While the title of this post sounds like something crazy that you might find on The Onion, this headline is directly from a real-life press release from Indiana's 4th district US Representative Steve Buyer. I saw the press release because I am a member of the press and a member of Congressman Buyer's district (Indiana-4). When I first read the press release, I wondered how Bloomington, Indiana, with Indiana University's main campus and all of its diversity, could elect and re-elect a Congressperson that would defame legitimate legislation from the other political party. I looked my district up and discovered that I am only in Indiana-4 because the district is gerrymandered to include the rural areas south of town and my house in in the connecting sliver. Regardless of his constituents, Congressman Buyer would do well to refrain from slander when presenting his spin.
Senator Dick Lugar, in the other chamber of Congress, for example, released a newsletter simply titled Senator Lugar to vote against health care reform after releasing a press release this summer titled Lugar says ailing economy is the wrong time for costly health care remedies. While I disagree with Lugar, he presents reasonable arguments and is willing to discuss the issue. Senator Evan Bayh will possibly vote for a Senate bill today, and although Lugar will not, he is opposing earnestly, with honesty and integrity.
Congressman Buyer, on the other hand, is opposing with obstinance, name-calling, and defamation. Buyer represents a conservative district, and he has a responsibility to look out for his constituents. However, Buyer also has a responsibility to be honest. With a scheduled procedural vote in the Senate today, I expect to see more exaggerated libel, but I hope not to see any. The House bill passed without Representative Buyer's vote or support, and he is trying to make the bill he opposed look bad. When health care reform finally passes into law, Buyer doesn't want his top campaign contributors to look at him distrustfully. And what better way to build trust than slander?