Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008

By:  Mitch McConnell
Date: Sept. 11, 2007
Location: Washington, DC


DEPARTMENTS OF TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (Senate - September 11, 2007)

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, before the Senator from Texas leaves, I wish he could put back up the ad in the New York Times yesterday. It strikes me that the Cornyn amendment is an opportunity for Senate Democrats to have their reputation restored. I can't believe that Senate Democrats approved of this kind of trash that we have seen in the New York Times in this paid ad last Sunday which, I gather, cost over $100,000. This organization, MoveOn.org, is claiming it controls the Democratic Party. I don't believe that is true. But this is what they had to say back in 2004.

Someone named Eli Pariser, an employee of MoveOn, talking about the Democratic Party, said:

Now it's our party. We bought it. We own it. We are going to take it back.

MoveOn is claiming they control the Democratic Party. If I were a Democratic Senator, I would be offended by MoveOn.org's claim, as Senator Cornyn pointed out in his comments, that they communicate on a near-daily basis with senior Democratic Members. Here is a quote:

I called over there and said ``you guys better have a strategy on this.''

By ``there,'' Matzzie, who, I guess, is the head of MoveOn.org, meant the offices of Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill with which he or his staff communicate on a near-daily basis. According to Matzzie, Matzzie has personal relationships with several senior Democratic Members of Congress.

In short, it strikes me, listening to the Senator from Texas and reading the article in the New York Times myself Sunday, that this organization, this radical leftwing organization is attacking the patriotism of General Petraeus with this ad, accusing him, in effect, of treason--``Betray Us,'' it says--and is claiming control of our good colleagues on the other side of the aisle. I don't believe that. I don't believe that for a minute. The Cornyn resolution is an opportunity for the Senate to go on record, hopefully unanimously, objecting to this kind of dialog. Certainly, they are free to do whatever they want. It is a free country. The first amendment allows everyone to say whatever they please. But you don't have to endorse this kind of nonsense.

This organization strikes me as a severe threat to the reputation of the Democratic Party. This is an opportunity the Senator from Texas has offered for all of us to go on record in opposition to this outrageous and unacceptable ad run in the New York Times on Sunday.

``General Petraeus or General Betray Us?'' What an outrage. Are we not offended by that? Do we not condemn that? This is the opportunity for the Senate, on a broad bipartisan basis, to condemn this outrageous ad.

I thank the Senator from Texas for giving us this opportunity. I hope when this vote occurs, it will be a unanimous expression. Regardless of how we may feel about the war--and I know that is a deeply divisive issue in this body; we understand that--some kinds of rhetoric are simply unacceptable. Here we have an outside organization claiming to basically control the Democratic Party. I don't believe they do. If I were a member of the Democratic caucus and sitting on the other side of the aisle in this Chamber, I would be offended by an organization claiming to control me and to speak for me, such as this group apparently does.

I thank the Senator from Texas. It is a perfectly timely amendment, as General Petraeus is testifying here in the Senate today and in the House yesterday. Of course, next week we will be dealing with the Iraq issue again. I hope we can discuss it in a typical, responsible Senate debate and not have these extreme organizations on the far left, which apparently wish for America's defeat, have a disproportionate influence on this body over the outcome of our debates. We ought to be able to rise above that. We have the possibility of doing that. The American people would like for us to do that. They want us to engage in a civil debate about the way forward in Iraq. We will have an opportunity to demonstrate that again next week. I hope we will demonstrate it this morning by overwhelmingly--and hopefully on a unanimous basis--condemning this outrageous ad questioning the patriotism of General Petraeus.

I yield the floor.