My cardboard cutout Congresswoman
Posted by James McPherson on August 2, 2011
Along with a small group of other folks, I stopped by the office of my U.S. representative, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, today to complain about the new debt reduction “deal” and the hijacking of the democratic process that Republican Tea Party sypathizers used to force Democrats into deal–while doing their damndest to assure that the economy would suffer further, and that it cannot recover enough to benefit Barack Obama in 2012. (Congressional Dems and Obama have also repeatedly proven themselves to be essentially gutless negotiators, of course.)
The Congresswoman wasn’t in her local office, of course, and we didn’t expect her to be. But we’ve seen plenty of her, and so have you–that’s her in the photo, with House Speaker John Boehner, the one place where her constitents know they can find her virtually any time Boehner speaks on TV.
McMorris Rodgers never speaks. She just stands there, like a cardboard cutout, perhaps to make it appear as if Republicans care about women. Her “YouTube channel” consists of a single video, in which she is being interviewed by… oh, go ahead, I’ll bet you can guess… Fox News.
Unfortunately McMorris Rodgers also is about as thoughtful as a cardboard cutout. She votes in lockstep with the most conservative Republicans, has willingly forfeited whatever reasoning process she might be tempted to use by signing Grover Norquist’s silly tax pledge, and sometimes co-signs legislation generated by others. But as far as generating ideas of her own? In six years, my Congresswoman has introduced 34 bills, only four of which have made it out of committee–and NONE of which have passed.
In our conversation with the aide, I incorrectly said Cathy had introduced 32 bills, but he helpfully pointed out that she had introduced two more just a couple of days ago. And–perhaps surprisingly, for a Republican–these bills actually call for funding something related to science. The fact that they are related to Down syndrome (admittedly, one of many worthy medical causes) means they are more related to the Congresswoman’s own situation than to that of the vast majority of her constituents.
I don’t know where Cathy was today–probably on call in case Boehner was able to find a camera. But officially she had gone on recess for the next five weeks. And since Congressional Republicans also tried to kill unions in exchange for funding the FAA, some 4,000 airline employees and thousands of construction workers will be without work. Remember how Republicans kept saying their primary concern was about jobs?
Today some of her constituents asked if Cathy would be having any town hall meetings during the recess, and an aide assured that she “planned to,” but “none have been scheduled yet.” I’ll be pleasantly surprised–hell, I’ll be amazed–if she has the guts to host one in which opponents can question her, even in this deeply red district. After all, she offers only vague, often irrelevant, sometimes condescending responses to emails and letters–responses that we pay for, of course.
The aide was a nice young man, but despite knowing about her two most recent bills he didn’t seem to be all that well informed about his boss–not knowing that she had signed the Norquist pledge, for example. On the other hand, he’s probably as well informed as Cathy, and he doesn’t have Boehner to tell him what to think.
When someone asked why McMorris Rodgers was such a fan of Exxon, the aide replied, “I don’t think we’ve ever had anyone from Exxon in here.” Well, duh–I doubt that oil executives drop by an office in the outer reaches of the country, especially when that office isn’t frequented by the member of Congress. But the fact remains that Exxon-Mobil is one of McMorris Rodgers’ top donors for the 2012 campaign now underway.
Next-day addendum: Not surprisingly, I wasn’t the only one to notice McMorris Rodgers’ hypocrisy. Spokesman-Review columnist Shawn Vestal had a piece about it this morning. I was briefly more excited about another Spokesman headline: “Feds announce turkey recall.” Sadly, the story turned out not to be about the new budget agreement.