Going After The Mr. Smiths Who Went To Washington In 2010
Congressman Michael Grimm, representing New York's 13th District
By Alicia Colon
The first time I watched the Jimmy Stewart classic film, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", I was too young to appreciate how very insightful it was in describing how things work in our government. Many years later after joining our local tea party and getting involved in sending Michael Grimm to represent us in Congress, I was struck by how that movie presaged what he would expect in D.C.
Soon after his ascent to office he held a town hall meeting to inform his supporters of his first impressions and he said a shocking thing. "Nobody here cares," he said and he was referring to those on both sides of the aisle. Getting reelected is their first priority, he concluded.
Those were dangerous words for the freshman congressman to utter and I had a sinking feeling that he would pay for them, much like the hero Stewart played in that movie. Despite all the positive work Grimm has achieved in Congress, much of it will be subject to the spin of a hostile press beholden to his opponents.
In that film, Mr. Stewart plays an idealistic young man, Jefferson Smith, who encounters a powerful enemy in the media when he refuses to co-sponsor legislature that he finds to be against the public interests. When he complains to his mentor, Senator Paine, he learns that compromise is the price one pays to remain in power for so many years. A press tycoon, Jim Taylor, controls Congress and is able to manipulate public opinion. When Sen. Paine tells Taylor that Smith will not cooperate he responds, "Aah, he'll never get started. I'll make public opinion out there within five hours! I've done it all my life. I'll blacken this punk so that he'll - You leave public opinion to me."
Doesn't all this sound familiar? Doesn't that describe the influence that the mainstream media has on public opinion today? Michael Grimm has been called one of the Young Guns in Congress and has been quite successful for a freshman in helping pass conservative legislation. Make no mistake about it; this made him a target for Democrats on the Hill.
In July, The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee distributed WANTED ads calling for information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of Rep. Grimm for illegal activity involving his 2010 campaign. An Israeli, Ofer Biton, who had helped fundraise for his 2010 campaign was just arrested in August. News of Biton's arrest splashed on the front page of the Staten Island Advance and the article speculated that Grimm's reelection might be imperiled.
It's not unusual for political fundraising campaigns to attract unscrupulous individuals but rarely do these illicit activities directly involve the candidates. Not much front page press coverage occurred when Hillary Clinton's fundraiser, Hassan Nemazee, was arrested for $74million fraud.
In 2008, he raised $100,000 for Clinton and $500,000 for Obama after he defeated her in the primary. Mr. Nemazee is a leading fundraiser for the Democrat Party and served as finance chairman for the Senate Committee before his arrest in 2009. I don't recall any of the candidates he helped being given the treatment that Rep. Grimm is being given.
Another Democrat Fundraiser, Norman Hsu, was named by Time magazine in a list of the Top Ten Swindlers. He was charged and convicted of running a $60million Ponzi scheme. Currently serving a 24-year sentence, Mr. Hsu made contributions to major Democrats like Hillary Clinton, Eliot Spitzer, Andrew Cuomo, Barack Obama and Al Franken. His conviction did not make the front page of any newspaper.
Congressman Grimm is not the only freshman Republican in the crosshairs of the media lapdogs for the Democrats. Florida Congressman Allen West is another target who has been savaged in the mainstream media. He is the sole Republican in the Congressional Black Caucus whose chairman Rep. Alcee Hastings has been highly critical of West and if he could would have him booted out. The latest faux scandal about Rep. West is being stirred up in the tabloids by a Miami Herald gossip columnist who claims to have obtained a suggestive letter from West to his wife that he wrote while stationed in Iraq. Is nothing sacred about the communication between a soldier and his wife in a time of war? How low can you get?
Although I am sure there are other freshman members in Congress going through the same thing, I'm mentioning Rep. Grimm because he is my congressman and Rep. West because I admire him so much and hope sincerely that he will serve in an even higher office in the future.
Both of these men have served honorably in combat during dangerous times and consequently draw fire from the progressive anti-war element on the extreme left that now dominates the Democratic Party.
Both men are also Pro-life and voted aye for H.R. 3541 known as PRENDA; the prenatal Non-discrimination Act. The "War on Women" that the liberals accuse the GOP of waging was exposed as a hoax by those hypocritical Democrats who voted against protecting female fetuses from being selectively terminated. The sad fact is that for females, the 3 most dangerous words in China and India are: It's a girl. After the bill failed to pass, Rep. Grimm issued this statement:
"I find it disappointing that legislation to outlaw the barbaric practice of sex-selective abortions failed to pass the House of Representatives. Beyond my religious and pro-life views, I believe to end the life of an unborn baby girl simply because her parents were hoping for a boy is absolutely disgusting and horrific, not to mention the ultimate betrayal of women's rights.
He's right, of course, but how many voters even knew about this bill? Shouldn't feminists be outraged at the culling of female fetuses? Right now the media is obsessed with how one GOP candidate misspoke about "legitimate rape? Not much flack erupted when Whoopi Goldberg described Roman Polanski's drugging and raping a 13 year old as "not rape, rape," on The View. Apparently, the mainstream media determines what we should be outraged about and that is a very sad state of affairs for our nation.
In that 1939 Frank Capra film classic, the people rallied around Mr. Smith and managed to bypass the evil clutches of the media magnate through a Herculean effort of getting the truth out. Thanks to the Internet and other alternative news sources, it is now much easier to do so. The question remains - are Americans as committed to the truth as Mr. Smith's supporters were?
Alicia Colon resides in New York City and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org and at www.aliciacolon.com