Politics at its most exalted

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., said the following about a Republican colleague.
Incredulously, the gentleman from Florida, who represents thousands of Medicare beneficiaries, as do I, is supportive of a plan that would increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries ... unbelievable from a member from South Florida
The Associated Press reports the emailed response from tea party freshman Rep. Allen West, R-Fla.
You are the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up. Focus on your own congressional district. You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!
His subject line: "Unprofessional and Inappropriate Sophomoric Behavior from Wasserman-Schultz."
Before rising to public office, West was famous as a military commander who had an Iraqi police officer beaten and mock executed during an interrogation [NYT]. Despite admitting that he knew that "the method I used was not right," he escaped with a $5,000 fine and was permitted to retire without facing the ignominy of a court-martial and discharge. Here is an earlier email of his (quoted in the same New York Times story linked above) describing Florida, or, perhaps, something else entirely:
In an e-mail message, Colonel West described a recent motorcycle trip through affluent Palm Beach County, with its smells of ''fresh air, green grass, ocean salt air and suntan oils,'' and then back through a depressed, poor strip where the air reeked of ''garbage, smoke and alcohol.'' ''Sorry for the pontification,'' he added, ''but you must understand. I lived in a sort of 'Matrix' world for 22 years and now I have been unplugged.''


  1. I sure-as-shit hope I live in a Matrix world, one that will cease to exist once I’m unplugged, and the tea-baggers will be revealed as programming errors.

    1. I sure-as-shit hope I live in a Matrix world, one that will cease to exist once I’m unplugged, and the tea-baggers will be revealed as programming errors.

      I think we’re already unplugged (coping and dealing with reality) while the tea baggers are unknowingly wandering around the Matrix (right wing & corporatist media FUD) as we speak.

      When tea baggers get unplugged by decent society after destroying the Matrix, the corporatists will find them completely useless and discard the tea baggers (to their shock, dismay and peril).

      As I posited before… the only question is… for the baggers that survive… will we lift them back up to reality afterwards or leave them discarded? Some of the nastier ones, I’m not so sure. And, can their brains even handle the truth without having complete nervous breakdowns from an overload of cognitive dissonance?

      If it wasn’t for the fact that these baggers are bringing the rest of society down, I’d say just let them live a lie if it makes them happy… but the problem is… we are ALL going down the shitter, and fast.

  2. And from that rather relavant Wikipedia article:

    In psychopathology, projection is an especially commonly used defense mechanism in people with certain personality disorders: Patients with paranoid personalities, for example, use projection as a primary defense because it allows them to disavow unpleasant feelings and attribute them to others.

    Indeed, all the primitive defenses, such as splitting, [projection] and projective identification, are commonly connected with primitively organized personalities, such as:

    – Borderline personality disorder
    – Narcissistic personality disorder
    – Antisocial personality disorder
    – Psychopathy

  3. The only thing that disappoints me about DWS’s note is that she misused “incredulously”. (She was incredulous, or taking that pose; his behavior would more correctly have been called incredible, but in fact was all too credible.)

    AW’s note doesn’t disappoint me, because frankly the current batch of Republicans is already a dead loss and there isn’t much they could do to make me think less of them. Though they do keep trying.

  4. I’m thinking this thin-skinned fellow is going to be awfully easy to troll.

  5. “You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!”

    It is worth noting the misogyny in his method for deciding whom deserves respect. (And the person-hood of women.)

    Can’t Ms. Wasserman-Shultz just get the “person” kind of respect and we can leave the “lady-respect” in the 1950s?!

    1. I wish someone would challenge him to a duel. Those are still legal in South Florida, right?

      1. I doubt you really want someone to challenge him to a duel. After all, unless you can find a professional duelist I suspect he’ll win. (and I doubt that him being vindicated is what you really want)

        -abs isn’t sure he actually disapproves of dueling, but he does want to note for the record that the winner of a duel is only 50% to be the party you would like it to be (and those are don’t even begin to factor in prior experience in killing people while they try to kill you)

    2. >Can’t Ms. Wasserman-Shultz just get the “person” kind of respect and we can leave the “lady-respect” in the 1950s?!

      No. The only way she could get respect as a “person” would be for her to change her status from “human” to “corporation”…

  6. So Allen West is using the “it’s none of your business” defense on the subject of Federal Legislation? Wow. I mean the rest of it is also weird and extreme, but saying Medicare is ‘none of your business?

    1. Actually, I think it’s pretty much a textbook example of the “Nuh-uh! You are! Shut up!” argument so thoroughly examined in Aristotle’s “Rhetoric”.

  7. This from a guy who intimidated his opponent into not leaving his house. The most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the US House of Representatives has in fact used intimidation as a tool most of his life.

    He’s also a remarkable classist, using the poor against the poor. He sees gentrification as a good thing and blames economic inequality on personal will. While he presses for Banksters to get rich on our dime, he jockeys around with the very thugs who perpetuate Meth Culture in Florida.

    Some piece of work.

  8. I don’t even know what to say. I am generally in favor of thoughtful, reasoned debates, but both sides seem like fight-baiting. For the record I’m a die hard librul, but I think there is a lot of Derp to spread around on this one.

    1. Seriously? Wasserman makes a garden-variety criticism of West’s position on an issue (totally fair game in politics) and West responds with an off-kilter personal attack and you think that “there is a lot of Derp to spread around on this one”?

      I would also like to point out that Wasserman’s criticism is also fairly obvious too. I mean, West represents a district with a significant elderly population and he’s attacking Medicare. Of course, someone is going to point that out.

      1. It should also be fair to point out that the old farts who voted for this clown deserve whatever they get. Of course, if he follows the usual GOP modus operandi, West will ensure that the geezers who voted for him will be exempt from the policies he’s backing.

        Just as an aside, I wonder how this guy treats his wife.

  9. seems we have the evidence to disprove Heinlein’s claim from Starship Troopers about public service…

  10. Okay, so he’s a reflexively abusive jerk. What I found striking about Allen West’s response is that it completely fails to engage with Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s remarks. She makes a good if simple point. He comes back at her with a random handful of generic insults. The things he says have no connection to the issues.

    Does this mean that Allen West can’t figure out on his own how to write a short paragraph on a basic policy question?

    1. Does this mean that Allen West can’t figure out on his own how to write a short paragraph on a basic policy question?

      Perhaps he’s basically insane? Sure seems that way.

      1. I think it’s more like he *has no* good answer, so he’s rolling with the “How dare you criticize me, commie!” defense.

  11. Not surprised. Colonel West once conspired with the Klingons to kill the Federation president at Camp Khitomer.

  12. Now, if he’d taken her to task for misusing “incredulously” where she should have used “incredibly” I would have to agree with him. As it is though I have to concur with other commenters who have pointed out he is a filthy pus bag.

  13. That’s the direction right-wing populist movements seem to take in more places.

    Here in The Netherlands, members of Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party (*tee-hee*) have so far been charged with assaulting bartenders when they wouldn’t pour them another drink, headbutting people in the face, as well as other criminal facts, such as financial fraud and illegal gun ownership. Generally speaking, they’re putting the ‘ass’ back in ‘harassment’.

    Meanwhile, Wilders and his peeps seem to take the same overly affronted tone at the slightest provocation, acting aggressively hurt and childish in reaction to anything said against them.

    (but I guess that rhetoric is what made them one of the biggest political parties right now)

    1. More or less the same pattern is played out in Norway. Latest was a high up in the party being found to have been secretly recording young men showering…

  14. So…we are only making fun of the response? Surely, the goad had some context…or does it even matter?!?!

    C’mon folks – IT’s POLITICS! IT’s ALL A PILE OF CRAP!

    Congrats @Beschizza for stirring up the honey pot…we all needed a fresh smelling reminder of the DC way. Stick w/ the tech stuff… please.

    1. You’re new around here, aren’t you?

      This kind of material shows up on BB both because of its social content (‘Look! Elected reps. don’t argue any better than internet flamers!’) and because of its politics vs. reason aspect (a politician supporting policies that seem to hurt his constituents). Either one could be enough to get one of the various editors to take an interest; having both in one article is pretty nearly a certainty.

      1. Look! Elected reps. don’t argue any better than internet flamers!

        Well, I certainly would have disemvoweled Rep. West’s statement.

  15. At this point in time, I am convinced that the Tea Party could put up an incontinent badger as a candidate and people would still vote for him if he had the stars-n-stripes on him somewhere.

    The advantage of Democracy is that everyone gets a vote.
    The disadvantage of Democracy is that everyone gets a vote.

    1. Democracy is a nice concept, spoiled only by the Representatives and the people that voted for them

    2. You laugh, but Bitey McStooly has some very nuanced views on the economy, foreign policy, and extending medicare to cover badger-sized anal corks.

    3. The advantage of Democracy is that everyone gets a vote.
      The disadvantage of Democracy is that everyone gets a vote.

      Unfortunately everyone does *not* get a vote in this country, if we did, the right wing would have been sunk a long time ago.

      1. How do you figure that? What segment of population is being held back from voting? (2 year olds?) It’s just an asinine statement that there would be ‘no right wing’ if everyone got to vote.

        @RuthlessRuben – this is true – which is why we are a democratic republic. True ‘democracy’ can turn into mob rule.

        @Daemon – this is true.

        1. Also it’s funny that you were concern trolling and crying crocodile tears about bickering in your first post, and then immediately follow it up by calling my statement (which was not in response to you) “asinine”.

          1. I didn’t call anything trolling – just that so many initial posts are rather irrelevant.

            I am aware you’re statement wasn’t in response to me – but being in a public forum – I saw it and called it like it is: asinine.

          2. You misunderstand, *you* were “concern trolling” with your feigned concern for bickering about politics.

            I guess my last post got deleted because I gave you too many links to show you that we are in fact not a one person one vote democracy, and that the right wing would lose a lot elections if we were, but I’m sure you know how to use the google:

            #electoralcollege #constitutionalrepublic

        2. What segment of population is being held back from voting? (2 year olds?)

          Prisoners. Many of whom are in for minor drug crimes.

          1. I doubt that is what he meant – but its a good point. I have made many posts that I completely disagree with the criminalization of drugs and the incarceration of non-violent offenders.

    4. And that is why state democracy is a crap system.

      It’s useful for making, say, community decisions, non profit organization decisions, etc. To help guide and direct actions of organizations whose legitimacy is clear and unambiguous.

      But the idea that people, through the democratic process, can delegate rights and powers none of them individually have is absurd.

  16. It’s beyond politics – it’s BULLYING, plain and simple. That’s their approach for getting what they want, and it has been for several years now.

  17. Are we expecting civility from The Tea Party?

    Recrimination, Indignation and Righteous Anger are the default modes of the entire movement.

    And with a woefully uneducated electorate that is both furious and frightened…the prospect of more vicious and vindictive despots elected to public office is guaranteed.

    What’s that line..’In a Democracy, you get the leaders you deserve’?

    1. “Recrimination, Indignation and Righteous Anger are the default modes of the entire Internet”

      Fixed it for you.

  18. Don’t make the mistake of believing that the politicians whose stated (though likely not actually cared about) politics you agree with are “The good ones.”

    They’re not.

    Most all politicians are scum.

    Think of a national or state-level politicians that you know personally.

    Or one for whom you have a friends that had the misfortune of being around and/or working for directly. (And no, not your Koolaid drinking, true-believer friends. )

    High level politicians are universally scum.

    They’re bad people.

    And politics didn’t make them that way.

    They’re in politics at that level because they are bad people.

    Make no mistake, they’re bad people when they are in office, but they are usually already bad people before they get elected.

  19. Republicans in the house are wasting so much time passing extremist measures they know will fail. It’s all geared towards re-election, and none of it is geared towards actually helping the country. I really, really hope they fail. How can you possibly think that you can pass every extremist thing you want, without a single compromise? You don’t control the senate or the white house.

    1. “Republicans in the house are wasting so much time passing extremist measures they know will fail.”

      Oh, I don’t think they believe any of their efforts will fail. Quite the contrary, they are trying to make drastic, lasting changes. Look what they’re doing to Wisconsin.

  20. A. If something doesn’t interest you, why are you:
    1. Reading it
    2. Commenting on it
    3. Whining about other people talking about it

    It’s a big internet out there, you’re not going to read it all.

    I don’t read things about fonts, coding, or bananas. I used to ingnore all the ukelele related posts, but have found myself grooving on them. YMMV.

    If no one was interested in it, there wouldn’t be thirty some other comments on it. If you don’t know the context, educate yourself. Or if you feel Rob is stacking the deck and you have information that substantiates Congressman West’s statement, educate us. Sorry to vent, but this is a pet peeve.

  21. At face value, you would think that rep. Wasserman Shultz’s initial comment was benign and rep. West’s reply was over the top and out of line. What I see in her response is what the dems have been playing throughout this entire debt ceiling debate, scare tactics with social security and medicare recipients. They don’t want to acknowledge the elephant in the room that the system is bankrupt and needs to be retooled in order for anyone 45 and younger to ever see a dime of either benefit.

    1. If you mean Social Security, the system is not bankrupt. In fact, Social Security doesn’t need to tap into its trust fund for better than 20 years (at the soonest).

      Medicare, on the other hand, is in trouble, but mostly because the US has the most expensive, poorly run, and inefficient health care system on the planet. Obama tried to do something to fix it and got a hysterical reaction from the right very similar to West’s screeching about Wasserman Shultz’s perfectly accurate and civil assertion.

      1. I’ll be the first to agree with you that our current system needs some serious re-tuning. I’m in the health insurance industry and see first hand how tough it can be to get approved let alone the high costs of the healthcare itself. There are many different solutions, I think Pres Obama just chose the worst path. Make the insurance industry the scapegoat for high medical costs without addressing the need for serious tort reform. Lumping unreasonable requirements on private insurers that will eventually drive them out of business which will pave the way for a single payer system, the govt being that single payer. That is his ultimate goal.

    2. It seems as if your comment to some extent disproves its own case. If Rep. West had replied in the way you did, with an argument about Medicare, rather than with an variant of, “Shut up! And slut cooties!” we wouldn’t be having this discussion. He did, and we are. Providing a real argument for him later doesn’t quite work.

      Oh, and by the way? If he’d actually bothered to pay attention to what she said, she’d already mentioned her own district as he later demanded. Wow, Rep. West is just a big bag of fail here in several different ways.

    3. While you are correct to point out that spending on entitlements has to be within our ability to pay, you add in the common fallacy that the pay-as-you go system of Social Security was ever designed to anything but “bankrupt”.

      You pay for my retirement, then my kids pay for yours.


    4. There’s a certain contingent of current politicians who are deliberately trying to destroy social security and medicare. You don’t really believe that they give a shit if any generation after the Boomers has access to what they’ve been paying in, do you?

      Don’t expect a refund on your contributios, either. It ain’t happening.

  22. What gwailo_joe said…except for the last line. We deserve much better representation than we’re getting.

  23. supportive of a plan that would increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries Those costs must, and will, increase.

    Sooner, through a reform crafted to preserve the program.

    Or later, when the program grinds to an actuarial halt.

  24. Why is it so many political posts on BB are nothing more than irrelevant bickering and punditry? Rarely is there a real issue with real discussion or something thought provoking. Too often it is just silly non-news crap one expects to see on a slow news day.

  25. One more illustration of why it’s really not a good idea to count ‘willingness and skill at shooting brown people’ as a top credential for who gets to lead us, as we have so often
    done for the last couple hundred years.

    The only military types who are worth anything are those who have had the courage to speak out at the vast insanity they have witnesses.

    Most of the rest are basically violent welfare queens in costumes.

    1. Plenty of sane good ex-military types around. Congressman West is not part of that subset. One of the good wise sane ones, my Dad, taught me an important maxim of the Army Corp of Engineers:
      Assumption is the mother of fuck-up. When I was younger, he actually said “foul-up”. But don’t rush to judgement. Ike was the first to warn about “the military industrial complex”. I know a lot of vets, and all of them would be offended and repulsed by your description. It doesn’t describe them.

      1. Of course you are right, any generalizations are bound to be wrong. I have, of course, met good and decent ex-military types.

        I think a good rule of thumb is this: those good and decent military types seem to run as far away from the government sphere as possible.

        I have a couple vet friends developing new products, working in sales, etc. They are GREAT guys!

        I also know a couple who became cops. They are really pretty miserable people.

        The problem is, a good propoertion of the military come out with the very same ‘entitlement mentality’ that conservatives always complain about..they think they should always be able to have some sort of job on the public payroll, because they went off to the desert it is their right. They didn’t have any job skills, so they joined the military out of high school; now they expect to glide on that through life. Thus, these people are totally stuck in life, they haven’t changed or progressed since I’ve known them. It’s generally a highly pathological and unhealthy mindset, that others are obligated to take care of you, wherever it takes root.

  26. I love this as it hits the nail on the head,

    “A spokesman for Wasserman Schultz, Jonathan Beeton, said in an email of his own: “I don’t think that Congressman West is upset at the congresswoman, but rather with the fact that she highlighted that he and other Republicans are once again trying to balance the budget on the backs of seniors, children and the middle class. … The truth hurts.”

  27. While I don’t really like this guy either, Rob removed the context of the situation. She made pointed comments about this guy AFTER he had left the floor of the House.

    In this context, “If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face…” makes a LOT more sense.

    There is enough to dislike about Tea Party members. We don’t need to selectively edit news about them.

  28. That’s exactly how my brother acts. I already had him pegged for the projection diagnosis..

  29. And also stupid. If he’d been clever, he would have focused on the fact that she used the word, “incredulously,” incorrectly. She meant, “incredibly.”

    1. I believe you can under the right conditions. INAL but if you can keep yourself out of trouble there is a recourse of having your record expunged… except child molesters… which should…. and then… then never see… again because without those pieces attached they can’t really vote anyway.

      While I am against the continued criminalization of many drugs, I would also say that violent or damaging crimes committed while under the influence should more than likely (with the addendum for something unforeseen to be at the discretion of the judge) the maximum be mandatory. Which leads into another issue which is on the spot retrieval of urine/blood/DNA from suspects. The problem being things like testifying against yourself… do they put the blood/urine samples out if they turn out to not be drug related? Do we keep them from the cops and using this as a dangerous tool for abuse. It would be far to easy for them to just fabricate the smallest infraction then say… “well, you might have j-walked while intoxicated” or “you allowed your dog to poop on Mr. Blah’s yard and didn’t return to pick it up, we need to test if you allowed you dog to poop on private property while high!!!” Then while they test for the bogus charge they now have his DNA on file and the next thing we know… the National Mandatory DNA Database is making cops use even less of the tools on their belt due to human’s nature to cut repetitive corners soon we have this being overly abused.. Baaah,

      Dang repercussions for awesomeness.

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