|Rep. Eric Swalwell urging Republicans on the House floor in September
to give up their “ideological wet dream” of railroading Obamacare.
CONGRESS//15TH DISTRICT/ANALYSIS | House Representatives have a knack for placing themselves outside of the morass of Washington while maintaining membership in the same body. The talent is apparently easy to learn. After just a year in Congress, Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell has employed this out-of-body rhetorical maneuver often in recent weeks by charging Tea Party obstructionists with shutting down the government.
Swalwell even charged them with having nocturnal ejaculations over hard-right insistence to bring down Obamacare. While his comments against the right play off a deep dissatisfaction with the government shutdown and indications Americans blame Republicans for the fiscal uncertainty, Swalwell’s rhetoric doesn’t jibe with nearly every comment he has made during his short career when it relates to bipartisanship.
“I strive to work with Republicans–I think you have to right now if we’re going to solve a lot of these problems,” Swalwell said last year. He later added his view of government was derived from former East Bay Rep. Ellen Tauscher. Swalwell was once an unpaid intern for Tauscher. “That’s where I really learned how being a moderate–being bipartisan–can be effective.”
This belief in working with Republicans is not new. In fact, it’s a major underpinning of Swalwell’s platform for governing. Except, with Republicans clearly being cast as villains in the shut down of the federal government there is more than a whiff of hypocrisy in his logic. It’s a complete reversal of his pledge to fix government. It’s a box he was destined to paint himself into. With Republicans clearly acting unreasonable, the noble act of compromise in Swalwell’s world means condoning their actions, which in turn, hurts the country and the district.
This criticism of Swalwell’s conceit to work with the other side and foster a new era of conciliation in Washington with a skewed premise the right wing aims to govern rationally is nothing new. It was one of the major fears of liberals last year who viewed the district as far more blue than Swalwell pledged to represent. Many saw it as highfalutin and naïve. When, in fact, has House Republicans been willing to fair compromise? Nevertheless, a politician changing his colors at a moment’s notice is quite common.
At a town hall meeting Sunday afternoon in Dublin, Swalwell again shed his bipartisan dream world . “Speaker Boehner is all that stands in the way of ending the damaging shutdown,” said Swalwell. “Enough is enough with the political games.” The problem, though, is everybody is playing a game within a game.