Many of us already knew that Alan Grayson was a fearless champion against the rich and powerful. His notoriety this week for comments about the Republican plan for health care therefore did not come as a shock. His floor speech and his unwillingness to back down afterward have set a new standard for how Democrats deal with Republican hissy fits, where they get all offended by some comment or another and demand an apology and ritual humiliation. Their goal is to control the narrative and put any Democratic use of moral language out of the bounds of acceptable political debate, a standard that doesn't apply to them.
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Grayson DEMOLISHED this tactic. And he did so by continuing to tell the truth and never backing down. And by the end of the week, many were joining him. Yes, they said: why does the GOP have no plan for health care? Why have they allowed thousands to die for a lack of coverage for years without articulating any strategy to deal with the crisis? Why would Republicans try to make an example of Grayson when their members have been using vile language for months, slandering the health care legislation with lies about "death panels" and rationing and people "being put to death by their government," in the words of Virginia Foxx? How could Republicans think there is no crisis in health care when so many are dying?
In a second, this has become the narrative of the week on health care. And Alan Grayson led the way. He just might lead the Congress to a better bill.
The other positive from Grayson's splash on the national scene this week is that he just moved to the top of every rollodex in the traditional media. He has a higher profile for the issues he has been working on in Congress, mostly the great story of our time, the destruction of the economic system by financial and corporate elites. Grayson has been a leader in the movement to audit the Federal Reserve and bring accountability to Wall Street. He has also seized on the right's phony ACORN gambit by extending their bill to defund companies who have committed fraud and applying it to government contractors like weapons producers, who have consistently defrauded the government for decades.
When the House of Representatives went after federal funding for the community-organizing group ACORN last week, the bill as written also affected "any organization" that had been involved in a wide range of fraudulent activity and other bad behavior.
On Friday, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) inserted into the "legislative history" language spelling out that including all fraudulent organizations was, in fact, the intent of the Congress.
Meanwhile, he has been asking citizens to suggest specific companies which would be targeted by the anti-fraud language and provide evidence for the claim. The list has grown several pages long. The names of those organizations will be submitted into the congressional record next week.
"The purpose of this bill is to cleanse federal contracting and grant-making, completely and permanently. The purpose is to put an end to the invidious practice of rewarding those who steal taxpayer money by giving them more taxpayer money," writes Grayson. "The bill imposes, and is intended to impose, a corporate death penalty on contractors who fall within the scope of its prohibitions."
Brave New Films celebrates Alan Grayson's contribution to the debate, and for showing the Democratic Party how to fight, with this video.
Let Rep. Grayson know you have his back. And join the I heart Grayson Facebook group. He really deserves the attention he's getting.