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Paul Rolly: Chaffetz gets schooled in viral video; Veterans scold Lee

Published October 16, 2013 11:31 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

GOP Congressman Jason Chaffetz was the acting speaker of the House during floor debate when it came to light that House Republicans quietly passed a resolution developed by the House Rules Committee that took away the right of any House member to call for a vote of a bill or resolution.

When Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., attempted to present a motion to accept the Senate's clean continuing resolution and reopen the government, Chaffetz informed him that the rule he was seeking to use had been "altered."

The resolution altering the rule, it turns out, was passed Sept. 30, just before the government shutdown.

So the GOP majority in the House that keeps blaming Obama for the shutdown made sure no House member could get a vote to reopen it except for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., or his designee.

That's despite the fact that a vote to reopen the government surely would pass - enough Republicans have voiced support for such a move - if only such a vote were taken.

When Van Hollen kept trying to renew his motion, Chaffetz said: "The gentleman will suspend."

Van Hollen replied: "Democracy has been suspended, Mr. Speaker."

Oh, and who is on the committee that changed the rule?

Congressman Rob Bishop, R-Utah.

Chaffetz wasn't the only one to embarass Utah this weekend.

Guess which group did not appreciate Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and squawk-box Sarah Palin participating in the protest aimed at opening the shuttered World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.?

Veterans.

As reported on several online news sites, the Million Vet March posted on its home page its disappointment with the way its demonstration in support of veterans and keeping their memorials open was commandeered by tea-party loudmouths.

"The political agenda put forth by a local organizer in Washington, D.C., was not in alignment with our message," the post said. "We feel disheartened that some would seek to hijack the narrative for political gain. The core principle is about all Americans honoring veterans in a peaceful and apolitical manner."

Lee, Cruz and Palin turned the demonstration for veterans into a political attack on the commander in chief, while one enthusiast waved a giant Confederate flag and speakers called for President Barack Obama to "put down the Quran."

The online publication ThinkProgress noted the irony of Palin promising during her speech that she and other conservative public figures would "not be timid in calling out any who would use our military, our vets, as pawns in a political game," which is exactly what she, Cruz and Lee did.

The Million Vet March Facebook page said political groups and politicians "have piggybacked off our grass-roots efforts, to effectively create a comprehensive media message campaign. We made the mistake of trying to partner with some Washington insiders that thwarted many of our genuine concerns for keeping this apolitical and grass roots."

I'm just waiting for the next email from Lee using his latest antics at the World War II Memorial as a fundraising ploy. When I get it, I'll pass it along.

prolly@sltrib.com