Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tea Party Scalawags and Swabs

Consider a pack of jackasses. Now, consider the United States Congress. But then, I repeat myself.

--Variously attributed, Mark Twain, Sam Rayburn,  Hampton Mad Dog Democrat, 

Mad Dog admits defeat. He had intended to patiently read through the biographies of each of the 50 Tea Party members of the current 113th Congress's House of Representatives, in an effort to understand these people, from whence they come, what they think, how they have come to their beliefs. 

But, after the first ten, he has been laid low. They are just so boring. Their lives follow a pattern of early defeat, usually in the setting of failure to distinguish themselves in school, but undaunted, they seek out whatever school will accept them, and usually find comfort in a religious college, only to be drawn to a strong, evangelical teacher, who tells them they are not unworthy; they are merely mistreated and disrespected by arrogant elitists, for no reason other than the elitists are atheistic, narrow minded, left leaning snobs. They find a salaried job, often after failing in the free market economy, but though they have sucked at the government or big corporate teat, they rail against big government. 

They love guns, and consider the right to own an AK-47 one of the most important rights an American citizen can claim; they own guns and the guns make them feel big and powerful. They loathe abortion, think it's murder, plain and simple. They don't like foreigners much, and see in them only evil possibilities. They believe global warming is a liberal lie, as is evolution, and the teaching of evolution in our godless schools is a  sin against God, who created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th. They are fine with strip searching the low life who get arrested on the streets--until their own daughters gets hauled off to the station house for rolling through a stop sign. They are very offended by homosexuality, same sex marriage, which they consider a threat and affront to heterosexual marriage, and they like the idea of stuffing a transducer up the vaginas of women seeking abortions to do a fetal sonogram. They want government out of every place but, apparently, they are willing to make an exception for vaginas. They love the idea of drilling, baby drilling, off the coasts and in wildlife habitats, and in Alaska and anywhere where the bufallo roam. They like burning good black American coal, and they hate the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education. (They have a pretty deep problem with education, as will be seen. They like it local, small, religious and preferably orthodox.)

As a prototype of this ilk, Michele Bachmann sets the mold. At the other end of the spectrum, there is the wily Joe Barton, of Texas.

Like many Tea Party acolytes, Ms. Bachmann comes from a large family, raised with 9 children, a melded family following a divorce. She has, in her adult life, done foster care for 23 children in addition to her own five children.  Barton also likes family large--with four children and two step children.  Big families. Go figure.

They also like local schools. Typically, they do not seek out a college far from home, where competition may be stiff and ideas new. Bachman went to Winona State U, Barton to Texas A&M, where a lot of students dress in soldier uniforms and the biggest project on campus every year is the building of a huge bonfire of logs which can be seen from outer space and possibly, from the great wall of China.

There is often a little quirk in the personal history which gives one pause, makes you say, "What was that all about?" In Bachmann's case, it was that year after she graduated from Anoka High and hopped a plane for Israel and worked on a kibbutz.
Dream on that one. She must have looked fetching in those khaki shorts, but she came back and went to college, like a more or less normal Midwestern girl.

Mr. Barton's little quirk has to do with his outrage about light bulbs. Seems he is against the new light bulbs. Considers this effort at energy conservation emblematic of government over reaching. "People don't want Congress dictating what light fixtures they can use." Apparently, this is the 21st century version of fluoridated water. Don't let the government put something in your body which might fight cavities, and don't let them in your home with funky light bulbs.

Then there is the mentor thing: Bachmann's was John Eidsmoe, who wrote, Christianity and the Constitution, an inspirational history which shows these United States were founded as a Christian theocracy and should return to its Christian roots.
In Barton's case, it was James B. Edwards, Secretary of Energy, from whom Barton learned about oil companies and how much money you could make by learning to love them.

Bachmann, like many of her Tea Party colleagues, did not stop with a college degree, but sought higher degrees at really sketchy places, in her case, the O.W. School of Law, of the Oral Roberts University.  She was a member of its first graduating class and it was there she received the truth about the Christian nature of the Constitution. She then married and moved to Minnesota, where with her husband she ran a Christian counseling center. (Mad Dog can only imagine the conversations in this center. Probably a lot of What Would Jesus Do endings.)

Then there is the wheeler-dealer aspect of the personality: Bachmann's husband became a Swiss citizen which afforded automatic citizenship for Michele. This is another one of those things, like the year on the kibbutz, which just sets your imagination soaring. What could they be thinking? When the black helicopters swoop in, the Bachmanns are off to the happy valleys and soaring mountain passes. Or, is it more about Swiss bank accounts?  After a long career as an oil company consultant, Barton accused President Obama of trying to "shakedown" British Petroleum over the Gulf Oil spill. Although Mad Dog is not privy to the details, he was impressed Mr. Barton made Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)'s Most Corrupt list. Now, there's a distinction. This resulted, at least in part, from Mr. Barton's failure to disclose his interest in a gas company, which was purchased for him by a fan. The $100,000 which came Mr. Barton's way apparently had nothing to do with his chairmanship of the House's Energy Subcommittee. As a good family man, he has hired his wife, daughter and mother and paid them, using campaign funds, salaries totaling almost $80,000. So, perhaps, Mr. Barton earned his position on the CREW list, fair and square.

But, for Mad Dog's money, the best story of all, occurred after a candidate's debate, when Ms. Bachmann averred the HPV vaccine causes  mental retardation. She knew this, she said, because a woman outside the auditorium had stopped her and told her so.

There’s a woman who came up crying to me tonight after the debate. She said her daughter was given that vaccine,” Bachmann said on Fox News. “She told me her daughter suffered mental retardation as a result. There are very dangerous consequences.”
Bachmann repeated the allegation on the “Today Show” this morning, adding, “It’s very clear that crony capitalism could have likely been the cause, because the governor's former chief of staff was the chief lobbyist for this drug company.”
This is a story, sublime on so many levels, Mad Dog just cannot let go of it.  It warms the cold cockles of Mad Dog's black heart. He has looked for it on Youtube and elsewhere, but cannot find it.  It is just so, Michele.  Of course, Ms. Bachmann was scandalized on two accounts: 1. "The Human Tragedy"  account--think of that poor mother and her retarded child.  2. What this story tells us about the perfidy of Rick Perry, who as governor of Texas had a rare moment of moral clarity and decided protecting Texas girls and boys against the HPV virus, which causes cervical cancer and genital warts, is a worthy goal of government.  But, of course, as Ms. Bachmann immediately appreciated, he had no virtuous motivations at all--he was just trying to cash in with the company who made the vaccine.

What really was bothering Ms. Bachmann, is the titilation of the sexual undertones of this story. We are talking about a sexually transmitted disease here, and the connection between sex and mental retardation via a vaccine. I mean, Mr. Perry was just trying to vaccinate young boys and girls so they would start thinking about sex at a young age, and then, very possibly, start engaging in sex in the fields, on the prairies, in the kibbutzim of Texas.  Oh, it just gets Ms. Bachmann red in the face. 


  1. Mad Dog,
    Ms. Bachmann's insightful statement regarding vaccines and retardation deserves commendation not only for it's ability to "warm the cold cockles of Mad Dog's black heart" but also because it has truly revolutionized the field of scientific discovery. Science no longer needs to be restrained by years of clinical trials and study -it now has Bachmann's rigorous new route of discovery the "Someone told me in the Parking Lot" method. The opportunities for speedy scientific breakthroughs are truly limitless. God only knows what could be discovered simply by conversing in line at Burger King. That woman is amazing! Thank you for reminding us of her triumphs.

  2. Maud,

    Yes, it's true. I now eavesdrop on conversations in the parking lot outside Burger King and try to incorporate what I learn into my own thinking and practice.
    The House of Representatives represents the lowest common denominator, but in this country, that is pretty low.

    Mad Dog