Thursday, February 14, 2008

Politicizing the Dead

Having written a personal reflection on the death of Tom Lantos, it is hard for me to consider any alternative to the House Republicans when it comes to assigning the Chutzpah of the Week award. For those who have not seen it on television, here is the account that John Aravosis provided on AMERICAblog:

Even the dead are political pawns to the Republicans (then again, we already knew that post-September 11). House Republicans, at the bidding of the Bush White House, are upset that House Democrats are voting on contempt citations for Harriet Miers and Josh Bolton today. So the House GOP members are disrupting proceedings in the House today, calling for "protest votes" and the like that eat up 15 minutes of the day at a time. Well, they just called one such protest vote in the middle of recently-deceased Democratic Congressman Tom Lantos' memorial service, which they certainly knew was taking place. This is akin to forcing people to leave a wake on purpose. The House Republicans and the White House couldn't wait for Lantos' service to be finished before forcing everyone back to the House floor to vote for something silly. They intentionally disrupted a dead man's memorial service for political gain. But as was already noted, the Republicans have been abusing the memory of 3,000 dead for seven years now, so why expect anything new and better from them now.

As I had written last November, Lantos preserved the spirit of Joseph Welch's attempt to remind Senator Joseph McCarthy of the need for a sense of decency. This morning's Republican maneuver went far beyond the limits of decency and settled squat in chutzpah territory. We need not single out specific members of the House, even the leadership; the whole damned lot of them can share the award.

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