November 15 – Reporting recently has shown a number of people around the country having an incredibly short fuse when it comes to anger issues – some of whom are our lawmakers.
Headlines yesterday include the following:
Kevin McCarthy elbowing fellow Republican Congressman in the kidneys in Capitol hallway.
Oklahoma Senator, former MMA fighter, challenges witness in hearing of a fight.
Representative Comer calls fellow Congressman a Smurf during the House Oversight hearing.
Attorney Clint Barkdoll pointed out, “These are true headlines. These are all things that really happened yesterday in Washington. I wonder what is going on here? I mean, these are our elected representatives. They’re talking about extending a $6.12 trillion spending plan and this stuff is going on.”
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM noted, “To me it seems reflective of the mood of the country.”
In the McCarthy case, it has been referred to the ethics committee.
Barkdoll said, “This Republican Tennessee Congressman was being interviewed in a hallway by a reporter from NPR and he basically says that McCarthy sucker punched him as he was walking by him. This guy was one of the eight that voted to oust McCarthy. This is the first time they’ve apparently been in close proximity since that happened. This NPR reporter is a witness to the incident. Apparently the Tennessee Congressman chased McCarthy. McCarthy had a security detail. Nothing further happened. I don’t know what more might come out of that.”
The Senator from Oklahoma, Markwayne Mullin, is new and decided to try to take on the teamsters’ president during his testimony.
Barkdoll said, “Markwayne Mullin is reading tweets from the teamsters’ president where the teamsters’ president was seemingly challenging Senator Mullin to a fight. I don’t know if you guys watched the tape of this yesterday, but I was very turned off by it. This senator, he stands up. He’s in a fighting posture saying hey, well, let’s just do this right now. I thought to Bernie Sanders’ credit who chaired that committee, he said, sit down, you’re a senator. We’re in a Congressional hearing right now. It’s just unbelievable that this kind of stuff is happening in Washington DC.”
Jansen added, “Apparently this goes back and there was this back and forth between them and this has been ongoing for a while. I agree with the decorum and Bernie Sanders was right in saying sit down. But I heard a fighter describe this and say, hey, the other guy said stand up first. So when the Senator said stand up, and the other guy said, no, you stand up first. He said that the fight was over right there. That’s like somebody unwilling to do that by the Oklahoma State Standards, I guess, but it’s still the Senate and if people know their history, there was a beat down with a cane before the Civil War.”
Anthony Panasiewicz of NewsTalk 103.7FM noted, “That was the antebellum south, which was one of the biggest powder kegs that there was. It goes back to your point, that’s just how people feel right now. I don’t want to say that’s how people are right now, but that’s how people feel right now and that’s never a good thing.”
The situation with Comer was during a General Services Administration committee hearing and another Congressman was questioning him. During the exchange, Comer came back with, “you look like a Smurf right now.”
Barkdoll said, “On one hand, people may think this is funny, and I understand some of this stuff is, it’s so amateurish, that it is kind of funny, childish, adolescent type behavior. But the problem is, there are citizens that see this kind of conduct and they really will think, well, hey, my Congressman, he sucker punched a guy or my Senator, he stood up and challenged his opponent to a fight, so this is acceptable. If they do it, certainly we’re allowed to do it. I do think it undermines the credibility of the institutions and the fact that all three of those things came together on one day in Washington, it reflects very poorly on Congress.”
Jansen agreed, “I think the message that sends is awful. We already see so much of this happening and so much of it highlighted by the media. Although interestingly enough, what hasn’t been highlighted was that young man that was killed in Las Vegas when he tried to help a friend and he was surrounded by a mob of kids and kicked to death and put into a hospital on life support and then disconnected and died. Do you notice there seems to be a severe lack of coverage of that story?”
Barkdoll added, “Also a New York City police officer yesterday approached people on the subway, telling them to stop smoking. These three or four guys attacked the police officer, severely assaulted him, beat him up. He has serious injuries. You don’t hear a whole lot about that. Yes, it is in the news, but again, the incident in Vegas, this incident in New York, it’s all kind of tied together. It just seems like people are behaving badly. Everyone should denounce it and here we are now talking about the context of the US Senate in the US House.”
Jansen said, “I also want to say the press seems to selectively cover events and I hate to say it but when it fits a narrative of the oppressor over the oppressed, if it’s a majority white person or a cop that kills a minority, oh, that’s covered to death. I’m not saying that wouldn’t be important to cover. It would be, but when it’s the opposite narrative, it seems to be ignored by the press. I think they’re trying to ignore as much as they can this unbelievable behavior and rise in crime, because again, it doesn’t fit the narrative that supports the light they want to shine on what’s going on, either with this administration or certain governor’s administration’s. This is awful because people are selectively seeing people behaving badly. Others are being suppressed. But meanwhile, we’re all sitting on this powder keg, it feels like.”
Barkdoll said, “I am curious, will the House Ethics Committee do anything with McCarthy? I found it interesting that you now have a handful of Congressmen coming out, saying, hey, this guy’s a bully. He’s known for hitting people and getting in physical altercations with people that don’t agree with him. I had never heard of that until yesterday.”
Now that it’s been sent to the ethics committee, other witnesses may be called to hear what may have happened to them.
Barkdoll said, “Will they do anything about it? Or is this just another thing that will pass and we’ll never hear another word about it? We should say McCarthy denied yesterday that this happened. Some reporters approached him. He just laughed it off. He said, oh, it was a tight hallway. There wasn’t a lot of room to pass and we just brushed into each other. That’s contrary to what the other Congressmen and the NPR reporter reports.”