Peter Roskam was elected in 2006 to fill the seat of Rep. Henry Hyde, who retired and died. Roskam is a typical Neoconservative Republican…e.g., a Neocon. He had been a member of the Illinois State House of Representatives. He was in favor of cutting taxes. (Not very controversial.) He was in favor of preventing women from having abortions. (Very controversial if you’re a woman.)
Roskam’s emerging career (he’s only been in national politics for two terms) is typical of so many Neocons these days. Say one thing to get elected and then do the opposite and look for cover from the vast reservoir of media outlets and organizations paid off by pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, natural gas companies, manufacturing companies, mining, timber, health insurance, media…big international corporations making billions while the people suffer.
Neocon Roskam says he is for fiscal responsibility and in favor of two big wars and continuing to keep taxes very low for the rich. He is also in favor of denying anything to citizens, like reasonably priced health care (except tax cuts) but in favor of supporting more oil drilling in this country as opposed to promoting alternative sources of energy. He is in favor of higher gas prices, maintaining low-mileage cars, and not in favor of stimulating the economy to create more jobs.
Roskam is a protégé of his former boss, Tom DeLay, the former leader of the Right Wing from Texas, who along with Dick Armey and the Bush Administration brought us $7 trillion of the current $12 trillion in debt. DeLay, many people will remember, was the man who led the effort to gerrymander the districts of House Members in Texas, which he eventually did. It has been pointed out that there is not one Democratic district left in Texas that is not either Hispanic or African-American.
We don’t know how or whether Roskam helped him plan this redistricting and gerrymandering at the time he worked for DeLay. But we know that Roskam, like Jack Abramoff, another associate of DeLay’s worked for and learned politics from DeLay. Abramoff went to jail for illegal matters having to do with lobbying and $66 million dollars from Native Americans and gambling. As yet, Roskam has not been indicted for anything.
Tom DeLay was indicted by a Texas grand jury in 2005, after having already been rebuked officially several times by the Senate ethics committee in 2004 and having also been investigated for several trips abroad on whether or not those trips were legal. The 2005 indictment was for allegedly funneling national campaign funds into local Texas elections. Whether or not any funds were alleged to have been funneled into Illinois where Mr. Roskam was a House member in the Illinois State Legislature does not appear in the 2005 DeLay indictment.
Roskam ran for the 13th District of Illinois House seat, and lost to the “dynamic” Judy Biggert, who is supposedly more “moderate” than Roskam. Example: she voted against State Children’s Health Insurance Program that would offer lower-cost insurance to children of the working poor. Of course, once Roskam was elected to the 6th District House seat…he did also. Apparently, she is not as strongly against forcing other women to have abortions, which must be the issue on which she is more moderate. Roskam is not only against abortions, he wants all women to be prohibited from having an abortion. In that case, from a purely politically philosophical view, he would seem to be closer to Hitler than to Biggert.
After he lost to Biggert in 1997, he must have moved. He now represents the 6th District of Illinois. He followed, Henry Hyde, who also favored laws making all American women follow his rules on abortion. His rule said that all women be kept from having abortions with federal funds in legislation called the “Hyde Amendment.”
Now, we do not know if Hyde applied that rule in his four-year affair with a married woman, which in turn was before he led impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton for doing the same thing, only for a much shorter period of time. Hyde was a Catholic, a graduate of Georgetown and Loyola Law School, and—it would appear—a hypocrite.
Roskam supported going into Iraq and later voted against legislation to begin to bring troops home from Iraq. Roskam has never been in the military, never having served the country himself. We can probably all agree that borrowing huge sums of money to have yourself elected to a job paying over $150,000 a year, with more than that in perks and enormous name recognition, and—if a Neocon—with a job waiting in a lobbying firm, post-politics is not really “serving your country.” As we’ll see…serving lobbyists may be more like it.
Roskam voted 14 times to cut taxes for the wealthy while he was in the now highly-in-debt Illinois legislature (I wonder why?) and also voted against human rights for homosexuals and against legislation on stem cell research.
He has initiated legislation in the Illinois legislature to allow concealed handguns and to stop the registration of weapons and to allow gun sales to be much freer of regulation and registration. He is in favor of much more domestic oil drilling and supports large-scale oil shale development in the shale areas…which are for the most part the national parks and other wilderness areas of the West.
Although he had never been to war or even in the military, in 2006 he used his lack of wartime experience somehow to defeat in the election for the House a former Army helicopter pilot, PhD. candidate in international relations, and double amputee, Major Tammy Duckworth.
Duckworth was endorsed in Illinois by the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Daily Herald of DuPage County (where the 6th District resides) and by the Pioneer Press which publishes numerous other papers in the area, including the Wheaton and the Elmhurst local newspapers. Duckworth had lost both legs when the helicopter she was piloting was shot down in Iraq, a war with which she did not agree, but in which she served with dedication and distinction. She was later appointed Assistant Secretary of the Veterans’ Administration. Roskam went to Washington and voted to continue the war in Iraq. The people of the 6th District felt that they knew better. They elected a guy working for lobbyists against them.
Roskam says that he is in favor of cutting domestic spending to reduce the deficit. But he both encouraged and praised $5.5 million of spending for his district. He says that it was for renewable energy, but it was basically a stipend to GTI, a natural gas industry affiliated company. As far as energy efficiency and freeing ourselves from the Arabs, Roskam has voted against legislation raising mileage standards and developing alternative energy. But he has voted to both increase domestic drilling and against penalizing oil companies for price gouging.
Who does this sound like, this maintaining one position that most people support and then actually voting for a position that would best help a private industry? Sound like a Neoconservative Republican? He says he is for it, like health care made available to all. Then he votes against it. He has voted against every health care initiative. Every one.
Roskam says that he wants the President to return to bi-partisanship, which he says Obama displayed when they served together in the Illinois State Legislature. But President Obama held a televised event recently, an open event, to give the opposition a chance to offer suggestions. It has, after all, been over a year since this started. Roskam was there. He was called on to offer suggestions. But his comment was and is the same as it has been–no, let’s start over.
It is always the same. Say yes, we are for green energy and the jobs that will come with it. Then the bill is started. The Republicans offer no amendments or simply offer stalling amendments put forward by their lobbyist friends that they know will not be acceptable. Then they filibuster as long as they can…they currently hold up 70 pieces of legislation in the Senate that are vital to get millions of jobs to the unemployed…then they vote no. All of them, just like Roskam. The Party of No.
Roskam and Judy Biggert of the 13th district in Illinois are the same. They both vote no on everything that will help the middle class and yes on anything that will help their constituents…the huge corporations, especially the financial segment, Wall Street and the big insurance companies.
Now, on a daily basis, they cry poverty…reduce the debt…while they, the Neoconservative Republicans, which all the Republicans now are, spent $7 trillion dollars more in the last 8 years than the country received in revenues. Now we are $12 trillion in debt, thanks to Neocon Republicans. We have been delivered such a crushing economic blow by their inattentiveness to the economy that even the Democrats, trying to rescue the country, are looking for any way possible to build up the economy that can be paid for. The Republican spending and economic crash has tied the hands of the Democrats. It is never about the People with the Neocons and all about politics.
As Senators Jim Bunning and John Kyl proved, Neocons simply do not care that 15 million people are out of work, that 35 million have no health care, that 1 million a year are going bankrupt, that 3 million will likely lose their homes this year and that 14,000 people a day who have health care are losing it. And they say that they, the Neocons, the ones who caused all this suffering, are against big government? They are big government and they have been since 1980.
Roskam is no different from all the rest of the Neocon Republicans. They are all the very essence of hypocrisy. They want us to believe that they are for fiscal responsibility? Jim Bunning in his stupid protest against paying for….unemployment insurance?
It’s insurance! It’s called unemployment insurance. People pay for it. You can’t just cut it off at the whim of some hick, moron Senator from the backwoods of Kentucky. It’s their money, not Jim Bunning’s. He even admitted in his speech that he and other Republicans…perhaps…should have been more fiscally conscious, in previous years. So suddenly he has remorse for spending the country into the poorhouse? But he is not worried at all about causing people to lose health insurance or be late on rent or delicate mortgage payment arrangements. Don’t they know how serious this is to those unemployed for a long time?
These guys are not kidding anyone…Senator Bunning, Senator Kyl, Rep. Roskam and Rep. Biggert…and all the others from Texas to Alabama to Minnesota. They caused the problem. When Senator Kent Conrad and Rep. John Spratt, Democrats on their respective budget committees, said repeatedly over the last 8 years that we are in deep, deep trouble…long before the crash…they all ignored the warnings. It was arrogance.
When “Paygo” was reinstituted by the Democrats in 2007, so that whatever would be spent from then forward must be paid for by spending cuts, the Republicans voted no. Then, after the crash, when, faced with over a trillion dollars of debt in one year, the Democrats had to make an exception in order to keep the country afloat. The Republicans, knowing that the Democrats could and would do it alone to save the country–ALL voted NO.
What did they think that they were a part of over the last 8 years? Or over the period of George Bush the First when they increased the debt by over a trillion in just 4 years? Or under Reagan where they cut the income of the country by 50% and increased military contractor spending by four times what it had been? These things quadrupled the national debt to $2.14 trillion by 1989. It is clear what they knew. They knew they would score political points by cutting taxes…everybody, almost, likes a tax cut. They wanted to reduce the government size, from lack of revenues, until, as one Neocon said, they could “drown it in a bathtub.”
What they succeeded in doing was to reduce government effectiveness. They created a large private industry…the war industry, where demand is king. You make it. Then you blow it up and come back for a new and better one. It never ends. It is half our budget and more than all other military budgets of the world including China and Russia–combined! Are we safer by a factor of, say, 50 than any other country? Ask the relatives of the 3,000 people who died during the very first year of George W. Bush’s Presidency. Did we in 8 years handle the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan and come home? That’s a pretty obvious answer.
Roskam, Biggert, Bunning, Kyl…and so many more…McConnell, McCain and Sessions and Bachmann and Gomert and King and Boehner…and others—the Neocons put us in our current position. They initiated and voted for all the same things that Roskam did. Only some did them for ten, twenty years. And they are still at it. Only now they vote in a block to obstruct.
They are running a constant guerilla attack on government by the military-industrial complex of this country and by the big, multi-national corporations. Keep cutting taxes, cutting government revenues. Try to kill Social Security and Medicare one more time. (Paul Ryan of Wisconsin) These are the old, the reactionary, Right Wing, Conservative arguments of an earlier century. Thirty years ago, we tried Reaganomics, even though it seemed like voodoo economics. We’ve spent 30 years putting more money in the hands of the very rich. It is literally the greatest shift in wealth in the history of the world. That’s not even in dispute.
What have we learned? We know now that permitting tax codes so that some can amass great wealth does not result in a broader and stronger economy. It does not trickle down in the form of new jobs and an expanded economy. In fact, it has meant fewer jobs, with more going overseas.
It has meant deficit spending, every year of the 1980s, almost every year in the 1990s and then in the 2000s, under Bush, reckless tax cutting and equally wild spending. The economy absorbed $3 trillion in lost revenue from cuts to the tax bills of the wealthy. The wealthy don’t let it trickle down, we discovered. They just buy more yachts and houses, like the 9 homes of John McCain.
At this point, the Neocons don’t understand how serious the crisis is for average citizens. And many citizens—like the tea baggers are hit with so much propaganda that they don’t understand either–that when they attack the government, they are attacking themselves. The government is not the problem. If the government were allowed to work, it could very easily be the solution. The biggest cause of our current deficit is unemployment which has led to severely reduced tax revenues. That is causing the biggest spread in the deficit.
The government could easily jump-start the economy and recover all the money it would take to do so in a couple of years through increased revenues. And it could be done primarily through business loans that are not being made now by the private financial sector. But the Neocons are making it almost impossible for the economy to recover.
Very soon, unless the Neocons stop obstructing and join in to solve problems, the only thing between the American People and disaster will be the government. In fact, we’re probably there already.