Yes, you’ve already seen this video of Rep. Hank Johnson from Georgia (Cynthia McKinney’s old district), but I’m going to show it again, if for no other reason than to appreciate the Admiral’s incredible polite restraint. An officer and a gentleman, that’s for sure:
Many have noted that Rep. Johnson is ill, which may account, not just for this bizarre delusion, but for the myriad delusions that populate his brain:
I contacted Rep. Hank (D-Goin’ down for the third time) Johnson’s office and asked them if the good Representative had any other fears he wished to share. I was told that Rep. Johnson also fears:
-Future missions to the moon will cause Earth’s satellite to “go all crazy and spin out of orbit”
-Drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge will mean “heavy drilling equipment will cause the poles to shift and Kansas City will end up as the new North Pole”
-Excessive use of the office microwave will cause “the oxygen in the oven to interact with the atmosphere, making it overheat and burn away.”
You can laugh at his delusions or mourn the ravages of disease, but what you cannot avoid is that this guy is getting paid on the public dime and that he turned is mental energies, such as they are, to a yes vote on Obama Care.
In the private sector, Rep. Johnson would long since have been politely placed on early retirement, and someone competent would have replaced him. In the wonderful world of politics, though, Johnson gets to waste people’s time (poor Admiral) and, worse, have an effect on America’s policy.
Remember, please, what a squeaker the health care vote was. Had Johnson been in his right mind, perhaps (and yes, this is an extreme hypothetical given the district from which he comes) he might have put the brakes on the whole thing. As it was, Pelosi probably took gross advantage of someone who is mentally dysfunctional.
Your government at work, people.
UPDATE: Lissa suggests that the Ace of Spades content is satire. She’s probably right (although the post went up on March 31, not on April 1). The sad thing is I can’t quite tell. Johnson’s original statement is so utterly insane, that anything else insane that is attributed to him has the gloss of reality. Satire only works when there’s some bright line, no matter how slender, between reality and spoof.
UPDATE II: Neo-neocon says that what we’re actually seeing is a long-running gag between two old friends. If that is the case, I would suggest that in Congress, before television, in front of an audience that doesn’t get the joke, is a bad way to have fun. My kids often try to defend an insult by saying “it was a joke.” I’ve repeatedly told them it’s only a joke if the audience gets it. On the other hand, considering that Neo’s own post came out on April 1 — well, where’s the reality in all of this?
Hall of mirrors, here I come!
UPDATE: Neo sent me an email confirming that she was making the joke, not Johnson. I suspected that, but Johnson’s behavior was so over-the-top, and Willard’s response so exquisitely composed, I could almost be convinced that it was theater. Also, Neo has a delicate touch and did a lovely job with her satire.
UPDATE III: Assuming any truth in this report, Johnson himself makes no mention of a long-standing friendship and practical jokes. Instead, he claims that he was building an elaborate metaphor.
Elaborate metaphor? Elaborate hoax? I don’t know but, again, it’s dangerous to make a joke if you’re in power and your audience isn’t in on the joke.