Worst Persons for March 7, 2011
The bronze: the Ohio State Senate President, Republican Tom Niehaus. While the nation is focused on Wisconsin's attack on the rights of government employees to get the same collective bargaining rights as civilian employees, Ohio is doing it too – and perhaps in a bloodier fashion. State Senator Bill Seitz, a Republican from Cincinnati who opposed the bill that would crush those rights, was thrown off the Senate Insurance, Commerce, and Labor Committee, half an hour before the committee was to vote on it.
It is bad enough that Niehaus was willing to purge a fellow Republican who didn't want to go along with the Koch Brothers-inspired assault on Unions. But here's the coup-de-grace: the victimized Republican, Seitz, and his leader, Niehaus, have been good friends and roommates for a decade. And if friendship doesn't stop the Republican puppets from completing their masters' tasks, what chance does common sense, or justice?
The silver goes to the great public servant, defender of White Supremacists, and borderline totalitarian, Arizona State Senate leader Russell Pearce. The Jackboot who brought us SB 1070 is now behind more legislation that would offer a license plate bearing a "Don't Tread Me" flag complete with the coiled rattlesnake logo that opponents of Democracy have stolen from America's heritage of Freedom.
If the premise were not disturbing enough, the tags (and has the term "Vanity Plates" ever been more literally true?) would cost the buyer a premium of $25. $8 would go to the State of Arizona, and $17 would go to the organization benefiting from them: a committee of five individuals linked to various Tea Parties. Pearce wrapped himself, naturally, in the nearest sacred American document:
"I know the Constitution is something that not all folks have read down here. And that's what this plate is about, about furthering the principles of freedom, about the movement across this country, about citizens who want certain principles followed with limited government and family values and kind of the sea-wind change that's coming across this country."
Bullcrap. It's about making $17 a throw for five Tea Party dorks and letting the state sell advertising space on license plates to promote a particular extremist political viewpoint. You want to sell Tea Party plates? Then you also have to sell Hugo Chavez plates – they're roughly at the same distance from American democracy.
The winner: Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Her appearances in the Sunday talk echo chamber are always great fun, but the one yesterday seems to have exceeded even our usual expectations. She said she was "hopeful" the Republicans' hoary old apocalyptic threat wouldn't actually come to pass. "I don't think any one wants to see the government shut down."
Even though...last week Bachmann opposed the continuing funding resolution because it didn't strip out all government-related funding for Planned Parenthood. If her side had won that vote, we would've seen the government shut down.
Which would've presumably outraged the Bachmann from February who said to the Washington site "The Hill" that to her, "a shut down is an admission of failure that we have not been able to come together and get our work done."
So before and after her seeming opposition to a shut down, she voted for one. It occurs to me that Michele Bachmann has been getting on television recently for the same reason Charlie Sheen has been getting on television recently.
Actually, that's not entirely fair.
Sheen's crazy message has at least been consistent.
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, today's Worst Person.