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Dem Rep. Kanjorski under attack for 'good Americans' remark

By Matt DeLong
A Democratic congressman has found himself the target of conservative criticism after an inartful description of who will be helped by the financial reform bill currently working its way through Congress.

The conservative website Human Events reported that Rep. Paul Kanjorski's (D-Pa.) appeared to say during Wednesday's financial reform conference committee meeting that the financial overhaul will help "average, good American people" -- but not minorities or "the defective."

"We're giving relief to people that I deal with in my office every day now unfortunately," Kanjorski said. "But because of the longevity of this recession, these are people -- and they're not minorities and they're not defective and they're not all the things you'd like to insinuate that these programs are about -- these are average, good American people."

Hazleton, Pa., Mayor Lou Barletta (R), who is seeking to unseat Kanjorski in November, released a statement Thursday calling on the congressman, who chairs the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, to apologize for his remarks.

Kanjorski's office released as statement Thursday in which he said the clip in question was taken out of context, and he decidedly declined to issue an apology.

Congressman Kanjorski is tired of people, and too often Republicans, criticizing solid and needed government programs that are meant to help Americans who face tough economic times, often beyond their control, as too many people are experiencing right now. In his impassioned plea for conferees to adopt Pennsylvania's model program to help homeowners facing foreclosure to stay in their homes, the Congressman was stating that many people insinuate that those who benefit from government programs are those not looking for jobs, but that those suggestions are wildly inaccurate.

As Congressman Kanjorski stated, these programs are meant to help people and families throughout the country who are unable to afford basic necessities, including those in the Congressman's district in Northeastern Pennsylvania who he hears from every day. Anyone trying to politicize this issue clearly doesn't get it. Congressman Kanjorski is fighting for all Americans who are struggling. Any statement saying otherwise is grossly misinformed. The full video clip, rather than an edited version, speaks for itself and doesn't take the Congressman's remarks out of context

So is an apology in order? The full clip can be viewed here.

(Via The Washington Times)

By Matt DeLong  |  June 24, 2010; 12:07 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Bigotry comes in different forms. More important, not all bigots are 'bad' people. The kind who would join the likes of KKK and scream epithets. Even well meaning, socially liberal politicians are victims of their upbringing and social milieu. Though obvious to any so called minority listening to the esteemed congressman, Rep. Kanjorski does no see the implication that minorities are somehow defective, not average Americans, not hard working and therefore not deserving of help from their government. Variations of this theme crop up daily from both Republicans and Democrats. Any kind of help to the poor and needy is wasteful especially if the recipients are black or brown but okay if it is to the agro-industry, industrial titans and the so-called elite. That will be a subsidy, grant or tax break never a hand out! And when such breaks lead the loss of jobs and industrial base to our competitors that will be the fault of either globalization or our lazy working poor who want handout and not the unavailable jobs. Even their unemployment checks are a form of hand out that is exploding our deficit! Those who are feigning the most outrage from the right are the most cynical, hypocritical and unreconstructed bigots who use innuendo and code words when around their cohorts to worse effect. And you wonder why Obama is meeting with such opposition. Tell me about post racial America.

Posted by: loveforall | June 28, 2010 12:58 AM | Report abuse

NewsBusters: Who Can Ignore and Downplay Democrat's Racist Statement? The Establishment Media Can

Posted by: StewartIII | June 26, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Well, somebody's lying. My money is on the serial liar. You know, the guy who is doing nothing to defend the border, as the constiution requires of him.
[For a light hearted take on our present peril]

Posted by: libertyatstake | June 25, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Americas100 - I would suggest you play the video and really listen this time. What can I say.

Posted by: julieforBarack | June 25, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Nothing; Nada; Zilch. The claim is pathetic - really. Honestly, one day people will wake up and believe what they actually see, hear and experience, and on that day they will no longer blindly follow those that perpetrate the injustices of this world.

Posted by: julieforBarack | June 25, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

This is the most ridiculous play the republican party has made in a long time. I listened to the speech and I am a black minority! This man told the truth, he was stating what most republicans say about programs that help American citizens; However, he was letting them know before hand that these programs help average Americans, not the imaginary classes of people that the republicans usually class people as in their daily thoughts.

Anyone that falls for this, is a none thinker and a die heart republican trying to find something to hold on to for a sense of victory.


Posted by: afrederick | June 25, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Every once in a while, a Democrat slips up and exposes their shameful, hate-filled real selves...wonder if Byrd still has his KKK robes in a closet somewhere.

Posted by: JCM-51 | June 25, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Come on! There are much more important things to which we should devote our time rather than twisting unfortunately chosen words into something unintended. This kind of bru-ha-ha on either side of the aisle is just the kind of ridiculous politics that impedes any real progress on real issues.

Posted by: RockyRetired | June 25, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

The ABC story starts with this headline:
"Dem Congressman Contrasts 'Minorities' with 'Good American People'"

If, as many people do, Scan Headlines and don't read the article below or watch the video will have a twisted view toward the Congressman.

Posted by: ddoiron1 | June 25, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I just searched on for Kanjorski and FIND NOTHING on this topic. So it must be Conservative congressmen and SHAME on them. My comment about looking for fault on both sides of aisle stands double. It just goes to show that CONGRESS is just SO OUT OF TOUCH with America that it is criminal. I think we should set a term limit of ONE elections, so you NEVER have incumbents and ALWAYS someone new. All the elections are staggered, so you NEVER would have all new elected officials. To much voting just because they have been in congress forever. I know many people who is past elections just voted for incumbents. I sure hope that is a thing of the past.

Posted by: man48312 | June 25, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

The people in Kanjorski’s 11th district of Luzerne County desperately need a Presidential Investigation. Believe we all know Congressional Investigations are not worth jack sh#t. Lifelong elderly homeowners living on $12,000 a year Social Security trying to pay doubled property & school taxes. Kanjo watched our property taxes be reassessed in this recession to recover monies stolen from taxpayers by corrupt (FBI busted) elected officials! One of three sewer bills also paid by many elderly & veteran homeowners just tripled. No COLA increase either, with all due respect Congressman Kanjorski you know this is happening. You have watched and allowed this to happen! And because you are not fighting to give relief to American “minorities” or “defective” people. I guess then this is the very reason WHY the Wilkes Barre VA medical care sucks so badly? For the record; after decades I am well aware the VA is still underfunded, but this is referring to the FACT that the SPCA actually gives more humane treatment to animals than the Wilkes Barre VA hell-care hospital gives to veterans. One last question: Why is Clan’s of illegal border jumpers contributing the most to the now inadequate sewage system we already paid to build? How do you expect the elderly who built this area with their blood and sweat to pay so much more money (which they do not have) to support the illegal aliens and corrupt Luzerne County politician’s whom are destroying this area on the backs of us lifelong tax payers?

Posted by: patpacer | June 25, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

It sure is funny how everyone is saying GOP is calling for apology, but I can not find article or didn't see anything on Fox News Channel or website. (It probably is on there, but it was not "blaring" and missed it when I was just quickly checking for article) According to everyone GOP and Fox News are one in the same. So why did I learn about this when surfing channels and caught it on MSNBC. I saw Congressman explosive remarks on MSNBC "Morning Joe" and immediately thought another Republican Congressmen inserted foot in his or her mouth. I was wrong and if Democratic Congressman inserted foot into his mouth, then he needs to apologize. I will be honest, on the first "pass" on video above, I missed why the big deal. I kind of think people should not look for fault in EVERYTHING people say, on BOTH sides of the aisle.

Posted by: man48312 | June 25, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

GOP tricks again. I agree with the following:

Apologize? Absolutely not.

Even in the truncated quote his meaning is clear: "[...] they're not all the things YOU'D like to insinuate that these programs are about [...]"

YOU, not him.

Posted by: gregp1 | June 24, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

It's nice to know what Dems REALLY think.

Posted by: sam51 | June 24, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

I do not see the need for any apology.

The republican bent media is doing its best to reinforce the "Party of NO's agenda.

I was brought up to believe that the majority ruled after a decisive contest and all hands then were to set out and try to do the best for the country. The republic's for the second time (the first time Clinton) refuse to accept their loss. Shame on them they do themselves and the country a disservice.

Posted by: tct1941 | June 24, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

What a joke, the GOP specializes in demonizing minorities and defectives and now they are outraged that a man who represents neither group points out a simple fact, that this Great Recession has hit everyone. And not just the demonized ones that the GOP uses to scare it's racist, rabid right base into voting against their own best interests.

Posted by: AverageJane | June 24, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

If you have a sixth grade understanding of grammar, speech, and punctuation, it is clear that his statement was not intended to call minorities "defective" or to differentiate them from the "good people" he refers to later in the sentence. Kanjorski is simply sick and tired of hearing from Republicans that our social welfare system is simply designed to help minorities OR defects OR whoever. Kanjorski is trying to say, enough with the partisan claims, these programs are designed to help everyone, not just a few. In context, no appology is warranted. However, because this is not a black and white issue (no pun intended) an appology might be politically appropriate.

Posted by: jsconv | June 24, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

I don't care what Congressman Kanjorski's intent was. The fact is, as a minority, he excluded me from the benefits of the financial reform, he called me defective, and he excluded me from the group of "good American people". He should apologize and more importantly, he should be more careful about making insulting generalities about any segment of American society. Cris Orozco from Florida

Posted by: Americas100 | June 24, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

"average, good American people" -- but not minorities or "the defective."

I guess this means "minorities or "the defective" (whatever that means) are not average, good American people.

What an idiot.

Posted by: vrob125 | June 24, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

I know nothing about Kanjorski other than this clip, but it was perfectly clear to me. He stated clearly that these were not the kinds of recipients "you would like to think" benefit from social programs. Being a minority does not mean you are lazy. Taking welfare for years simply because you are a minority DOES- and it's fair to call it what it is.

Nobody likes generational welfare, and paying extra for additional unwanted babies harms our society more than it helps. But hey- it does help keep the prison population high when unwanted children who have to raise themselves find gangs and drugs. We perpetuate so many social ills simply by being too lazy and scared to confront things that are not working. Too timid to speak truth for fear we'll be seen as big, fat meanies. But I digress.

His words were plain, why did Matt Delong have trouble understanding them?

Posted by: madamezora | June 24, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

# 1 health care.
#2 eduction
#3 living expence
# 4 gas and heating

Posted by: theoldmansays | June 24, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm a "minority" I work hard every day, pay my taxes, get creamed by the IRS every year because I am single with no dependents and yes I understand exactly what the Congressman was trying to say, so I really don't need anyone to push me in the forefront and try to make me the poster child for any argument based on demographics. In fact for many acting outraged it is only because they don't want to admit that the Congressman is only expressing their inner thoughts. And oh yes I voted for President Obama and contrary to all those polls that have never asked me one question, I support him and what he is trying to do and plan to vote for him again.

Posted by: Coodeh | June 24, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Sirius2, You sicken me with your comments concerning the need for elimination of welfare. Welfare exists since the US does not offer equal opportunities for all across the board. It is a fact that racism, sexism still exist in this country. As the number of jobs fall in this country due to economic instability, blatant discrimination seems to intensify making it almost impossible for most of these people to get jobs. It is also interesting that you are stereotyping welfare recipients. Almost anyone these days may need assistance since the job market competition have actually driven salaries down not up as we watch prices rise. I wonder if you have actually walked into a welfare office and seen what kind of people are actually there. You and your narrow minded bigotry probably have assumed that everyone is black and has multiple children in order to collect more money! I can tell you that you have no business making such assumptions. Many of us hardworking middle class people are scared that we may not have a job in the future and hope that there will be some hope for us in terms of financial assistance. Elimination of welfare will not make the problem of economic instability go away. We need a government that will help us out when we need it. Elimination of welfare will only take away the one thing that we can count on in the future if we do need assistance. I would work any job to make money and prevent the utilization of welfare but as I get older, the jobs seems to dissappear. I hope you are in a job that allows you to not worry about the future in terms of money. I don't think most of america can say that!

Posted by: trent1a1 | June 24, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse


Wanna talk about "givers" and "takers"?

Taker: Anyone on farm welfare. Anyone with capital gains.

Giver: Anyone working for a living; i.e., with ordinary income taxed at the highest rates.

Taker: Elmer Fudd, Wall St, real estate and stock market speculators, trust fund babies.

Giver: The average working American.

Posted by: Garak | June 24, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

The man called a spade, a spade. Sounded crystal clear to me. Dems are waking up and realizing that they've bent over the middle-class for most of the past two years and if they don't do something soon, these politicians will be forced to come schlep through this economy with the rest of us hard-working Americans.

Posted by: cribbagespadesman | June 24, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

The man called a spade, a spade. Sounded crystal clear to me. Dems are waking up and realizing that they've bent over the middle-class for most of the past two years and if they don't do something soon, these politicians will be forced to come schlep through this economy with the rest of us hard-working Americans.

Posted by: cribbagespadesman | June 24, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Apologize? Absolutely not.

Even in the truncated quote his meaning is clear: "[...] they're not all the things YOU'D like to insinuate that these programs are about [...]"

YOU, not him.

Posted by: egc52556 | June 24, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Matt, there was nothing "unartful" or confusing about what the Congressman said. He is describing a bill that is good for the average American and stresses that the bill was not designed specifically to benefit minorities or those with disabilities because he knows this would make the bill unacceptable to the "tax money shouldn't be used to benefit anyone but me" crowd.

If I can watch the clip and understand exactly what the man meant, I have to assume you can too or you probably wouldn't be writing a column on politics and policy.

Assuming you did, in fact understand what the Congressman meant, why are you squandering an opportunity to report on things that actually matter to repeat a statement from a partisan website that is an obvious distortion of the truth. This is not reporting. It is a waste of intellect.

Posted by: exco | June 24, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

The answer to your question is 'no'. No appology is necessary. Ah, how Republicans like to twist reality.

Posted by: Disillusion | June 24, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Maybe now the Financial Reform Bill, which is a Trojan Horse from Obama and his Administration, will fail.

With Rep. Blanche Lincoln refusing to take the derivatives out of the Bill and this faux pas from Rep. Kanjorski, this might end this disastrous Bill.

This Bill would give Obama the power to deem which companies succeed and which should fail.

It not only is about banks and financial institutions, but encompasses any business which gives credit to customers(i.e., retail/department stores, businesses that supply credit to other small business,). There will be a commission who makes recommendations to the President, but Obama would make the final decision.

Now what businesses do you think the President will let succeed and which will he fail? It wouldn't be according to political affiliations, ideology and donations, would it?

Also, if this Bill passed it would give the President control of approximately 70% of our economy, of which he now has grabbed 61% already. Quite a power-grab.

And just like the Health Care Bill, we won't know EVERYTHING that's in it 'til they pass it.

Posted by: janet8 | June 24, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

His remark – taken in its entirety – is not insulting but states the truth of what some people insinuate.

WaPo nice try with your "headline" but to those of us who can read I think you're looking for controversy where none exist.

Posted by: rlj1 | June 24, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

It seems the Democrats hate minorities and defective people. Democrats seem to hate America in general.

Posted by: NO-bama | June 24, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

As proven in this year's primaries, the GOP is becoming the party of diversity, while The Dems sink into the old elitist socialist class that wants to control everything and tell everyone what to do. No wonder the Dems are getting crushed in the polls.

Posted by: Realist201 | June 24, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

No fool like an old fool.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | June 24, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Kanjorski just said what everyone feels:
this is help for hard-working taxpayers who
are "givers", instead of those who do
nothing but take from hard-working Americans. These are the "takers" who
get more money each month with every
additional child that they bring into
their pitiful lives.

We need to think first about hard-working
taxpayers, and get the "takers" off the
gravy train. They account for over $110
billion annually, and this does not include food assistance. This is outrageous, and it needs to be stopped.

Perhaps the Governor of California is
correct in wanting to eliminate the
welfare program in his state. Welfare
recipients are using their cards to gamble at casinos! Open you eyes taxpayers,
we are being literally screwed by these
lowlife do nothings.

Posted by: Sirius2 | June 24, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh please. GOPs are desperate.

Posted by: dorklord | June 24, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

This is the same Kanjorski who railroaded the FASB (Financial Accounting Standards Board) into gutting mark-to-market accounting for banks. Cover up portfolios of bad loans with fig leaves to dress up a crippled balance sheet.

If this inane, brain-dead comment about minorities is what it takes to get rid of this idiot, so be it.

Posted by: Garak | June 24, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Kanjorski should apologize if, and only if, he believes he has transgressed. He should not, nor should anyone, apologize "...if anyone was offended..." Apologies are not about the offended; the offended are always available. Apologies are about an individuals belief that he/she has a societal obligation.

Posted by: MrChili | June 24, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: doughless | June 24, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Kanjorski just told us what everyone knew about the Dems all along. Tell the truth and get crucified. Welcome to the prison camp of political correctness.

Posted by: NoWeCant | June 24, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Can someone please post a transcript of the full clip?

Posted by: dkp01 | June 24, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

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