Tuesday, September 8, 2009

FREAK(S) OF THE WEEK: Tom Ridge, Jack Layton and Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins

It was another week full o’ freaks on both sides of the border, with a repeat performance by Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins. So without further ado, the FredBlog shines its freaklight on this week’s Freaks of the Week:

1. Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge

Tom Ridge, the very first Homeland Security Secretary, makes a stunning assertion in his new book, “The Test of Our Times.” In it, Ridge says he was pressured by others in President George W. Bush’s administration to raise the national color-coded terror threat level just prior to the 2004 election in order to scare the American people into voting Bush back into office. (As we all know, sadly, the tactic worked.)

But then Ridge went on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show and not only changed his tune, but disavowed what’s in his own book.

Under Maddow’s questioning, Ridge said, in part, “Well, I think you are suggesting that it was only driven by, quite obviously the people who made the decision knew more about the threat than you and I do. And again I think it is a pretty radical conclusion to suggest that men and women entrusted with the safety of this country would predicate a decision upon any other basis other than to keep America safe.”

This is the exact opposite of what he just wrote in his own book. Did Dick Cheney get to him before Rachel Maddow did?

2. Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada

Apart from the Liberals and Conservatives (much like the Democrats and Republicans in the U.S.), Canada has four parties in the House of Commons. There’s the separatist Bloc Québécois, but there’s also the New Democratic Party (NDP), which is the far left party that sees the Liberals as too centrist (much like many progressives in the U.S. see the Democrats).

For months, the NDP and its leader – Jack Layton –said there is no way they would support the ruling Conservatives, so if there were an opportunity to dissolve the government and have a new election, the NDP would do it. In fact, Layton has pilloried the Liberals for voting with the Conservatives, allowing them to stay in power. Layton has long said that his party was the real opposition.

So finally, the Liberals and its leader – Michael Ignatieff – are talking about voting down the Conservatives. But wait? What is this? Layton says that he may finally be willing to work with the Conservatives and keep them in power.

Why the change of heart? Because Layton looked at the polls and saw that they don’t look good for his party. So now, all of a sudden, with a real threat of an election looming, Layton is willing to do what he criticized the Liberals for doing for oh-so-many months. Hypocrite!

3. Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins

Last week, the FredBlog surmised that Lynn Jenkins is either incredibly stupid, racist or both. Either way, it just gets worse.

Initially, Jenkins got in trouble for saying, “Republicans are struggling right now to find the great white hope” to go up against President Barack Obama.

When it was pointed out to her that the phrase “great white hope” is a racist term dating back to the early 20th century, Jenkins said she had no clue about the phrase’s racist overtones. (The phrase “great white hope” 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.)

Now it turns out that Jenkins voted for a congressional resolution back in July that posthumously pardoned Johnson of a racially motivated conviction back in 1913.

So how could Jenkins say she didn’t know what “great white hope” referred to? Her press secretary happily reports that Jenkins didn’t read the bill! That’s right – Jenkins readily admits that she votes for things she doesn’t read. Yeah, that’s a great way to make yourself look good in the eyes of voters.

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