Washington Times

August 2, 2006



Goodlatte and the horse-slaughter bill

In the editorial "Stop horsing around" (July 25), Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican is shown for what he is: a man who will stop at nothing to derail the efforts to ban horse slaughter in this country. The feelings of his own constituents, the very people he was elected to represent, don't matter to Mr. Goodlatte.

Mr. Goodlatte made this clear at a town hall meeting in June 2004 when he was confronted by angry horse owners who were rightfully upset with his position on H.R. 503, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (AHSPA). When a horse owner asked him, "What do we have to do to get you to stop blocking this bill?" Mr. Goodlatte defiantly replied, "You must convince me, and you have not done so." Shocked, another person stood and asked, "What kind of a democracy do we have if one man can block the will of the whole country?" Mr. Goodlatte's response was: "This isn't a democracy; it is a republic."

It would seem Mr. Goodlatte's definition of the word republic differs from John Adams' view, given more than 200 years ago: "A republic is a government whose sovereignty is vested in more than one person."

Fortunately the sponsors of the AHSPA rewrote the bill so it would fall under a different committee, essentially taking control of the issue away from Mr. Goodlatte and the Agriculture Committee, which he chairs.

However, he just won't let this issue go. On Thursday, the Agriculture Committee had a one-sided review of this bill, allowing no testimony in support of H.R. 503. Among those who spoke against the bill was former Agriculture Committee Ranking minority member Charles Stenholm, who spouted his usual unfounded rhetoric about "unwanted horses." I listened to their discussion of this bill, and I have to say, the side supporting horse slaughter sounded like a bunch of petulant children who aren't getting their way.

I'll make it clear: I applaud Republican leadership for allowing this issue out to the full House of Representatives for an up-or-down vote. I also applaud the sponsors of H.R. 503 and their 203 bipartisan cosponsors.

However, people like Mr. Goodlatte and his blatant disregard for due process are an embarrassment to the Republican party and should be a concern for Republicans, especially in an election year. Perhaps they should consider censoring Mr. Goodlatte before he does more damage.

Malibu, Calif.