Stark Backs Down, Apologizes, Avoids Censure

Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) retreated from his stated position last week that President Bush sent American soldiers to Iraq “to get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement.” Reversing his position that he would not apologize, Stark offered an apology to the President, his family, and the American troops that took offense to his remarks — and narrowly avoided a censure from his colleagues:

Republicans failed in an effort Tuesday to have the House censure Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., who said in a congressional speech last week that U.S. troops are being sent to Iraq “to get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement.”
Without debate, the House voted 196-173 to kill the proposal to censure Stark for “his despicable conduct.” The vote was mostly along party lines, with all 168 Republicans on hand supporting the measure offered by Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio. Five Democrats joined them. …
Stark initially refused to apologize despite condemnations from GOP lawmakers and others. Moments after Tuesday’s vote, however, he addressed the House to apologize to his colleagues, “to the president and his family,” and to U.S. troops offended by his remarks.
“I hope that with this apology I will become as insignificant as I should be” in the continuing debates over Iraq and health care, he said. Boehner was among those who applauded.

Stark has a long history of inflammatory remarks on the House floor, and a very short history of apologies following them. Given some of the criticism from the ranks of his own party, Stark may have had to cut a deal for an apology to keep Republicans from successfully censuring him. Five Democrats voted for the measure anyway, and Nancy Pelosi publicly chastised him for the remarks shortly after the S-CHIP debate.
It seems rather sad that 196 members of Congress couldn’t bring themselves to follow Pelosi’s lead. One wonders what kind of remarks they would find bad enough to bring censure, a rather weak response in any case.

23 thoughts on “Stark Backs Down, Apologizes, Avoids Censure”

  1. Democrats will condemn Limbaugh for something he didn’t say but not Stark for something he did say.

  2. First he said he wasn’t sorry but days later he is.
    Reminds me of Kerry.
    I wonder what his cult following will think of him now?

  3. “One wonders what kind of remarks they would find bad enough to bring censure, a rather weak response in any case.”
    George Bush saying, “I’ll have the BLT; hold the mayo.”

  4. How do cretins like Stark get elected and re-elected??? I remember I was certain Patty Murray was doomed when she went on about how Osama is loved because of all those daycare centers he has built, but I guess I just underestimated the willingness of the average registered Democrat to accept stark raving madness.

  5. Please read the entire “apology” from Stark and when you do, read it a second time (you can find a portion at Michele Malkin’s site http://michellemalkin.com/2007/10/23/gop-moves-to-censure-pete-starkravingmad/). What you will find is that it is a carefully worded “non apologetic apology” thick with insincerity. Pelosi’s “chastisement” was equally carefully worded (or should I say “scripted”) in order to try to not truly be a proper chastisement for such over-the-top, inappropriate comments. You’ll also note the little-to-no coverage of either Pelosi’s “chastisement” and Stark’s “apology” by the liberal MSM.
    Both Stark and Pelosi are still pandering to the MoveOn, uber liberal, over-the-top extremists who have obviously intimidated them into capitulation.

  6. Stark forced to apologize! Look for the left to seethe.

    (h\t: Hot Air) Censure measure fails, forces Pelosi toward Stark.
    Awesome. Boehner introduced a censure resolution this morning knowing that the Democrats would have to kill it and symbolically line up on Stark’s side, which they did. That was enough…

  7. The House is relete with examples, current and historical, of stupid comments made by stupid representatives. It really is a representative body and most of its members are not going to worry about missing an appointment with their dissertation committee.

  8. So did B-! Bomber, Bob Dornan. The voters through him out, though.
    Stark?
    Well, not all bad marriages end in divorce.
    For those in congress (like Murtha, too), they own a lock on their district.
    As to what’s going on, now, I doubt most Americans are too concerned with name-calling.
    Stark’s story was diminished by Rush Limbaugh’s win. And, where is that win, now? Yesterday’s news.
    Even if you don’t hear the voices that are out there in America’s mainstream, lots of people know Larry Craig’s “intent” was phony.
    Congress was never a happy place! It’s a place where elected officials come to fight for their special interests.
    On the other hand, the one vote that counts nationally, is the presidential ticket.
    Political theater, when things go awry, is like watching an act, live, where something happens on stage, that’s totally unexpected. This means, the best bits are “off script.” And, can’t be predicted.

  9. Stark Apologizes

    That didn’t have to be so hard: California Democratic liberal-progressive loudmouth Fortney “Pete” Stark of California finally apologized for his more than abusive comments, which impugned the president’s and Congress’ motives and dishonored our troops…

  10. essucht asks:
    “How do cretins like Stark get elected and re-elected???”
    Uh, just look at his constituents! He was originally elected to the 8th District, AKA
    Berkeley, which has more Leftist nuts and squirrels per square mile than my oak tree forest out back has.
    Due to redistricting, Beserkeley is no longer part of his district, but much of the East Bay to the south still is (he’s 13th District now).

  11. This is what you think Congress should be doing? Censuring Pete Stark? Not dealing with the deficit, the war, health insurance, the mortgage crisis, the environment — but censuring Pete Stark?
    Jesus wept.

  12. Bombadil writes:
    “This is what you think Congress should be doing? Censuring Pete Stark? Not dealing with the deficit, the war, health insurance, the mortgage crisis, the environment — but censuring Pete Stark?”
    You may think this censure action bad, but just think, they could be legislating! I would prefer most anything to that. The other things you mention would only be made worse by congressional involvement. No man’s liberty, property or assets are safe when congress is in session.

  13. It seems rather sad that 196 members of Congress couldn’t bring themselves to follow Pelosi’s lead. One wonders what kind of remarks they would find bad enough to bring censure, a rather weak response in any case.~ Capt Ed
    Does the phrase “General Betrayus” ring a bell? Anyone? No? Well, back to passing more war funding then. Can’t get behind in that.

  14. Quote of the Day

    I hope that with this apology I will become as insignificant as I should be – Rep. Pete Stark, (D-CA), in apologizing for his previous remarks on President Bush. Kudos to the Representative in apologizing. Sadly, his party won’t be

  15. Gosh, I hate to make predictions. When the light of day shows up, most people’s “predictions” prove a waste of time.
    The future is very complex. Though we do see glimpses, or possibilities.
    Here?
    I think Nancy Pelosi comes off as the lead fire truck in a Keystone’s Cop cartoon.
    If you were casting about for a street fighter, however, would you pick grandma?
    Here’s my prediction.
    Given how ugly heavyweight bouts in American politics gets … (No referee. Going for “below the belt” allowed.) Up ahead … I see a few possibiliites.
    Including the fact that the Clinton’s are experts at 50/50. They know how to pull out wins on the smallest of margins. (Gore, in 2000, couldn’t. Kerry? Don’t make me laugh. He didn’t even come close.)
    But what if 2000 spells it for the way it works? People go to the polls and they hold their noses?
    What if to set the stage, grandma goes and pushes out an impeachment hearing of George Bush?
    NO! I’m not saying these are her plans.
    Keep reality in check.
    I’m just saying “she could do this.”
    As to her knife skills, she’s better than any “moil” I’ve ever seen. He’s the religous Jewish guy who cuts of the foreskin on little male babies. When he’s through? For life, a man’s penis wears a helmet.
    What can Pelosi do when she gets on a roll?
    WHere’s Bush now?
    How is he building up the republican party?
    My guess is that he isn’t.
    My guess is that Baker, Botts and Moneybags, are in charge. And, they’re cleaning house!
    Just like the republicans in congress. Up to their snouts in pork. Waiting for their commissions.
    You didn’t know? Commission checks. Comes before the interests of buyers and sellers. Repeatedly.
    So, while predictions are useless. I don’t think Nancy Pelosi is without the ability to carry off something the republicans have become afraid to touch.
    By this I mean, that if Hillary gets in? Nada on the impeachment stuff.
    Yeah. American politics. Quite a show.
    By the way, I’ve never even heard of Redstate.
    Are people wasting energy over that? You’re gonna make a sale? Or is this just a bunch of frightened salesmen, talking to each other?

  16. Bombadil:
    “This is what you think Congress should be doing? Censuring Pete Stark? Not dealing with the deficit, the war, health insurance, the mortgage crisis, the environment — but censuring Pete Stark?”
    You mean the shrinking deficit, the improving war, the vetoed health insurance expansion, the Feds’ job, or getting even farther ahead of the Kyoto-signers?
    I’ll deal with those one by one:
    The deficit has been getting smaller for a while now, but you’ll conveniently notice no mention of that by the newspapers. Here’s a link to some numbers:
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/10/20071011-1.html
    And the media’s “reaction”:
    http://www.bizzyblog.com/2007/10/14/newspapers-of-record-fail-to-record-federal-fiscal-year-deficit-news/
    As for the war, you’re right that they should deal with it, but they did manage to have some recriminations in the government as Captain Ed noted in another post. But really, news coming from the government about the war is bad news (unless it’s “Funding for war approved”). I’d rather listen to news about Iraq, especially from these sources:
    http://www.michaeltotten.com/
    http://www.michaelyon-online.com/
    They’re on the ground, in Iraq, reporting what they see rather than what gets distorted by refraction through the mainstream. Though I’d be cautious about Mr Yon’s reports of “success in Iraq” because it’s still pretty messy, he’s got good stuff there. And Totten, as far as I can tell, is on the money.
    On to health insurance. Didn’t we just spend a couple of weeks talking about it? That’s where the whole Stark thing came from. The SCHIP expansion the Dems supported, well, I didn’t think it was a good plan. If you want me to expound at (slightly more) length on that, I will, but in the interest of conciseness I’ll just give the short version of my argument against:
    1) the whole Frosts-Wilkerson thing was a turnoff, esp. considering they were irrelevant to the EXPANSION plan
    2) Bush was willing to offer $5 billion and beyond in expansion, and the Dems didn’t argue much for why the additional $30 billion was needed
    3) The plan for funding the expansion – cigarette taxes – is laughable and regressive
    4) IMHO it’d be much better to make private insurance cheaper by, for example, removing all the mandatory preventative-care coverage (which shouldn’t exist, but is mandatory in some places like NYC and used by insurance companies in my area whether or not it’s mandatory), thus making it available to the people the expansion is intended for and more. Of course, hoping the policies I dream up are implemented in Congress is like asking pie to fly, but still.
    On the economy: Do you want Congress making economic policy? In the words of PJ O’Rourke, “when politicians control what gets bought and sold, the first things to be bought and sold will be politicians.” The most political decision I’d want to see is action from the Federal Reserve, because it’s their job to handle stuff like that. Congress? Nah. Oh, and the economy is holding its own despite the “crisis”, though again you won’t hear this from the mainstream media.
    On the environment: We’re ahead of European countries who signed the Kyoto Treaty in meeting the Kyoto terms. The most useful thing I could see the government doing is pressing China on its environmental policy (except that wouldn’t be useful because China wouldn’t listen) since China is having some REAL environmental issues, or subsidizing research/development for environment-friendly tech.
    Finally, it’s not a zero-sum game. Just because Congress spends some time censuring Pete Stark for his slanderous comments doesn’t mean they can’t do all that other stuff too.
    I hope that answered your question. I happen to basically agree with Steve-o – best to let Congress debate about useless stuff, because when they get to legislating important stuff, Baby Jesus screws his face up to bawl.

  17. “I hope that with this apology I will become as insignificant as I should be”
    Well, at least Stark found something Conservatives and he can agree on.
    But then, Congressman, you have always been insignificant…

  18. Any idea how long Glen Beck is going to stay on CNN after telling the wildfire victims that its their fault because they hate America?
    He is now trying to pass this off as a joke but I just spoke to a far better known CNN anchor who was spitting feathers over it. He certainly does not consider the remarks a joke.
    CNNs plan to compete with Fox by putting on second tier right wingers was always pretty lame. Can’t see why any right winger would want to watch a second stringer like Beck or a washed up no-hoper like Tucker Carlson when they can watch the real thing on Fox News. If you were going to make the strategy work you would have to go completely the other way and create a far left tabloid. MSNBC’s strategy of alternating left and right partisans is even stranger.
    Given that his ratings are rubbish anyway this is probably the last we will see of him. Beck is consistently last in the news rankings.

  19. Err.. Ed?
    Weren’t you just complaining last week about the do nothing House?
    I guess if having standards is a good thing, then having double standards is twice as good right?

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