Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Weekly Jackass Number Twelve: Sheila Jackson Lee

Sheila Jackson Lee, for those who don't know, represents the Eighteenth Congressional District of Texas in the U.S. House. Lee is the consummate publicity seeker, ready to hype any perceived outrage, no matter how ridiculous, to the extreme, and never missing a chance to get in front of the cameras. Her official homepage is a salute to narcissism, consisting of Lee standing in front of various podiums and adopting the cause of the day. It's also a tribute to the decline of writing skills - read this and tell me if you have the slightest idea what it means:
...the Congresswoman has periodically enumerated the deficiencies of the State of Texas under the President�s leadership and can now share a detailed history of the weaknesses of the current federal Administration. Her current focus in the 108th Congress is to promote the characteristics of a prospective Administration necessary to serve the nation.
Or try this passage:
...she has distinguished herself as a staunch defender of the Constitution, civil rights and juvenile justice, protection of America's health needs, gun safety and responsibility, economic empowerment for low and middle income America. In addition, the Congresswoman has been out-spoken [sic] on human rights issues.
Narcissism and politics go somewhat hand in hand, though, so let's starting making the case for Jackass status.:
  • In 2003, Lee complained that the names of hurricanes were too "lily white" (how can a name be white? Is Lee stereotyping? Surely not...), and demanded that more 'black' names be used.
  • On a visit to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lee, a member of the House Science Committee's space subcommittee, asked if the Mars Pathfinder had taken an image of the flag Neil Armstrong planted there in 1969!
  • Earlier this year, Lee attempted to explain away Nancy Pelosi's referral to the United States as an occupying force in Iraq:

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's use of the term "occupying force" to describe the U.S. military presence in Iraq was not a "harsh term," said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.), who attempted to redefine the terminology.

    "I believe that we can, if you will, change "occupying's" definition to being collaborators -- collaborators with the Iraqi people and moving them toward their own self-government," Jackson Lee told Cybercast News Service on Wednesday night at the U.S. Capitol following President Bush's State of the Union address.

  • When Trent Lott uttered his ill-advised, but relatively mild, endorsement of Strom Thurmond, Lee reacted hysterically: it was a "...shocking, if you will piercing, voice through the fabric of black America".
The primary documentary evidence that Sheila Jackson Lee (who, by they way, is one of the 55 members of the Progressive Caucus - ye gads!) is, in fact, a most worthy Weekly Jackass recepient, is the remarkable speech she gave on December 8, 2004, on the subject of the voting 'irregularities' in Ohio. I say remarkable because rarely has a politician so callously thrown out accusation after accusation while offering no supporting evidence (remind you of anyone else in the news?) Some of the juicy bits:
Many of our guests today were on the scene in Florida to uncover the fraud and we are all fortunate to have him here in Ohio continuing to fight for justice. Many people have likely tried to discourage or obstruct these guests and other advocates on more than a few occasions, but they have proven that they will not flee and that they will not relent until all the votes are counted in the 88 counties of Ohio and for that I applaud them.

It�s unfortunate that more Americans are not appalled at the situation we see here in Ohio. It is plain to see that the Republican Party at the local, state and national level is doing everything it can to ensure that all the votes are not counted. They have tried to fool the public, they have ridiculed the opposition, and when that has failed they have tried to bully those who still stand in there way. Never have we seen a political party so afraid to do the most elemental of tasks which is the counting of each and every ballot��.sorry I take that back, never in the last four years have we seen the Republican Party so afraid for every vote to be counted. While many people will trot out the line that the Election Day results in Ohio have already been determined, the actual truth is that too many questions surround this election. On election night when the race in Ohio was called for Bush, there were still over a quarter million ballots that had yet to be counted, votes which we now know are in overwhelmingly Democratic precincts.

...the sad truth in all of this, the dark secret, which we know all too well, is that with the hundreds of thousands of votes that have gone uncounted or discarded, the great number of them are from African-American voters. Sadly, this is no coincidence; this is just business as usual for the Republican Party establishment. The Civil Rights movement was the culmination of the efforts of so many people in our history who had to endure cruelty and humiliation, but still never relented in their quest for equality. However, while we achieved great gains by the passage of the Civil Rights Act and we have made great strides since, the truth is that we have not yet achieved true equality. We saw it here again in Ohio when the Republican Party announced a plan to challenge "fraudulent" voters on a mass basis, its [sic] hardly surprising that the voters they planned to challenge were overwhelmingly African American.
Left unsaid by Lee is what 'fraud' was uncovered in Florida, other than the idiocy of the Democratic election officials who designed the notorious 'butterfly' ballots. She left little else unsaid, though, making it plain that she considers George Bush an illegitimate president and the Republican party to be a racist organization that wins elections by voter intimidation and massive fraud. Totally ignored by Lee is the fact that the party of Lincoln overwhelmingly supported the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964, ensuring its passage, the same Civil Rights Act that she uses to reproach the Republicans in her speech. Had it been up to the Democratic establishment of the time, particulary southern Democrats afraid of losing their seats, the Act would have never been signed. Lee also disingenously suggests the Ohio election was called before the polls closed, but a closer reading reveals her sleight of hand - she mentions the quarter of million votes yet to be counted, but how many people fell for the implication? (Not to mention the audacity, when it was in Florida that this very same problem actually did occur, to the detriment of the Republicans, in 2000).

Needless to say, if you've read this far, you won't be surprised to know that Lee is one of the most liberal members of Congress, nor will it shock you to know that she opposed the Iraqi War. I guess it stands to reason that she extended the hand of friendship to a nation that sponsors terrorism, as well. But, as Charles at Little Green Footballs says: See! He's a father! He has children! How can he be a terrorist?

Congrats to my fellow Texan and Weekly Jackass Number Twelve, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.

No comments: