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Letter: Taking Exception

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” That sage advice from four-term Democrat Sen. Moynihan trumps the quote from Santayana with which Rep. Gerry Connolly opened his tendentious Oct. 24 piece in the Connection.

“The Damage Is Already Done,” your headline for Connolly’s bile-filled essay better describes his tenure on our county’s Board of Supervisors and in Congress.

He accused the House GOP of “shameful and dangerous” behavior regarding Obamacare, which Gerry was at pains to call the Affordable Care Act. (Note: the nicknaming of acts must stop because it cuts off any effort at intelligent discourse.) What was shameful was the refusal of Obama and congressional Democrats to negotiate. The US system of governance is based on negotiations. That wasn’t how Obamacare was enacted when Gerry pushed for it. Then-House Speaker Pelosi, a Democrat and Gerry’s leader in the House, said, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” They did, without a single GOP vote in the House. Most Americans dislike what Obama and Democrats inflicted upon us. They and Obama lied about keeping your insurance if you liked it and not funding abortion.

Connolly whines, “They refused to accept [Obamacare] as the law of the land … ” False. The GOP sought to fund the Federal Government, but not Obamacare, which a majority of the public detested before its spectacularly flawed debut on Oct. 1. Per our Constitution the House appropriates funds. So, the GOP-led House was fulfilling its constitutional function. Senate Democrats refused to vote on the House budget. Laws and the Constitution are repealed or amended frequently; even Gerry admits Obamacare can be “improved.” Otherwise, slavery would still be law of the land and prohibition would remain in effect.

“[F]orcing dedicated public servants … to stay home from work without pay … ” False. Like past partial shutdowns, no feds went unpaid. That fellow civil servants determined 800,000 colleagues were non-exempt speaks volumes. That means they are paid every day with our taxes for doing non-essential work. The only apparent impact on daily life was mean-spirited disruptions caused by the National Park Service (NPS). The US Park Police were deemed essential and guarded thousands of national parks and monuments from “terrorist attacks” according to the NPS director on Oct. 16. But, they failed to stop aged veterans from visiting the WWII Memorial. NPS should drop “service” from its name.

Gerry and the truth have been strangers for years. He listed pain inflicted, such as “veterans’ benefits.” False. DVA employees kept working, if you can call it that. I spoke to them during the partial shutdown about my claim that has been in process for over 500 days of the Obama Administration.

He claimed national defense was threatened. False. All military personnel reported for duty, including the SEALs and Delta Team who attacked terrorists in Libya and Somalia. “Confidence in the American political system was hurt” because his fellow Democrats in the Senate haven’t passed any budget bills in eons is what a truthful Gerry should have written.

Gerry closes by railing against GOP efforts to negotiate over giving Obama an increase in the debt ceiling. Too bad he omitted this quote: “My friend, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, likes to remind us that it took 42 presidents 224 years to run up only $1 trillion of foreign-held debt. This administration did more than that in just five years. Now, there is nothing wrong with borrowing from foreign countries. But we must remember that the more we depend on foreign nations to lend us money, the more our economic security is tied to the whims of foreign leaders whose interests might not be aligned with ours. Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.” That was no tea party member; it was Sen. Barack Obama addressing the Senate on March 16, 2006. Under Obama today’s debt is $17T. Read the full text at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/16/editorial-raising-debt-limit-is-a-sign-of-failure/.

Please spare us the screed of party hacks like Connolly in the future. He won’t be happy until he’s turned this county and state into a mirror image of his fabulously failed birthplace, Boston, Mass. Those who cannot learn from the past failures of Gerry Connolly are doomed to endure them again.

Michael Shumaker

Fairfax