On Capitol Hill, gleeful Republicans blast Obama and Democrats
By Perry Bacon, Jr.
After loudly opposing the Democratic agenda while locked in a virtually powerless minority for the past year, Congressional Republicans declared themselves vindicated Wednesday by the surprising election of Scott Brown to the Senate in traditionally Democratic Massachusetts.
"Well, the American people have been speaking," said Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.) at a news conference by House Republicans. "They spoke in August. 'Mr. President and the majority: Can you hear us now?' The American people spoke in Virginia: 'Mr. President, can you hear us now?' The American people spoke in New Jersey: 'can you hear us now?' And they certainly spoke last night in Massachusetts: 'Mr. President and the Democratic majority, can you hear us now?"
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Massachusetts voters had "rejected the arrogance" of Washington. Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) called for Democrats to "scrap their government takeover of health care." Miller blasted Obama as "the most partisan president that America has ever seen."
"For nine months, I've talked to you about the political rebellion that's been brewing in America," said House Minority Whip John Boehner (R-Ohio.) "It manifested itself in August at town hall meetings around the country. We saw it manifest itself in what happened in Virginia and New Jersey back in November. And we saw it manifest itself again last night in Massachusetts, when the people of Massachusetts stood up and said, 'enough is enough.'"
Republicans said they would look to reach compromises with Obama and congressional Democrats on health care and other issues. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said of Democrats, "we're prepared to meet them in the middle." Pence, chairman of the House Republican Conference, emphasized that his party was eager to discuss with Obama how to move forward when the president attends the annual House GOP retreat next week in Baltimore.
But Brown's victory could in truth embolden the party activists outside of Congress, who have strongly opposed almost any compromise with Democrats.
"Jim DeMint said health care was Barack Obama's Waterloo," Erick Erickson, a prominent conservative blogger on the site RedState, wrote of the South Caroline senator. "Yup. And the people of Massachusetts delivered the decisive blow."
Perry Bacon Jr.
January 20, 2010; 2:35 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency , 50 States
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