Sunday, August 30, 2009

FREAK(S) OF THE WEEK: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins, and (yet again) Stephen Harper

It was another week full o’ freaks on both sides of the border, with a repeat performance by Canadian Prime Minister to top it all off. So this week, the FredBlog turns its freaklight on a freak trifecta aka a “freak-fecta.”

1. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist

If you’ve seen the documentary “Outrage,” you already know that this Republican closet case has earned his freak stripes. But he added more freak merit points this past week when he said that the reason Florida hasn’t been hit by major hurricanes since 2007 is that God likes him.

Crist reportedly told a group of real estate agents, “In 2007, I took my first trade mission. Do you know where I went?” He went to Israel, where he placed a written request in the cracks of the Western Wall that read, “Dear God, please protect our Florida from storms and other difficulties. Charlie.” Crist then implied that God read the note and followed through to the gov’s request. “Time goes on – May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December – no hurricanes.”

Maybe Gov. Crist needs to realize that his last name does not have an “h” between the “C” and the “r.”

2. Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins

Lynn Jenkins is either incredibly stupid, racist or both.

While speaking to her constituents at a town hall meeting last week, Jenkins said, “Republicans are struggling right now to find the great white hope” to go up against President Barack Obama.

Here’s the problem: The phrase “great white hope” is a racist term dating back to the early 20th century. It came into general usage after boxer Jack Johnson, who was black, won the heavyweight title – a victory that didn’t sit well with whites. So many then worked to find a white fighter – a “great white hope” – who could snatch the title away from Johnson. And the phrase is certainly not obscure. Johnson’s story inspired both a play and a movie – both called “The Great White Hope,” both starring James Earl Jones.

So according to Jenkins, the Republican Party is looking for a “great white hope” to take on America’s first black president.

Ms. Jenkins, would you like a hood with that?

3. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

The leader of Canada’s Conservative government just can’t keep himself away from freakville. This time, it’s due to a grand case of hypocrisy (Harpocrisy?).

First, the background: Canadian senators are not elected, but appointed by the prime minister of the day (without even hearings like they have for Supreme Court justices in the United States). And senators serve until they are 75 and are currently paid an annual salary of $132,000. The Senate, therefore, is ripe for political patronage.

To Harper’s credit – yes, the FredBlog does give credit where credit is due – he ran on a platform of changing the Senate so that it would be more accountable to voters. And he promised – repeatedly – that he would not appoint senators not directly elected by voters.

In fact, during the 2006 election, Harper’s party promised: “A Conservative government will not appoint to the Senate anyone who does not have a mandate from the people.” And in 2004, before becoming Prime Minister, he blasted the Senate as “a dumping ground for the favored cronies of the Prime Minister.”

So what did Harper do last week? He appointed nine – count ‘em – nine new unelected, unaccountable senators. That’s after appointing 18 unelected, unaccountable senators only days before last Christmas (so no one would notice).

And who did Harper appoint? The latest group includes the party’s director of political operations (Doug Finley), a former Harper leadership campaign co-chair (Judith Seidman), the president of the Conservative Party (Don Plett) and the director of strategic communication for Harper’s office who also once served as Harper’s press secretary (Carolyn Stewart-Olsen).

So glad Harper isn’t in a favor of political patronage and cronyism.

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