What's Happened to Hoyer?
I recently attended an event for Charles Lollar, a friend and fellow Republican from Charles County who has filed to run against House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer for the 5th District's seat in the U.S. Congress. While there, I joined in on a conversation between two women who attended the town hall meeting Hoyer held last summer in Waldorf on the health bill. These women could have been your relatives, neighbors or someone you'd sit next to in church - these weren't rabble rousers or troublemakers.
One remarked how offended she and her friends were at Hoyer's treatment of them during the town hall meeting. I commented that I saw some of the news reports about the meeting, and that I'd written a column prior to the meeting predicting it would be a waste of time for anyone opposed to this massive federal government intervention in the health sector of our economy.
Hoyer was arrogant and rude to those who didn't already agree with him...She replied that what was reported in the news was nothing compared to what happened in person. She said Hoyer was arrogant and rude to those who didn't already agree with him, and he had a bunch of union muscle there to intimidate these average citizens looking to petition their Congressman in accordance with their rights under the First Amendment. A lot of people who were fence-sitters when it came to politics left that meeting as activists, dedicated to defeating Steny Hoyer this fall.
A friend of mine, formerly from Prince George's County, recently retired with his wife to rural Georgia. Even there, he indicated, Hoyer was causing trouble. I'll let this excerpt from the article he sent me speak for itself:
Dr. Chris Cates says he started thinking about running for Congress soon after a meeting with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., last June.
Cates, a heart doctor from Blairsville who is vice president of the Interventional Cardiology Society, is running as a Republican. He was part of a group of doctors meeting with congressional leaders on health care reform.
Cates said the doctors, all leaders of organizations representing various medical specialties, told Hoyer they had not been consulted on health care reform and asked to be included.
"We said, 'Mr. Hoyer, let's work together and let's fix health care with a patient-oriented focus and do it incrementally,'" Cates said.
"He said, 'You doctors better get on board or we will crush you,'" said Cates.
Of course, there was the infamous USA Today op-ed piece he co-authored with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in which he used the phrase "un-American" to describe the angry protesters who were showing up at town hall meetings around the country, demanding to be heard.
All of this leads me to ask the question, "What's happened to Steny Hoyer?" This is a man who I've almost never agreed with on anything, but who I considered a savvy politician who knew how to speak to people, even those who disagreed with him, and leave them feeling like they'd been heard.
Has the lack of serious opposition to his electoral chances made him so comfortable that he feels he can ... treat people in whatever manner he chooses?Has the lack of serious opposition to his electoral chances made him so comfortable that he feels he can say whatever he wants, or treat people in whatever manner he chooses? He's faced only one serious challenge since winning election to the U.S. Congress in 1981, and 29 years safely ensconced in one place can make one seem impervious to harm.
Still, there are enough moderate and conservative Republicans, Democrats, and independents in his district for him to at least pay them lip service, as he's pretty much done for years now. Maybe he thinks he now has an insurmountable and permanent advantage because of the black voters in Charles and Prince George's County, and the people in St. Mary's County he's manipulated by linking his defeat to the possible closure of the Patuxent River Naval Air Station and the destruction of the local economy.
He reminds me of one of the reasons I've devoted much of my life to holding career politicians accountable, even if only through the written and spoken word.
In 1993, I petitioned the city council of Melbourne, Florida to change their zoning laws to permit home-based businesses. My wife was doing translation and interpretation work part-time from home, and we needed a business license to get a bank account, and qualify for other business services. I'm proud to say I was singularly responsible for getting the Melbourne city council to change their ordinances, and my efforts even received national recognition among home-based business advocates and in home-based business publications.
What struck me during the numerous proceedings I attended, however, was how these elected officials, who served at the pleasure of the people, treated me and others who came to them with issues. They sat at the dais and looked down at us as we made our respective cases, forbade us to speak unless spoken to, and didn't allow us to answer questions even when we knew the answers and they were fumbling to come up with them. At the time, I felt like a serf standing before a chamber of medieval masters, and it infuriated me.
Today's politicians seem to think they are the bosses and we must bow to their will, and they couldn't be more wrong.
Their arrogance and the condescension with which they treat everyday citizens are at the heart of the Tea Party movement, and the unrest the pollsters are measuring out there in the electorate. The vast majority of Americans who've built this country with their blood, toil, tears and sweat, love America unconditionally, and who have never raised their voices or marched in protest of their government in their lives, are awake and angry.
They are being ignored, belittled, even verbally assaulted by politicians who've forgotten their positional relationship with the voters, and whose "loyal" constituents, residing in the echo chamber in which they spend most of their time, aren't as numerous or committed as they like to think. A lot of the people who make public appearances on behalf of these career elected officials are either political activists, people whose influence is determined by how much they receive or extort in taxpayer dollars, or people who are paid by unions or other special interest groups to be there.
One of the more humorous YouTube videos from the special election in Massachusetts is the one where a man holding a sign in support of Democrat Martha Coakley reveals he's there because they paid him for his time, and he's planning to vote for her opponent, Republican and eventual victor Scott Brown!
Steny Hoyer is miscalculating if he thinks he can treat everyday Marylanders any way he wishes and escape unscathed.Steny Hoyer is miscalculating if he thinks he can treat everyday Marylanders any way he wishes and escape unscathed. I was the master of ceremonies for the first Tea Party in Maryland on March 22nd, and I marveled as I walked through the crowd and spoke with the people. There were young people, grandparents, blue-collar and white collar workers, neighbors and friends, and they all said essentially the same thing I've heard at every one of these events I've attended:
"I've never done anything like this in my life, but I'm angry, I'm afraid for my country and what we're leaving for our children and grandchildren, and I had to do something."
This is the motivation that has everyday Americans taking to the streets. A lot of smart politicians understand this and are moderating their statements or, in many cases, deciding to leave rather than fight.
[Hoyer] chalks [the anger of the people] up to their ignorance of what they're trying to do in Washington, and the failings of the past administration.Hoyer hasn't gotten the message yet. Even while acknowledging the anger of the people, he chalks it up to their ignorance of what they're trying to do in Washington, and the failings of the past administration.
Mr. Hoyer, what has happened to you? Your political instincts have abandoned you. Calling your constituents and most of the American people ignorant is an insult, not a winning strategy. And in case you hadn't noticed, George W. Bush left the building over a year ago, and didn't have squat to do with the $1 trillion plus you've spent of money we don't have, or the expensive, intrusive, overreaching legislation you've promoted since he returned to Texas.
Take a lesson from a veteran; leaders don't blame or make excuses. Leaders lead. If you haven't persuaded the people of the goodness of your plans, that not a "them" problem; it's a "you" problem.
Ron Miller, of Huntingtown, is a military veteran, conservative writer and activist, former and current candidate for the District 27 Maryland Senate seat, communications director for the Calvert County Republican Party, and executive director of Regular Folks United, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Ron is a regular contributor to RegularFolksUnited.com, American Thinker, and RedCounty.com. You can also follow Ron on his website TeamRonMiller.com, as well as Twitter and Facebook.