Here in the Soviet of Washington, our elected officials skew heavily to the left so those of us who call ourselves conservatives are accustomed to them saying and doing things that make us want to bang our heads on our desks in frustration. Who can forget, for example, Patty Murray's glowing tribute to Osama bin Laden or Jim McDermott's trip to Baghdad in the run up to the 2002 military action in Iraq. Living here, we have to be prepared for the outrageous.
Recently, however, Representative Brian Baird of Washington's 3rd Congressional District made some comments comparing townhall protesters to Nazi brown shirts and Timothy McVeigh that caught even the most prepared of us off guard. Now it seems he's joined by Jay Inslee of Washington's 1st District.
Sam Stein, writing in the Huffington Post:
As effective as the angry anti-reform town-hall protesters have been at getting media attention, that does not mean they are actually influencing members of Congress. "When a person stands up and points their finger at you like a 54-caliber automatic, and calls you a liar, you can be sure they didn't vote for you and won't vote for you under any circumstance," Rep. Jay Inslee, (D-W.A.) told the Huffington Post. "Those folks never voted for any of my colleagues on this side and wont [sic] vote for folks on my side in the next election. They are mad that they lost the last election. They didn't vote for Barack Obama. They will never vote for Barack Obama and they won't vote for Barack Obama's friend." (Full Article)
In its way, Inslee's statement is even more bizarre than Baird's assertions.
First, in a dangerous display of irresponsible imagery, he likens pointing a finger to pointing a "54 caliber automatic." It's hard to say if Inslee actually intended to conjure up pictures of naval cannons, or if Stein is so ignorant he doesn't know there's a difference between a ".54 caliber" firearm and a "54 caliber" cannon.
Assuming Inslee meant the smaller firearm, one still has to wonder why he chose a .54 caliber automatic, a firearm that exists only in his over-active imagination. Google it and try to ignore the fact that Google doesn't understand the difference between .54 caliber and 54 caliber either. While .54 caliber firearms do exist, they're either antiques or reproduction pieces. As a friend said on Twitter, "I'd like to see the automatic weapon that pours in the black powder, drops in the ball, tamps it down, fires and reloads!"
Still, despite the laughable ignorance of both Inslee and Stein, the message is clear: if you're a conservative, the left may concede you have the right to free speech, but only on their terms. No backtalk. Know your betters. Show some respect. Keep your voices down and keep those hands at your sides, darn it! Better yet, check those fingers at the door!
Moving on to the really disturbing part of Inslee's comments, when he says, "they didn't vote for you and won't vote for you under any circumstance," he makes it clear that he's not in D.C. to represent all of his constituents - just those who have or are likely to vote for him. I guess that's not surprising, but it is rather disconcerting to see him state openly that some constituents are more equal than others.
While it's bad enough to know that Inslee has written off all opponents of the current health care legislation as irrelevant to his re-election and, therefore, irrelevant indeed, looking at the larger picture one has to wonder if he ever really considers dissenting opinions. Given his lifetime rating of 9.61 (out of 100!) from the American Conservative Union, it appears not. It also explains why he never responds to my correspondence with anything other than condescending form letters that pimp his viewpoint and fail to acknowledge my concerns.
Inslee has revealed himself to be arrogant and close-minded. The only remaining question is how has he managed to pass himself off as a moderate?