Waxman Questions GOPers' Patriotism — Will Mainstream Media Go After Waxman Like They Did Limbaugh?

It was wrong, we were told, when Rush Limbaugh said he wanted President Obama to fail at raising our taxes, taking over sectors of our economy (be they specific companies or entire industries) and further entangling the government in the lives — and wallets — of everyday Americans.

Why, it was so wrong — dangerous, even — that news coverage on Limbaugh's comments dominated the airwaves. Limbaugh was news topic No. 1. For weeks, Republicans found themselves on the defensive, being asked incessantly, "Do you want President Obama to fail? Do you agree with this entertainer and want America to fail?"

In the aftermath of the cap-and-trade vote, however, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) took spiteful partisan rhetoric to a new level, declaring to MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell that Republicans who oppose the legislation are "rooting against the country ... against the world."

Waxman, Hollywood's congressman (literally), isn't some powerless backbencher. Waxman was supported by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to wrest control of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee from Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), a man long respected on both sides of the aisle. When it comes to senior members of Congress, or indeed senior ranking officials in our government, it doesn't get much higher than Waxman.

To say that those who oppose the legislation, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates will cost the average family $175 per year, are rooting against the country and the world is as outrageous as it is nonsensical. It also renders moot any faux outrage from Democrats who in the past charged time and again that Republicans were questioning anyone's patriotism.

And while Waxman attacks the patriotism of Republicans opposed to the bill, the 40-plus House Democrats who voted against the bill received no such criticism.

Given the media's overreaction to and sensationalism of Limbaugh's comments, it will be interesting to see how much attention the mainstream media devotes to Waxman's troubling comments. Here's one guess that it won't receive anything approaching the same amount of scrutiny and condemnation and that leaders of the Democratic Party won't be called to the carpet as were Republicans.

But this much is certain; if it is wrong for a radio host to say he wants the president to be a failure (which is decidedly not what Rush said), it is the height of irresponsibility and blind partisanship for a senior member of Congress to label a select few (i.e., those not in his own party) as being anti-American and anti-world — whatever the latter term means — for following the wishes of their constituents and voting against a bill on an issue, climate change, that poll after poll demonstrates is not a priority for voters.

House Democrats won the vote on climate change. If this is how their leadership reacts in victory, one can only imagine the shameful reaction and vitriolic language that would come in defeat. Which may well happen in the Senate.