The Buckeye State, it seems, has achieved a nadir in statesmanship contributing to our national dialogue.
Sure, we’ve had embarrassing representation before. But when U.S. Rep. Clement Laird Vallandigham was wire-walking the line of treason in the 1860s as leader of the copperheads, at least we had people like U.S. Rep. Benjamin Wade, Gen. U.S. “Unconditional Surrender” Grant, Gen. Wm. Tecumseh Sherman, U.S. Sen. John Sherman, and Brigadier Gen. James Garfield, amongst others, on the other side, breaking their lances for freedom. The good far outweighed the bad.
In October 2015, we have Ohio Gov. John Kasich telling folks he’s going to cut their Social Security and they’ll “get over it.” We have Speaker of the House John Boehner, of West Chester, quitting after being essentially blackmailed by the mainstreamed cranks in his party, led by U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, of Urbana.
We have U.S. Sen. Rob Portman capitulating to the same crank streak in his party, indicating he’s likely to vote for their next move to defund Planned Parenthood, and against any attempt to prevent deaths by firearm. And on the other side, we have the honorable U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.
Interesting to note: Vallandigham was a conservative Democrat, while Wade et. al. were progressive Republicans. Now, Brown is a progressive Democrat, while Kasich et. al. are conservative Republicans. Ain’t history fun?
Let’s start with Kasich, who had multiple ugly things to say this week. From RawStory:
“What if I told you that your initial benefit was gonna be somewhat lower in order to save the program?” Kasich asked. “Would that drive you crazy?”
When one audience member responded that it would “upset” them, Kasich told them, “Well, you’d get over it, and you’re going to have to get over it.”
So Kasich’s version of “saving the program” is continuing to rob the trust fund, letting it be drained of money, and then cutting benefits for recipients. That’s novel. I suppose Western Movie Hero John Kasich would save the damsel in distress by tying her to the railroad tracks.
But he wasn’t done yet. He decided to be condescending toward a politically engaged young woman in New Hampshire instead of encouraging her engagement, and then he decided to be condescending to, well, all of us about his moral superiority.
“If we become secularists when we face a radical Islam that is the farthest thing from secularist, when we can’t unite with our friends in the Jewish, Muslim and Christian community to espouse a set of values that is the true way for human beings to conduct their lives and live their lives, we will be in a very severe crisis point,” Kasich said… “The sense of right and wrong that comes from the great religions is something the West should begin to pay attention to and not continue to drive towards a totally secular society.”
I’m going to try to unpack the stupidity of these statements as succinctly as possible. In his first clause, he both paints a threat of radical Islam and points to its opposite as secularism, but by the time he’s finished this tortured sentence he is arguing that secularism is a “crisis point.”
I suppose it’s lost on him that our First Amendment represented a singular and extraordinary achievement in human history when it established the United States as a secular Republic.
You know who else talks about the “true way for human beings to conduct their lives and live their lives,” John? Radical Islam. Do you want a list of religious-based civil warfare just in the recent past? Afghanistan, Bosnia, Côte d’Ivoire, Cyprus, East Timor, India, Indonesia, Maluku Islands, Iraq, Kashmir, Kurdistan, Gaza, Myanmar, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Phillipines, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tibet, Uganda.
“The sense of right and wrong that comes from the great religions” is responsible for the deaths of millions in these and other places, and untold suffering and heartache.
But you know which group hasn’t been belligerent in any of these conflicts? Secularists. Please to be shutting the fk up now, John.
Let’s move on to Jim Jordan, who’s having his day in the sun as leader of what’s called with a straight face the “House Freedom Caucus.” As ringmaster of that circus, Jordan is appearing all over the electric TeeVee and the print sheets.
He’s taken the opportunity to defend the House hunting of Hillary Clinton known as the Benghazi committee.
“This committee has always been about getting to the truth,” said Jordan. “The American taxpayer, the American people deserve the truth and the families of the four individuals who gave their life for their country that night … those families want to know the truth.”
The irony of “getting to the truth” as the object of such a baldly mendacious statement makes me laugh to beat the band. Thanks, Jim.
And then we have Portman, who seems to be further falling every day to former Gov. Ted Strickland in the polls, and getting increasingly desperate. From Cleveland.com:
“I have supported the defunding of Planned Parenthood and shifting the funding to community health centers. In the past, I have voted that way, and I believe that would be a better use of those funds for Ohio.”
Of course, and as always, “community health centers” in this case means religious-based organizations that lie to women about their healthcare options to undermine appropriate medical care in favor of pushing what Portman’s buddy Kasich would call “the sense of right and wrong that comes from the great religions.”
Just never you mind that whole “thou shalt not bear false witness” thing. Your options are what we say your options are, as approved by us and our supernatural superstition.
D.C. DeWitt is a writer and man of sport and leisure. He has also written for Government Executive online, the National Journal’s Hotline, and The New York Observer’s Politicker.com. He is the Associate Editor of The Athens NEWS in Athens, Ohio. DeWitt can be found on Facebook and Twitter @DC_DeWitt.