Members of the House of Representatives, who sparked the government shutdown through fervent opposition to the Affordable Care Act, used the opening day of the Values Voter Summit as an opportunity to rouse right-wing citizens from across the country on the idea that Democrats — Senator Harry Reid and President Obama in particular — are to blame for the government shutdown.
“The President and Harry Reid should not have shut this government down,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) during an afternoon question and answer session with Congressmen. “This has been coming for a long time … Democrats were waiting on a shutdown they could blame on Republicans.”
A 17-year-old member of the audience from Ohio approached the mic and asked why the shutdown hasn’t come to an end. “Once the President and Harry Reid see that the American public have seen through their smoke screen, that they are intentionally making americans suffer … you will see the shutdown come to an end overnight,” Gohmert said.
But efforts to show the impact of the shutdown on regular Americans — such as tales of veterans visiting memorials and getting turned away — were what brought and kept the crowd on their feet.
“The reason that veterans could not visit their memorials is because the President ordered the Congressional Budget Office to tell the National Park Service to make life miserable for our veterans,” said Gary Bauer, president of American Values, a nonprofit organization with a mission to “unite the American people around the vision of our Founding Fathers.”
Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.), told her version of the story of how veterans were let into the World War II Memorial on the first day of the shutdown. “Six hundred Americans took the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday,” Bachmann said, holding up police tape as the crowd cheered. “Who would have ever thought you’d see a barrier in front of the Lincoln memorial?”
Bachmann also told the crowd that she’s proud of the House leadership for standing up for the values of the American people.
“This is the time to fight. We finally have the will to stand up and take on this oppressive President,” Bachmann said. “We’re supposed to be ashamed that this fight is about Obamacare. I’m not.”