The Follies

The Follies

- in Fitzsimon File


Meadows struggles to explain himself

Just when you think things couldn’t get any more absurd in Washington, where a small group of radical tea partiers in Congress is holding the country hostage, North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows weighs in.

Meadows  has received some notoriety for drafting the letter that was signed by roughly 80 House members promising to oppose any effort to keep the government running that did not defund the Affordable Care Act—the law that was passed by Congress and signed by the president who was then handily reelected last year.

But Salon reported Thursday that Meadows said that the shutdown of the federal government is not actually about Obamacare anymore, prompting a reporter to ask him then why not simply pass a clean bill to fund the government and end all this blackmail and nonsense.

Here is Meadows word for word answer from the audio as reported by Steven Benen with the Maddow Blog.

“Because it, twofold. One is, is, that when you when you start to look, they say ‘clean CR?’ That it, it translates into into to truly a blank check, and, and so Obamacare is an issue for me and my constituents, but what happens is today is, we gotta figure a way to open it back up and, and with that, in opening it back up, when we start to look at these issues, it, it is critical that we make it, the decisions we, we make to be as least harmful as they possibly can be.”

Well that certainly clears things up. This whole ridiculous episode is about defunding Obamacare except now it apparently it not—and then we get a few sentences of gibberish from a man that is an elected member of Congress from North Carolina.

He is sure making us proud up there with his well-spun pithy phrases and firm grasp of the issues.

Of course as Benen reminds us, as hapless as Meadows was trying to explain his indefensible position, his verbal flailing pales in comparison to the remarks of his Republican colleague Rep. Martin Stutzman of Indiana.

Stutzman said in widely reported remarks about the feeling of House Republicans about the shutdown that they were “not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”

Sounds like a man with a clear plan.

Ellmers needs her check, the heck with everyone else

Speaking of the North Carolina Congressional delegation, Rep. Renee Ellmers is garnering some attention lately too and probably not the kind of publicity she was looking for.

Ellmers is refusing to give up her Congressional salary during the shutdown when thousands of public sector employees are being furloughed. Ellmers told WTVD “The thing of it is, I need my paycheck. That is the bottom line.”

Ellmers, whose husband is a physician, needs her paycheck. But the federal workers and their families who are suffering because of the blackmail efforts of Ellmers’ and her colleagues in the Republican-led House—well too bad, they are on their own.

NC GOP odd convention choice

Officials with the North Carolina Republican Party announced this week that they are holding their 2014 convention at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Hotel. That probably came as a surprise to the majority of Republican state House members who recently signed a letter opposing the state allowing the Catawba Indian Nation to open a casino in Cleveland County.

NC GOP Chair Claude Pope said that Harrah’s is a “model for economic development” because it provides jobs without receiving any state incentives. Those would the incentives that Republican Governor Pat McCrory’s Commerce Department keeps giving to companies who promise to create jobs in the state.

And it is worth noting what kind of business the NC GOP is recognizing with their convention choice.

The Republican General Assembly approved a deal last session negotiated by Democratic Governor Beverly Perdue that allowed live dealers at Harrah’s in exchange for the state getting a small cut of the profits to use for education funding.

Last year Les Bernal with the national group Stop Predatory Gambling came to Raleigh to talk about the state’s partnership with casinos like Harrah’s. Here is part of the Fitzsimon File written about his visit and the decision by the General Assembly to allow live dealing.

The casinos make the vast majority of their money off a small percentage of customers, mostly problem gamblers or folks on the way to a serious problem. Bernal described how the most sought after players were the folks who repeatedly used the ATM machine in the casino to keep getting more cash to keep gambling.

Casinos have a deal with the company that operates the cash machines to sell them the names of the people who make withdrawals, as they are the most likely customers to return. The prospects are then lured back with vouchers or a free hotel room to get them back in front of the live dealers.

Rank and file Republicans must be so proud to hold their convention there, at a place that preys on problem gamblers to make their profits.

Capitol Image: Wiki Commons/TheAgency under under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

About the author

Chris Fitzsimon, Founder and Executive Director of N.C. Policy Watch, writes the Fitzsimon File, delivers a radio commentary broadcast on WRAL-FM and hosts "News and Views," a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina.