Dick Armey to Protesters: ‘I’ve Never Seen So Many Attractive Domestic Terrorists’
December 15, 2009 - 8:01 PMHundreds of people dressed in red and carrying American flags gathered outside the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday to protest the Senate health care bill, chanting "kill the bill" and calling for the impeachment of President Barack Obama.
The protesters also called for the impeachment of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and the crowd cheered as members of Congress, tea party activists, and conservative talk-radio host Laura Ingraham harpooned the Senate’s health care legislation as costly and dangerous. The bill could be voted on as early as this week.
Speakers at the “Code Red Rally” said the Senate health care bill trampled on the Constitution, would take away personal liberty, ration care for the elderly and use taxpayers’ money to pay for abortion. They also hailed the crowd as grassroots activists who were responsible for the delay in passing a bill that Obama said he wanted to sign in August.
“I’ve never seen so many attractive domestic terrorists in all my life,” former Republican Congressman Dick Armey of Texas, tongue-in-cheek, told the crowd. Armey was referencing the Department of Homeland Security’s report released before the first “tea party” tax protest on April 15, which warned about “domestic right-wing terrorists” operating in the United States. Armey, chairman of Freedom Works, said the many protesters had refuted their critics who claimed they were put up to the task by conservative special interest groups.
“You mean you actually came to town on your own terms, say what you wanted to say and to be heard?” Armey asked the crowd. “You sound pretty much like terrorists to me.”
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) compared the crowd to the earliest American protesters.
“It’s the charge of the light brigade,” Bachmann said, adding that the Senate health care bill ignores the U.S. Constitution.
“Let’s ask our president, let’s ask Harry Reid, let’s ask the Speaker of the House where in the Constitution is the authority to force an American citizen to buy a product or service against their will? Bachmann said. “Nowhere.” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who continues to practice medicine while serving in Congress, said “the health care bill isn’t about health care” but that “the health care bill is about government control.”
He urged the crowd to call or visit their senators to tell them not to vote for the bill, which Senate Majority Leader Reid has said will be ready for a vote before Congress takes its Christmas break.
“This bill must be stopped,” Coburn said. “Not just for health care. We can fix health care.”
“This bill must be stopped because we have a government that’s way too big, way outside the bounds of its intended purpose and we have a government we cannot afford, and this will make it worse by $2.5 trillion dollars over the next 10 years,” said Coburn.
Radio talk show host Laura Ingraham signed autographs before getting on stage and joining other speakers who warned senators that a vote in favor of the bill might mean being voted out of office in the 2010 elections.
“We are voters who are making our list and checking it twice,” Ingraham said.
She also called for a moment of silence to honor the unborn children who would be aborted and the elderly who might not receive life-saving treatment, if the Senate bill becomes law.
Armey said he thought the Democrats were having a difficult time getting the 60 votes in the Senate needed to pass the bill.
“They don’t have the votes, or the dirty deed would be done,” Armey said.
Other groups represented at the rally were Conservatives for Patients’ Rights and Americans for Prosperity.