(Cross-posted at Daily Kos.)
Chris Shays (CT-04) has been in office for two long (too long) decades.
The other day, he gave an interview to a major national website. And guess who he told them had exhibited the “worst behavior” he’s seen in Congress over all those years?
“Let me just say that they were deceitful… They weren’t cooperative. And they were arrogant. And they were like, ‘How dare you question us,’ kind of attitude. And I want you to know I don’t take offense at that. There are certain things as a member of Congress I don’t like. But personally, I was just stunned by it because I haven’t see worse behavior in anyone in my 20 years in public life in Congress.“
No, not war profiteers. Or those responsible for getting us into the war. Or Bush Administration officials who refuse to answer any questions, and refuse to abide by Congressional subpoenas. (Or, say, a Congressman scuffling with a Capitol Hill police officer.)
No, none of those people exhibited worse behavior than… baseball players on steroids:
Christopher Shays describes himself as a casual baseball fan. He’s the kind of guy who tracks the Red Sox and Yankees hardball rivalry from a distance but would never be caught dissecting box scores in the morning’s Washington Post. Actually, after coming face-to-face with some of the leading characters — namely a handful of players, commissioner Bud Selig and union leader Don Fehr — during Congressional steroid hearings in 2005, the Connecticut lawmaker has a somewhat more jaded perspective on the game.
Rep. Shays smiles thinking back on the likes of Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro parading before the House Committee on Government Reform — the sense of entitlement they carried on their broad shoulders, the way they dismissed allegations of widespread steroid use in the game, even though committee members suspected otherwise….
“But personally, I was just stunned by it because I haven’t see worse behavior in anyone in my 20 years in public life in Congress.”
It’s astounding that any rational public official would consider Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro to be more worthy of contempt or criticism than, say, Eric Prince of Blackwater:
But there is actually a long list of Bush Administration officials and despicable characters who have come before Shays who have demonstrably exhibited much worse “behavior”… only to have Shays defend and praise them:
- He told Condi Rice that he was “happy” that she “resisted the temptation” to actually answer questions from other committee members. (Dana Milbank described the end of the hearing: “[Shays] hurried to intercept Rice and gave her a hug. The secretary clasped his hand tenderly as she departed.”)
- He told Donald Rumsfeld that he was “particularly grateful” that he “called [the Democrats’] bluff” by merely showing up to the hearing, and refused to press him to answer any tough questions.
- He told GSA Administrator Lurita Doan, accused of politicizing her office, that he thought she was a “remarkable person” and stated he thought that “when an African American happens to be a Republican… she is treated differently” by his colleagues.
Pardon my French, but are you fucking kidding me? Shays has served with colleagues who’ve stolen from the public treasury, taken bribes, committed rape and sexual assault, and otherwise made complete asses of themselves. And the worst behavior he’s seen in 20 years was when a bunch of baseball people were (correctly) indignant about Congress shoving its nose in internal baseball matters over which had no legitimate authority or jurisdiction?
“Forget about billions of dollars wasted, the constitution shredded, and an executive out of control. It’s baseball players that we need to really worry about.”
So… Want to encourage real oversight, of real issues?
When: Saturday December 15 from 7 to 10PM ET
Where: Murphy’s Law, 239 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport, CT
Online at: http://www.myleftnutmeg.com
(Disclosure: I am proud to be consulting for Jim Himes.)