- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Going viral

Rep. Mike Rogers, Michigan Republican, wasn’t expecting his opening statement during a recent hearing health care to become an Internet sensation.

The congressman blasted Democratic health care plans during the hearing in a nearly four-minute speech that was recorded and uploaded to YouTube, where it generated more than 2.5 million views.

Mr. Rogers told The Washington Times in a phone conversation he was surprised about all the attention his speech was getting online and thought it might be because he was talking about the bill in plain language without using ad hominem attacks.

“I was floored when it hit a million views and shocked when it hit 2 million, and it’s still growing and going like mad,” he said. “It’s principled opposition, and I think that’s the difference.”

In his remarks he cited Abraham Lincoln’s line, “You can’t make a weak man strong by making a strong man weak,” and said the Democrats were giving the public a “false choice” about health care options. “What you have said to America is: ‘We give up. It’s just too hard. The government has to do it.’ That’s insulting,” he said.

He also complained the push for a public health care option was the latest example of the federal government exerting too much control over the middle class.

“We’re going to tell you what kind of car to drive, we’re going to tell you what kind of light bulb to put in, oh, I’m going to tell you what kind of window you are going to have to replace your house with and oh, by the way I’m going to pick your doctor and your plan for the future,” Mr. Rogers said.

When asked what he’d like President Obama to say in his health care address to Congress on Wednesday, Mr. Rogers said, “I hope he abandons this notion of big government mandated intrusion into health care and comes back and embraces the free-market solutions that have always been on the table but never discussed in this debate.”

“If he doesn’t, and it’s just another ‘here are my principles again.’ Well, we’ve heard that before and it didn’t translate into legislation,” he said.

Oh, the irony

Another congressman is getting attention on YouTube, although it’s not good publicity.

Rep. Baron P. Hill, Indiana Democrat, banned video cameras from an Aug. 31 town-hall meeting at Indiana University, but somehow his remarks about how much he disliked YouTube made their way onto the popular video-sharing site.

During the question-and-answer portion of the event, a young woman who identified herself as a journalism student asked why video cameras were prohibited.

“For journalism students, why can’t we film this?” she asked. “We have school projects, and I have just been taken aside and told I can’t film this. I’m not disrupting, I’m keeping my opinions to myself, but now that I’m not getting to do this for a project, I was going to ask a question. Why can’t I film this? Isn’t this my right?”

The congressman’s answer wasn’t very diplomatic.

“This is my town-hall meeting, and I set the rules and I’ve had these rules,” he said, prompting boos and jeers throughout the room.

“Let me repeat that one more time. This is my town-hall meeting for you,” he said. “And you are not going to tell me how to run my congressional office. Now the reasons why I don’t allow filming is because usually the films that are done end up on YouTube in a compromising position.”

And that’s exactly where those remarks ended up, posted by the National Republican Congressional Committee. The clip was then reposted by several political blogs and aired on some cable news programs.

Although attendees were not permitted to take video of the town-hall meeting, it was recorded and broadcast online by the Bloomington Herald-Times.

The ‘tenthers’

Liberal activists have a new name to disparage conservatives: “tenthers.”

The nickname refers to those who cite the 10th Amendment to argue that federal intervention in areas not authorized by the Constitution, like health care for example, is unconstitutional.

This follows other names such as “birthers,” “deathers” and “tea baggers.”

Health care reform supporters at the Center for American Progress, the American Prospect, MSNBC and other outlets have deployed the term against Republicans who cite the 10th Amendment as reason not to create new programs. Some of the leading Republican proponents of the allegedly “dangerous” and “conspiratorial” theory include Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Jim DeMint of South Carolina, and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota.

“As the nation emerges from the worst economic downturn in three generations, the tenthers would strip away the very reforms and economic regulations that beat back the Great Depression, and they would hamstring any attempt to enact new progressive legislation,” worried the American Prospect’s Ian Millhiser in an essay that said the “tenthers” were “no less radical but infinitely more dangerous” than the birthers.

Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter@ washingtontimes.com.