Wednesday, June 15, 2011

GOP Tries to Censor Gerry Connolly's Mailer on GOP Medicare Proposal

With all the polling that’s available and the extremely poor reaction that they’ve received during town hall meetings, the Republicans in the House of Representatives have to know that their plan to end medicare as we know it is extremely unpopular. As a result, it looks like they’re not even willing to let their Democratic colleagues send mailers to their constituents about why they oppose the legislation – something that is frequently done on important issues – unless they change the language to make the GOP look good.
In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday, five Democrats charge that approval of their mailings has been delayed. The lawmakers said that in some cases Republican staff members on the commission have suggested revisions that the Democrats say “are inconsistent with previous approvals and, in fact, disallow specific statements and language that have been approved in previous submissions.”

“Given this abrupt and inconsistent new interpretation of the established Franking Guidelines, we must surmise that there is a deliberate, strategic attempt to censor any Member communication that echoes the widespread public criticism of the Republican Plan for Medicare,” the members wrote.
Rep. Gerry Connolly was one of the members who signed onto the letter and even provided some examples of what type of steps the GOP is taking to prevent word from getting out about their plan. In a mailer he recently wanted to send out, for instance, the GOP staffers said that Connolly couldn’t refer to Paul Ryan’s budget proposal as “The Ryan plan” even though it is, in fact, Paul Ryan’s plan. Furthermore, they wouldn’t let him refer to Ryan’s proposal on medicare as a “voucher system” – even though that is also exactly what it is. If the Democrats were trying to send out factually incorrect mailings, the Republicans would actually have a case here. But the things they rejected from Connolly’s mailers are a prime example of how they simply are trying to censor anything that doesn’t sing their praises.

Since mailers have a history of being approved with little resistance, one has to wonder why all of a sudden we’re seeing things change. Gerry appears to have hit it right on the nail when he spoke to the Post about the change in attitude.
“So, what in the world changed?” Connolly asked in an interview Tuesday night. “What changed? Well, what changed was an election. So now we’re in the thought police with the majority side of the aisle.”
With the Republicans trying to claim that they are the party that would stand up for individual rights and are against big government, it should be noted here that what they’re doing is very Orwellian. When the Democrats propose the government take on a project, it’s usually to do things like provide an economic stimulus or another program that will help folks get back on their feet while facing tough times. As this case helps to show, the GOP appears to like government solutions, but perhaps only on a limited basis like when it comes to finding ways to censor the truth.

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