Washington Watch: Political shenanigans

Why are there so many more horses’ asses than there are horses?

When I was young, my dad was a traveling salesman and he’d bring us little gifts when he returned home at the end of the week. One I particularly recall was a little wooden postcard that asked, “Why are there so many more horses’ asses than there are horses?”
I’m reminded of it as I observe the political shenanigans around us.
Some outrage me. Like MSNBC, which condones bigotry by bringing us Pat Buchanan, a valiant defender of accused Nazi war criminals and the man who praised Hitler as a man of “great courage, a soldier’s soldier.”
Pat’s latest complaint is there are too many Jews on the Supreme Court and it doesn’t need another (Elena Kagan), who would raise the number to three. However, Pat doesn’t seem bothered that all six other justices are Catholics – like him. He’s also not that happy that American voters have elected so many Jews to Congress.
Then there’s Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee. He complains that Kagan lacks judicial experience. Could that be because he and other Republicans on the Judiciary Committee blocked her nomination by president Bill Clinton to the Appellate Court? Could it be because he forgot that several other distinguished justices also lacked bench time (Louis Brandeis, Felix Frankfurter, Charles Evans Hughes, Earl Warren, William Rehnquist and fellow Alabaman Hugo Black), or is it because Sessions’s own federal court nomination was rejected because of his racial views, including calling the NAACP and other civil rights organizations “un-American or communist”?
There’s a special place in the stable for all those “family values” politicians who apparently have a hard time valuing their own families.
Newt Gingrich was speaker of the House and leading the impeachment of Bill Clinton while having an affair with his own staffer, and his would-be successor, Rep. Bob Livingston (R-Louisiana), resigned when his own infidelities were exposed.
Democrat Rep. Eric Massa (New York) quit after finding himself in a ticklish situation, accused of sexual harassment of male staffers.
Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana), whose name popped up in the investigation of the D.C. Madam and whose proclivities reportedly earned him the nickname “diaper Dave,” admitted he had a “very serious sin in my past,” but he stayed in and is running for reelection.
THE LATEST is the once and possibly future congressman from Staten Island, Vito Fossella (R), who left Congress after a DUI arrest led to revelations that he had two families. He’s running again.
Last week, Rep. Mark Souter (R-Indiana), an Evangelical advocate of abstinence education, quit after being forced to confess he was having an affair with a married staffer. What went wrong? He blamed his downfall on “the poisonous environment of Washington, D.C.”
Hating Washington is this year’s campaign theme in both parties, with politicians spending tens of millions of dollars, some out of their own pockets (to get a job that pays $174,000 a year) so they can join the Washington establishment they detest so much.
Also running to keep their seats are those critics of big government who voted against the stimulus bill and vilified those who voted for it – and then went home to take credit for the money the law was sending to their recession-hit districts.
The Gulf oil disaster has exposed a lot of sliminess, starting with all those conservative advocates of shrinking government and less regulation who complain the loudest that the government isn’t doing enough to plug the leak.
Rush Limbaugh says the Sierra Club should pay for the cleanup because it is behind excessive regulation that “forced” BP to drill in such deep water.
But, hey, this whole thing is no big deal, says Rand Paul, the Republican Senate candidate in Kentucky. The administration’s criticism of BP is “un-American” and it’s wrong to play the “blame game,” he said, because “sometimes accidents happen.”
Some others in the stable include Connecticut Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat who tried to dismiss his false claims of Vietnam service as “a few misplaced words”; Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Alabama) who said he has a list of 17 known socialists in the Congress; Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minnesota), who wants her colleagues investigated for un-American activities; and freshman Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Florida), who compared putting Republicans back in control of Congress to making al-Qaida members airline pilots.
Rand Paul, who’s had trouble deciding where he stands on the 1964 Civil Rights Act, said he opposes discrimination but government shouldn’t be telling the owners of private businesses who they can serve; dust off the old “No blacks, no Jews” signs, the South shall rise again.