The 2011 Values Voter Summit, a joint production of the Family Research Council and other social conservative groups, began this morning with speeches by the most technically* powerful Republicans in Washington: John Boehner and Eric Cantor. It was left to Cantor to make the first news of the day. "I am increasingly concerned," he said, with the "growing mobs" of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
"Some in this town," he said, "have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans."
That "some" would include a slowly growing number of elected Democrats in the House, like the leaders of the House Progressive Caucus, and the president and vice president, who have been asked about the protests and said that they understand them -- condoning by omission. The "mob" language recalled the attacks that Democrats lobbed on the nascent Tea Party movement in 2009, with one difference: The Occupy crowds in New York have clashed with police.
That was the only new note in a pair of raw steak speeches, in which both leaders talked up the (now $1.5 million) legal fees that will be used to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, and promised to re-fight and expand the battle over abortion funding. "The Hyde Amendment will once again be the law of the land," said Boehner, referring to the ban on federal funds going to abortion. (This is already in effect, but Republicans insist that there aren't enough strings on health care and Planned Parenthood funds to stop the money from ebbing out.)
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