I generally despise politics, but I enjoy seeing blowhards–from either side–get their comeuppance.
On a recent morning in early March, the Senate Judiciary Committee convened to protect the American flag from burning, stomping, shredding, and the notion that, as Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch put it, “urinating or defecating on the flag is some form of speech.” The Committee’s Republican majority had carefully assembled the audience for this hearing. The room was filled with dozens of aging veterans, wearing medals and dark red VFW hats. Also in attendance was a hero of perhaps even greater red-state status: nascar driver John Andretti, who would testify that “those who desecrate the flag have total disregard for our military.”
In other words, the hearing had all the trappings of a perfect, election-year GOP stunt. But then things got a little more complicated. Committee Democrats, such as Richard Durbin of Illinois, noted that Republicans had voted down a Senate amendment increasing veterans’ health spending the previous night. “Giving a veteran a flag is not a substitute for giving our vets the quality health care they were promised,” Durbin said, causing brows to furrow under those VFW caps. Committee Republicans were furious.