I've always thought that Louie Gohmert (R-TX) was one of the most disingenuous and weaselly members of Congress, which considering the competition is an impressive honorific. And it's even more impressive when he can come up with something new and top himself.
On Thursday, Gohmert released a statement explaining why he wouldn't be doing any town hall meetings. Well, okay, let's rephrase that -- he gave a reason he hoped people would believe is why he wouldn't be doing any town halls, since "I don't want to be the subject of an onslaught of vitriol from my constituents and yelled at during the entire meeting" doesn't tend to sound as good as a public official would prefer. Instead, he said it was because of concern for being shot.
"At this time," his spokesman wrote for him, "there are groups from the more violent strains of the leftist ideology, some even being paid, who are preying on public town halls to wreak havoc and threaten public safety.”
Given that it's the far-right which is the most vocal proponent of guns, and the same far-right which is most identified with militias and anarchic white separatist groups, and it's the left that has long been fighting for gun control, it's not quite certain who these "violent strains of the leftist ideology are", and from the woeful lack of specificity I suspect Louie Gohmert isn't certain either. Nor do I suspect he or anyone has yet found a paycheck stub for any protester on the left who was hired to go to a town hall and yell -- an especial challenge since you know these tree huggers -- they're bleeding heart enough to to go yell at people for free. Then again, I don't recall Louie Gohmert ever being concerned about right-wing Tea Party groups "wreaking havoc and threatening public safety" as they filled town halls in their outraged fury at President Obama But then, that's the sort of disingenuous thing weaselly people say. Never mind too that the Tea Party wasn't an actual political party but was itself a paid-for organization financed by people like the Koch Brothers, who funded FreedomWorks, and Dick Armey, who was responsible for financing Tea Party Express.
But even better -- or sickeningly worse, depending on how you prefer to couch such things -- in defending his decision, Louie Gohmert didn't pull out statistics or show threats he'd received, but used former Rep. Gabby Giffords having been shot at a public event as his excuse.
“Threats are nothing new to me, and I have gotten my share as a felony judge," the statement apparently quoted Louie Gohmert, trying to make him sound Texas Macho, despite not referencing any actual threats he's received. "However, the House Sergeant at Arms advised us after former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot at a public appearance, that civilian attendees at Congressional public events stand the most chance of being harmed or killed — just as happened there."
In other words, I want to swagger amongst you with a Bowie knife between my teeth, but my mom says I have to be home for dinner.
Seriously, the "House Sergeant at Arms" warned him not to have public events because of Gabby Giffords?? The Sergeant at Arms keeps order in the House of Representatives and is in charge of protocol. The only reason I can think of that Louie Gohmert brought him up is because the job has the word "Sergeant" in it, which make it sound militaristic and tough, and the weaselly and disingenuous Louie Gohmert wants you to think of him that way, too.
By the way, Gabby Giffords was shot in 2011 -- almost SIX YEARS AGO. Is Louie Gohmert actually trying to tell us that it wasn't until right now that he realized maybe he shouldn't do public events??? Is Louie Gohmert not aware that members of the House of Representatives have been attending public events for the past SIX YEARS. And I'm going to bet a lot of cash money that he has, as well. But now -- now! -- he just figured out that maybe it's not safe for him.
Of course, using Gabby Giffords as his human shield wasn't a great idea. Not just because of the awkward perception of it, but more because it gave Ms. Giffords herself the opportunity to respond.
“I was shot on a Saturday morning. By Monday morning, my offices were open to the public,” she said in her statement. And it continued continued, bluntly. “Ron Barber ― at my side that Saturday, who was shot multiple times, then elected to Congress in my stead ― held town halls. It’s what the people deserve in a representative.” She ended even more pointedly, “To the politicians who have abandoned their civic obligations, I say this: Have some courage. Face your constituents. Hold town halls.”
When I read the Louie Gohmert statement about his concern at being shot -- and honestly, I do understand that we live in a difficult society where people do get shot, and where there are mass shootings -- my immediate thought was that Louie Gohmert is one of the representative who voted last week to allow people who were severely mentally ill (so severely mentally ill that they cannot sign contracts for themselves) to buy guns. So, if Louie Gohmert was really, truly all that concerned with gun violence, and with himself being shot at his own town hall meetings, not voting for that would have been a really good place to start. Unless you're disingenuous and weaselly.
Indeed, if Louie Gohmert is really, truly all that concerned with gun violence, and especially with members of Congress being shot at town halls, I would have expected him to be a major proponent of gun control and making it his mission to convince all members of Congress to stop holding town hall meetings, period. Unless you're disingenuous and weaselly.
Besides, as a major proponent of guns, I thought that Louie Gohmert, more than most people knew that guns were perfectly safe, because guns after all don't kill people. So, what does he have to be concerned about? He knows that!
Unless you're disingenuous and weaselly.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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