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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Bad Behavior

When you’re down south, you can’t twirl the radio dial without running across sports talk, so I’ve been listening to endless discussions of the Big Brawl in Detroit last Friday night. Some gabbers think Ron Artest got a raw deal, losing roughly a million dollars per punch for his foray into the stands after those beer-and-popcorn hurling Pistons fans. Others think he should be strung up by sundown.
I couldn’t help but think about extending the civility rules from basketball to politics. What if Tom DeLay was subject to a suspension-without-pay for his next ethics violation? I know House Members don’t get paid as well as NBA stars, but maybe DeLay could pony up some cash from one of his political action committees when he goes into the stands back home in Texas and roughs up some innocent Democrat, eh?
Some kinds of poor political sportsmanship, however, deserve a penalty that goes beyond the deepest wallet. I don’t know about you, but I’d love to toss a beer right now at the Honorable James Sensennbrenner of Wisconsin, or the Honorable Duncan Hunter of California, the two solons who are risking all our lives by gumming up bipartisan intelligence reform legislation in Congress over a stupid turf fight with the Senate and the White House. (A note to any zealous law enforcement agents who may be reading: this is a fantasy, not a terroristic threat).
Right now the only person in a position to punish these guys for their bad behavior is the President of the United States, who in a statement from Chile, allowed as how he’d like to get things worked out when he gets home (assuming he doesn’t have one of those Crawford vacations previously scheduled). This is one time I truly wish Bush was the swaggering cowboy his publicists claim he is, and that he’d hogtie these boys and drag them to the House floor to do their jobs for the American people.

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