A few weeks ago, I posted a report on the Tea Party Sedition Letter. I won’t go into details here but invite you to read my original post. The letter is out in the mainstream media, and its originator, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) has been credited. Suffice it to say that the letter called for using the appropriations function of the House as a tool for defunding the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The letter was delivered to Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor. It exists in its complete form as a Public Statement in the official documents of each Representative who signed. Dated August 21, 2013, this became the rationale that eventually led to the GOP shutdown of the government.
What has been ignored over the past few weeks, and at this point, I will go so far as to say buried, is the fact that two Democratic House members signed this letter.
These were not freshmen who were easily swayed or right-leaning Democrats, if such a breed exists. No. One is the Democratic Minority Caucus Chair, Xavier Becerra. The other is Rush Holt, generally known as a liberal Democrat.
Today, one of their colleagues in the House, Democrat Raul Grijalva, tweeted a link to the infamous letter, inviting his followers to find the culprits causing the “GOP Shutdown.”
— Raul M. Grijalva (@RepRaulGrijalva) October 11, 2013
The link offered by Grijalva arrives at a site called the Madison Project, where is seen a “Final House Defund Obamacare Letter.” A copy of the letter is included along with a list of its 80 signees. The names of Becerra and Holt are not included.
I will not indulge in suppositions. I will just say that it is public record that Becerra and Holt signed this letter. The content of the letter at the Madison Project and the one on file are exactly the same. However, the letter included as part of Becerra and Holt’s Public Statements includes a copy of the signatures.
Their participation is obviously an embarrassment to the Democratic Party, which has from the start of the shutdown, pointed to the GOP and then the Tea Party faction as the perpetrators of the shutdown. That the Minority Caucus Chair signed on must be especially awkward and inexplicable.
To get back to my question: Why did they sign? I do not know. I have used Twitter to ask both representatives along with Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Raul Grijalva and various media representatives. Twitter is not the best method for these kinds of embarrassing questions since it is textually limited – and it is public. But my questions have resulted in complete silence.
As a lifelong Democrat, I am disappointed and I am angry. The first rule of court has to do with “clean hands” – don’t make accusations if you are guilty yourself. I agree that the Tea Party deliberately manipulated this government shutdown. But this does not absolve Becerra and Holt of their involvement. The fact that they have been protected for their involvement is not shocking. I am not naive. However, it is inexcusable.