I said earlier that I would cut PA-08 rep Mikey Fitzpatrick some slack on the matter of his swearing-in screwup with fellow Repug Pete Sessions. What I meant was that I would give him the benefit of the doubt that there was a schedule conflict that prevented him from attending the ceremony in person.
I did not mean to absolve him of the idiocy of thinking that he could put his hand up at his fundraiser/party/whatever it was and swear himself in remotely over the TV (again, he’s a lawyer and not a “newbie,” having served a term already). I also did not mean to absolve him of the stupidity of reading the 25th Amendment at that dopey little show Boehner and company made of reading the Constitution and mispronouncing "president pro tempore," which I noted previously (and yes, I say “dopey” because they didn’t read the whole thing, with all members attending).
So that brings us to this story in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer…
In an interview late Friday, Fitzpatrick defended the Wednesday-afternoon reception that distracted him from his swearing-in duty, saying it was in no way, shape, or form a campaign fund-raiser, as Democrats have alleged.Well, as I already noted about Fitzpatrick’s attempt at a remote swearing-in, he definitely knows about behavior that is “quite a stretch.”
House ethics officials "gave us very specific instructions that campaign funds could be used for that purpose," Fitzpatrick said. "The reception was open to anybody. . . . There was no charge. It was not a fund-raiser, and it is quite a stretch to suggest otherwise."
Meanwhile, Crooks and Liars tells us the following (here)…
Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (Pa.) was attending a celebration in the Capitol Visitor Center with supporters that his campaign bused in from Pennsylvania. A spokesman for Fitzpatrick said the event, titled “Fitzpatrick’s Swearing-in Celebration,” was not a fundraiser and that no contributions were collected.Indeed (Remember the supposed scandal of Patrick Murphy's book deal? You know, the one for which Murphy did absolutely nothing wrong?)
“There was a bus available for people that wanted to ride it down,” spokesman Darren Smith said.
Fitzpatrick’s campaign website listed a $30 fee for transportation costs for the swearing-in festivities. In addition, more than 200 people who did not ride the buses attended the event for free, according to Smith.
CVC space may not be used for “political activities, including political campaign, political party, or political action committees activities,” according to a copy of rules for using CVC rooms.
Oh, okay! Big misunderstanding, right? Even though a screenshot of his webpage (which has since been taken down) offers check boxes for larger amounts and included the line: "Please note that your donation will appear on your credit card statement as "Campaign Financial Svcs."
And far be it from me to point out that we have no way of knowing if people were actually buying "bus seats" -- or just making a donation under cover of a bus ride they had no plans to take. (Which is an old political trick used to pad the take.)
My philosophy? When in doubt, reverse the parties and treat them the same way they'd treat us. If this was a Democrat, Fitzpatrick would be pilloried 24/7 on Fox.
Now, back to the shooting in Arizona, I give you the following from Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik (and kudos to him for his courage – the right-wing umbrage will begin momentarily)…
…and there are a few songs I had in my head as this all played out, and this is one of them…
…and Keith Olbermann had, I thought, some good words on all of this tonight.
Now, I don’t mean to absolve myself here either. As I’ve said, I only advocate violence against one person at this site, and that is bin Laden (maybe that’s wrong, but that’s where I’m coming from). I don’t personally advocate violence against anyone else, nor should I, and I don’t read people who do (unless I'm critiquing them, in which case I don't take them seriously). And sorry, I don’t know how else to say this, but I just don’t see this anti-government, veiled-threats-of-violence crap from anyone on the left (though, as Eugene Robinson noted tonight on the special edition of “Countdown,” there was definitely a time in this country when the left was very scary, with the legitimate Black Panther Party, the Weather Underground, etc.).
But that doesn’t mean I can’t do more to “lift all boats” either.
I know I indulge in name-calling at this site, typically using the terms “wingnut,” “numbskull,” “nematode,” and other stuff that is pretty bland compared to what people of my political persuasion are routinely called at right-wing sites and comment threads, even at supposedly “respectable” publications like the Bucks County Courier Times. But I’ll try to do better, I promise (I just changed a link at this site which, despite popup text to the contrary, could imply violence against a person or organization).
I’ll keep trying to reach out, in the spirit of the example set by Congresswoman Giffords. I’ll try to be more tolerant, though I must tell you that that’s very tough. But it’s the least we can do to honor her at this time if for no other reason.
Finally, sorry again if this is self-righteous, but I’ve asked at this site what it’s going to take before someone puts a stop to the hateful language that, in some yet-to-be-completely-determined measure (at least concerning today), could potentially lead to violence.
It should never have come to this, but let’s hope and pray that we now have our answer.
Update 1/9/11: As the Philadelphia Daily News blog "High Cheese" by David Murphy (about baseball) tells us here, the 9-year-old shooting victim not only was born on 9/11, but she was the granddaughter of former Phillies manager Dallas Green (our prayers and sympathies go out to all of the victims, and probably for ourselves a bit also).
(2011 has gotten off to an absolutely horrific start - I wish we had a "do-over.")