we have the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and fulfill the mandate set by the people to strengthen our country for future generations—not continue the petty politics we have seen in the past, which only creates an environment of stalemate. [. . .]

We ask that you stand above partisanship, condemn the disingenuous attacks and work with this Congress to reform spending on entitlement programs. [. . . ]

As new members of Congress, we are committed to having a fact-based conversation immediately. [. . .]

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Oh, now they want a “fact-based conversation”. . . .