The Hypocrisy of Being Earnest

representative craig lee resignsFrom time to time, a news day happens that just doesn’t allow an observer to keep a straight face. February 9, 2011 was one of those days. Tea Bag Republicans commanded the floor all day long. They gave us a much clearer picture of the values and policies that John Boehner, Jim deMint, and Eric Cantor are pursuing – and of how those ‘values’ compare with the campaign promises they made last fall.

Most people focused on Tea Bag Republican Chris Lee from New York, who announced that he was resigning from Congress. He resigned after a woman he had been hitting on gave the press a shirtless picture and a bunch of randy emails Representative Lee had emailed to her.

At first, Rep. Lee said that the press coverage was the result of some liberal hacking his computer, which he discovered on January 21. This story lasted until it was revealed that he hadn’t actually emailed the shirtless photo until January 24, three days after he had caught, and sealed, the computer security breach. So shirtless Chris Lee became the latest spokesmodel for the Republican devotion to truth.
After the lie about the computer hacking blew up, people read the emails. Rep. Lee tried to hook up with the lady in question by telling her that he was a divorced, 39-year-old lobbyist. In fact, he’s 46, not 39. He’s married, not divorced. And he’s a congressman, obedient to Lobbyists, perhaps. But not a lobbyist. Three statements, three lies! Shouldn’t there be a penalty for that?

Three strikes and he’s out. But out how? Out of Congress and into that Lobbying job he bragged about. Moving from taking the cash to passing out the cash. Which job do you think will pay him more? At least he’s living up to the Republican value of getting as much for one’s self as possible.

Of course the whole lying about being divorced, and cheating on his wife and child positions him to be the latest Republican spokesmodel for family values. In the footsteps of Newt Gingrich, Mark Sanford and Larry Craig, Lee can only hope for Glenn Beck to say that this is all a plot by the Muslim Brotherhood. There’s just no limit to what them Arabs will do.

While people snicker at this latest proof that there is nothing so embarrassing that an elected Republican won’t try it, too many will overlook Rep. Lee’s legislative efforts. One of the bills he proudly co-sponsored was the Brewer’s Excise and Economic Relief Act. This bill was designed to cut the excise tax that brewers pay on every gallon they brew.
Because in the depth of a depression, what we need is vastly profitable brewers paying even less taxes than they have been paying. According to Rep. Lee, if we’re going to be in a depression, where kids can’t get afterschool jobs, at least they should have cheap beer to buy before piling into cars to cruise the streets, complaining and expressing resentment.

Did you notice any brewers passing those savings on to you, in the form of lower prices?
Representative Lee wasn’t the only Tea Bagger making news on February 9. The Dallas, Texas Star-Telegram newspaper reported that Parents in the nearby Mansfield School District have declared war on the Pentagon and our troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan!

It seems that them gov’mint burrocrats up there in Washington D.C. decided that Umerika don’t have enough Arabic language speakers. Some black kook up there, named Condoleezza Rice, said that Amurikan security is at risk on account of we ain’t got enuf people who can speak to the dang Arabs. So they came up with a plan to use tax dollars, our tax money to teach school children how to talk Arabic. They started giving out grants to schools to develop Arabic language classes.

Local mother, Cindy Henderson didn’t like that very much. She was quoted by the Star-Telegram as wanting people to remember 9-11. She thinks that we ought to be killing Arabs, not talking to them. She joined with a bunch of other Mansfield District illiterati to gang up on the school board to stop the program.

The group just didn’t care that the Pentagon has complained that our fighting forces are hampered and even put at risk by having too few Arabic speakers who can work in intelligence functions, coordinate with the colonial governments we set up, and give orders to the locals whose homes, husbands and sons we seize. When Tea Bag “education activist” Donna Garner was asked about opposing a pro-Pentagon program that was started by George Bush and Condi Rice, she said that she didn’t care who started it, she opposes it. She doesn’t care if it saves the lives of any U.S. troops – she’s a’gin it.

I shouldn’t try to ridicule Donna Garner. She’s from Texas, where the official Republican Party platform has long had a plank calling for the end of education. Education is just bad, and as a Tea Bag “education activist” it is part of Donna Garner’s mission to stamp out learnin’.

But it isn’t just education, generally, that has Donna Garner spooked. She’s lost her Christian faith. The Star-Telegram quoted her: “I don’t see how they can teach the culture without getting into the Islamic belief system — we don’t want that taught.” Simply stated, she’s terrified that if the schools start to teach children about Islam, they will lose their faith in Christianity. She doesn’t believe that Christian faith can stand up to comparison with Islam.

And we all might well ask why shouldn’t Donna Garner feel that way? Look at what the Republicans have promised and then delivered on since the Tea Bag “revolution” last November:

  • Promised: Fiscal discipline and budget tightening. Delivered: Massive subsidies to Billionaires.
  • Promised: Family Values. Delivered: Legislation to redefine “rape” to eliminate incest and statutory rape from the crime. Too many conservative Christians were upset that only Catholic priests got to diddle children. So John Boehner is pushing changes that will let any father get drunk and force himself on his daughters. Hey, it worked for Lot, didn’t it? {Genesis, Ch.19} And even Moses was the child of incest. {Genesis 6:20} If it was good enough for Moses, it should be good enough for America.
  • Promised: Stricter adherence to the Constitution. Delivered: Tea Bag Senator Rand Paul has started a campaign to honor the 1st Amendment by placing further restrictions on the rights of workers to organize and speak out against corporate crimes.
  • Promised: Consistency and protection of life. Delivered: Legislation to give citizenship to every fetus. Then, on February 9, the announcement of plans to cut infant and child nutrition and health care funding. Citizenship, yes. Basic survival as a citizen, NO.

The announcement about cutting nutrition and healthcare for children was part of a larger budget plan. While gutting safety net spending, Republican leadership announced that they want more war spending – more welfare to the corporations that provide soldiers with body armor that won’t stop bullets – more high tech gadgets that soak up contract dollars but don’t actually sail or fly or fight.

Tom HallSo Tea Baggers like Donna Garner, who worked for change, are now learning that what their politicians and their ministers sold them were just lies, to get corporate claws back on the checkbook. No wonder they are losing their faith.

Progressives disappointed with Obama’s swing to the middle might do well to keep their eyes open as Boehner, Cantor and deMint march right over the edge of any cliff they can find. Those who started losing faith in Obama, might remember to have faith that Republicans can be as effective at internecine warfare as any Democrat. At this rate, 2012 doesn’t look so gloomy.

Tom Hall

Published by the LA Progressive on February 12, 2011
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About Tom Hall

Tom Hall is a family lawyer in West Los Angeles. He is from Boston, and was raised in Friends Meeting at Cambridge (Quakers) to think that religion was a progressive force. During the Vietnam War, he organized draft counseling centers and worked with groups training people in techniques for disciplined nonviolent demonstrating. After the war, he became just another yuppie working to make a comfortable life. The Bush administration shocked him back into social concerns. Now he’s working to see that the Obama administration lives up to its progressive promises. Tom can be reached at ProgBlog@aol.com