Michael Tomasky complains today that “Bush and Cheney – and conservatism in general – have wrecked our civic institutions and darkened our civic impulses. Nothing is beyond politicization: not the Justice Department; not the worst terrorist attacks on our soil . . . ” Politicizing terrorist attacks? Why, that sounds like the despicable work of the cynical conservative who gave the 1996 State of the Union Address:
[Richard Dean is] a 49-year-old Vietnam veteran who’s worked for the Social Security Administration for 22 years now. Last year he was hard at work in the Federal Building in Oklahoma City when the blast killed 169 people and brought the rubble down all around him. He reentered that building four times. He saved the lives of three women. He’s here with us this evening, and I want to recognize Richard and applaud both his public service and his extraordinary personal heroism. But Richard Dean’s story doesn’t end there. This last November, he was forced out of his office when the Government shut down. And the second time the Government shut down he continued helping Social Security recipients, but he was working without pay.
On behalf of Richard Dean and his family, and all the other people who are out there working every day doing a good job for the American people, I challenge all of you in this Chamber: Let’s never, ever shut the Federal Government down again.