Saturday, January 02, 2010

House of Horrors

I’ve been remiss in overlooking 2009’s most outrageous members of Congress:
  1. Topping the list of psycho House members is Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann.
    She gave Glenn Beck a run for Lunatic of the Year honors, if only she hadn’t confined her lunacy mostly to the House. Some of Michelle’s greatest hits:
    • Called for an investigation of Democratic members of Congress with “anti-American views,” which she accused President Obama of harboring;
    • Linked Democrats to the Swine Flu (she did not say H1N1 was a laboratory virus, but let the conspiracy hang out there to curry favor with Glenn Beck loons);
    • Vowed not to participate in the Census –- “Why does the government need our phone numbers?” –- Um, Michelle, you are “the government” . . . not only that, but when you complete your tax returns, or sign up for Medicare, or the VA, or apply for a government loan or grant, you typically include your phone number;
    • Joined Sarah Palin in making the “death panels” allegation viral;
    • Called school-based health clinics “sex clinics” and treated the public to an X-rated teen confessional of alleged promiscuity on the hallowed well of Congress. Goes down as “One of the Great Moments in Congressional History”;
    • Said global warming was “all voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax”;
    • Argued for the teaching of “Intelligent Design,” aka Creationism, in schools, and I don’t mean in religion class;
    • Promised to “slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this [healthcare] doesn’t pass.”
    Too bad Michelle didn’t follow through with her promise.
  2. Joe (I LIE!) Wilson. No member of Congress, not one, not during the Civil War, the Great Depression, the world wars, the “Red Scare,” the Cold War, not one has ever disrespected a sitting President addressing Congress the way Joe Wilson did. Is it just a coincidence that it was our first African American president and Wilson is from a Southern state? ‘Nuff said.
  3. John (“the Preamble to the Constitution said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident . . .”) Boehner. Known for holding irrelevant press conferences, for his dour expression, like he just drank a garlic milkshake, and for a perpetual tan that is said to have inspired a provision in the Senate healthcare bill taxing tanning salons. The problem is, as President Obama joked, Boehner’s is a fake spray-on tan.
  4. Bart (the Crusader) Stupak. DINO par excellence, the C Street cult “brother” is using healthcare reform to try to repeal the law of the land and drive women back to the days of back-alley abortions. Grilled by constituents at a town hall, the stealth Michigan Congressman had a hard time explaining why he consorts with right wing Republicans at the C street flophouse for discreet encounters, and contributed money to the gubernatorial campaign of fellow “Family brother” Zack Wamp, a Tennessee Republican. Not that it fazes Stupak. One thing all “Family” members, the chosen ones, have in common is utter contempt for their constituents. That’s why you’ll never see them resigning in the wake of the most egregious ethical and sexual scandals.
  5. Virginia (“We [the Republicans] were the people who passed the civil rights bills back in the 60s.”) Foxx. Then she had the audacity to add: “They [the Democrats] love to engage in revisionist history.” Hahaha . . . For pure jaw-dropping chutzpah, this lying reactionary Congresswoman takes the prize. Only in America, THE STOOPID where the vast majority of the population are totally clueless about their country’s recent history could such an outrageous pack of lies go by unnoticed. Or noticed, but not understood for what it is: A LIE. I call it the Sarah Palin syndrome. (It could easily be called the Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh symdromes, too.) Joseph Goebbels would be proud and amazed.
  6. John (global warming is good for the world’s plants) Shimkus. Claiming Al Gore and “enviro extremists” are alarming people with inconvenient truths, the Illinois Congressman reduces his energy policy to one illogical phrase: “If drilling is good, drilling and mining is better.” His bat-shit crazy argument for increased carbon emissions is that because plants need carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, limiting our man-made carbon dioxide emissions would actually kill the world's plants. “It's plant food ... So if we decrease the use of carbon dioxide, are we not taking away plant food from the atmosphere? ... So all our good intentions could be for naught. In fact, we could be doing just the opposite of what the people who want to save the world are saying.”
  7. Charlie (fuggeabouit) Rangel. Charlie’s a great and colorful member of Congress, but he’s also from one of the safest districts in New York (re-elected with 88% of the vote) and a product of the rough-and-tumble world of backroom deals in Noo Yawk politics. He’s a throwback. Charlie’s troubles stem from failure to disclose rental property, campaign law violations, and ownership of a beachfront villa in the Dominican Republic whose rental income he has failed to disclose over a number of years. Might be politics as usual for local political bosses, but a definite no-no for the Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Even if he has a different definition of “ways and means” than the rest of us. (Note: the list of corrupt and ethically-challenged House members [mostly Republican] is long and tawdry, but this is about those members who “distinguished” themselves for truly outrageous headline-grabbing. Charlie qualifies as the most colorful of the ethically-challenged.)
  8. Anh Joseph (“Louisianans need real options for primary care, for mental health care, and for expanded health care for seniors and children.”) Cao. You got it. The only Republican to vote for the House healthcare bill, the first Vietnamese American elected to Congress, whose election was hailed as “a major blow against the reputation of Louisiana as a corrupt state,” Cao replaced convicted Democratic politico William Jefferson who was caught with a load of dough stuffed in his refrigerator. Cao also voted for the stimulus bill. As the only member of the Party of “NO” to vote “AYE” for President Obama’s major initiatives, Cao deserves a place of honor in the list of most outrageous members of the House. Sometimes things have a way of working out for the best in a bipartisan way.
  9. Alan (“Captain Cojones”) Grayson. When the Florida Democrat took to the House floor to denounce the Republicans’ healthcare non-plan as “1. Don’t Get Sick” and “2. If you get sick, DIE QUICKLY,” he ignited a firestorm that still rages through the Internet and right wing media. For the first time the wingnuts were at a loss for words, never expecting a Democrat -- who usually plays fair, gets the facts right and naively expects same from Republicans, believes in the better angels of people’s nature, and turns both cheeks when Republicans attack below the belt –- to strike back so hard at them. Progressives all over the Internet stood up and applauded Captain Cojones –- At last, a Democrat with balls! -– and reveled in the knowledge that the wingnuts can dish it out, but they can’t take it. In fact, they’re cowards, wimps, weak-kneed and jelly-chinned. Some old Democrats huffed about the new Democratic members not observing the niceties of Congress. They just don’t get it. Democrats from coast-to-coast stood up and cheered when Alan Grayson exposed the Republican fraud on healthcare –- they have no plan -– Senator Al Franken told Joe Lieberman to sit down and shut up, and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse slammed the wingnuts to kingdom come. Hail the fighting Dems (the Three Musketeers, new members ALL): A rarity in Congress and therefore worthy of most outrageous member honors . . . in the BEST way.
  10. Peter (Who said politics, much less fundraising, stops at the water’s edge?) Hoekstra. The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, responsible for leaking classified briefings to embarrass Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is now using the foiled terrorist attack on a flight bound for Detroit to raise money for his Ohio gubernatorial campaign: “If you agree that we need a Governor who will stand up the Obama/Pelosi efforts to weaken our security please make a most generous contribution of $25, $50, $100 or even $250 to my campaign,” he wrote in a fundraising letter. Nice. Stay classy, Republicans.
Edit: This is a partial list.

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