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I've got C-Span on in the other room, and periodically go into the room to hear who is saying what in the Iraq debate. Imagine my disgust, then, when I walked in to hear this GOP tool, John Shimkus of Illinois, reading a bunch of (selectively submitted) "emails" from the troops in Iraq, calling on Congress to "support the commander in chief" so that the war can be "won."

And like so many of his pathetic fellow GOP shills, Shimkus, in the context of this speech, repeated the tired rhetoric implying that the other side, i.e., the Democrats, and specifically the authors of the legislation being sponsored, don't care if "the terrorists win."

How shrill, hateful, and ugly the Republicans' rhetoric has become. Now, having lost their precious majority status after having failed to offer meaningful oversight and checks and balances against a power-hungry, out of control, administration, they are left with little more than name calling.

It is truly pathetic.

Looking at his Wikipedia entry for some background, I see that Shimkus is an example of a military guy turned Republican ideologue. Gee, no lack of bias there.

Also, this is someone who once promised to serve a limited term, and then broke his promise to his constituents; I hope that they keep this in mind come the next election.

From his voting record, there is this about Shimkus

Voted YES on making the PATRIOT Act permanent. (Dec 2005)
Voted YES on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage. (Sep 2004)
Voted YES on protecting the Pledge of Allegiance. (Sep 2004)
Voted YES on constitutional amendment prohibiting flag desecration. (Jun 2003)
Voted YES on banning gay adoptions in DC. (Jul 1999)
Voted YES on ending preferential treatment by race in college admissions. (May 1998)
Supports anti-flag desecration amendment. (Mar 2001)
Rated 13% by the ACLU, indicating an anti-civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)

Let's see, what else is there here. Well, there is this

FEC records show the John S. Fund, the PAC for John Shimkus, contributed to Tom DeLay, who is now facing criminal charges.Recently the funds treasurer, lobbyist Mark Valente, resigned. Shimkus earlier said he was considering removing Valente, but he didn't want to act too quickly because it might suggest there was something improper about their relationship

And, as Americablog put it

What was the extent of Shimkus' investigation of whether a member of Congress was soliciting sex with a minor, or at the very least bordering on sexually harassing a minor? Shimkus asked Foley if he was hitting on the kid, Foley said no, so Shimkus said "okay," and let it go. Obviously sex with children is a real big concern to the Republican house.

Here's what Shimkus had to say tonight:

In that email exchange, Congressman Foley asked about the former Page's well-being after Hurricane Katrina and requested a photograph. When asked about the email exchange, Congressman Foley said he expressed concern about the Page's well-being and wanted a photo to see that the former Page was alright.

First off, nice that Shimkus, who according to the Associated Press wrote this statement with the help of GOP Speaker Denny Hastert's office, after avoiding reporters for hours, spins Foley's creepy emails to sound totally benign. In fact, Shimkus doesn't bother mentioning the most damning parts of the email exchange, Foley commenting on the underage kid's apparently underage friend's hot body, and also somewhat creepy, asking the kid for a picture and asking how old he is. I'm sure it was an oversight. Oh that's right, there is no oversight in the Republican house. You simply ask someone a question and believe whatever answer they give you, then the investigation is over.

Interesting that the pages now say they were routinely warned about Foley by their page overseers. Did Shimkus bother talking to the page overseers, or any of the pages, to find out what was up with Foley? How is it that in just 24 hours ABC was able to get a copy of Foley's sex-talk instant message chat with an underage page, yet Shimkus found nothing?

Shimkus never told the Democratic member of Congress who serves on the page board. Why?
Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Mich.), who serves on the page board, was never told of the interview with Foley.

"I became aware of it this afternoon when [Shimkus] came by my office. I think we should have had a page meeting right away," Kildee said, referring to last year's discovery of Foley's e-mails.

When asked if was upset about being excluded, Kildee said yes, adding, "I've been on the page board for 20 years."

Now, back to Shimkus's speech today, his use of supposed "emails" from the troops in Iraq, and his hateful labeling of Democrats as terrorist appeasers.

Looking at this guy's history, you would think that this would be the last person making speeches condemning the morality of his political opponents, though of course, to make such an assumption might be to also assume that someone like Shimkus has a sense of shame. That is probably a dubious assumption.

And even assuming that a handful of gung-ho emails from "troops" advocating a surge are real (and genuinely from the troops, and not from some Defense Department hack, why should we believe that they are representative of the consensus by the troops?

Of course, the simple answer is that we should not. And the deeper answer is that morally bankrupt legislators like Tom DeLay proteges such John Shimkus are probably incapable of distinguishing truth from falsity. And so his slurs toward us should probably be worn as a badge of honor.

Originally posted to Randian on Thu Feb 15, 2007 at 10:23 AM PST.

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