GOP Congressman Peter Roskam appeared on WIND Radio's Big John & Amy yesterday and was asked for his comment on the proposal to build an Islamic cultural center (including a mosque) two blocks from ground zero in New York City. In response, he vehemently opposed the plan and equated it with "a conquering sort of act." Listen:
ROSKAM: No, it should not be built. This is a very, very provocative thing that the proponents of this mosque are doing. And it's not meant in a spirit of reconciliation. It's meant in a spirit of provocation. ... I don't think anyone can say, really, that it's just meant as an innocent house of worship without the symbolism of almost a conquering sort of act.
Many elected officials -- including Roskam's buddy Eric Cantor (R-VA) -- have couched their opposition to the project in terms of "sensitivity" and "respect" for the families of 9-11 victims. But Roskam goes a step further in these comments and taps into the disturbing pattern of Islamophobia in this country. For him to characterize the construction of the center as a "provocative," "conquering sort of act" puts him in the ranks of the most extreme, right-wing bloggers and conspiracy theorists.
After years of supposed fiscal responsibility under the Bush
administration, GOP Rep. Peter Roskam is fed up with the Obama administration. Check out his screed on
Fox News this morning, in which he claimed that President Obama has almost quadrupled the national debt left by George W. Bush:
This is a popular claim among conservative blowhards like Fox New's Sean Hannity. It's also way overblown. In early May, the nation's total public debt was 1.2 times larger
than it was when President Obama was inaugurated. Most of that spending
was needed to stabilize the economy and jump-start consumer demand
after the housing bubble burst. Under the administration's FY 2011
proposed budget, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the debt will grow by another $1 trillion next year. Like Roskam,
most Americans would like to see that figure move in the opposite
direction eventually. But his characterization of the White House's
spending record is just factually incorrect.
Rep. Mark Kirk may have lied repeatedly
about the nature of his military service, but according to
Rep. Peter Roskam, those fibs aren't
comparable to Alexi Giannoulias' Broadway Bank troubles. "I think the nature of what Giannoulias was doing
... of putting the federal taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of
millions of dollars, is different then overstating a resume," the Republican congressman said on WFLD's Fox Chicago Sunday this past weekend. Watch it (full video available here.):
just one flaw with Roskam's argument: the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corp (FDIC), which took over Broadway at a cost of $394 million in April, receives
no congressional appropriations. Instead it is financed by investment
earnings on U.S. Treasury securities and premiums paid by banks so
their deposits can be insured. In February, FDIC officials told the Tribune that they had enough cash on hand to deal with a Broadway Bank collapse without borrowing from the Treasury.
In other words, the bank's takeover can't be described as putting "taxpayers on the hook."
UPDATE (1:10 p.m.) Roskam repeated the claim on WIND's Big John and Amy this morning. For the full segment, click here. Comments begin at the 25:50.
In response to the Obama administration's endorsement of congressional efforts to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Rep. Peter Roskam claimed that discussing the discriminatory military policy "doesn't honor" the troops.
With the health care debate behind him, Rep. Peter Roskam is turning his attention to financial reform. Joined by House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) on WFLD's Good Day Chicago this morning, the suburban Republican blasted the Democratic proposal currently being debated in the Senate. "When you really ... distill it down," Roskam says, "it's another bailout." Watch below (the full clip is available here):
Like his GOP colleague Mark Kirk, Roskam has clearly been pouring over the memos supplied to the Republican caucus by conservative pollster Frank Luntz. Back in January, Luntzadvised the minority party to defend Wall Street from new
regulation by characterizing all financial reform efforts as leading
to "endless bailouts." Of course, this is patently absurd. The entire animus
behind the financial reform push, aside from protecting consumers, is
to prevent the need for further bailouts.
But hey, it makes for a good talking
point -- one that Roskam (who raised $553,000 from the finance, insurance, and real estate industries in 2008) seems eager to deploy. Unfortunately, the Fox Chicago hosts weren't equipped to rebut it.