Monday, February 04, 2013

"Very personal constituent" turned Tim Jones into a birther

(The following is my latest Huffington Post blog.)

It was a "constituent of mine," who led Missouri Speaker of the House Tim Jones, R-Eureka, to join Orly Taitz' crackpot birther lawsuit trying to have Barack Obama removed as president of the United States because he was not an American citizen.
But not just any constituent, Jones told St. Louis Fox 2's Charles Jaco on the Jaco Report Sunday.
"It was a very personal constituent of mine," Jones said.
Jones never named that personal constituent, leaving the viewer to wonder just what kind of "personal constituent" could convince a state legislator to attach his name and alleged reputation to a frivolous lawsuit.
Perhaps it was some mentor who paved the way for Jones' meteoric rise to the top of the Missouri House of Representatives.
Or could it have been a childhood friend whose dying wish was to see Tim Jones proudly wearing the mantle of birther?
It could have been as simple as a buddy telling Jones over a couple of beers, "Look, if I can sign up one more birther, I have a chance to win an AR-15."
Thank God that "very personal constituent," who remained unnamed, did not ask Jones to make the Cabbage Patch Doll the official state slaw of Missouri, or we might have a massacre of unbelievable proportion.
My suspicion as I sit in this mdwestern Shangri-La where I am told federal laws, rules, and regulations (especially regarding guns and health care) do not apply, is that the true answer may have something to do with some of the fringe elements who always lurk around the Missouri GOP and the millions of dollars they toss around.
Perhaps the reason Tim Jones and his colleagues are pushing legislation that could cripple public schools, destroy unions, and eliminate a state income tax is because of close, personal constituents" like retired St. Louis billionaire Rex Sinquefield, who contributed $100,000 to Jones re-election campaign last year, despite the fact that Jones faced no opposition. You know, the kind of close personal friend who will tell you the KKK started public education in the United States. At first, you don't believe it, but Sinquefield can give you 100,000 reasons why it is true.
With that kind of logic, it is easier to understand why Tim Jones would buy into the birther nonsense.
In the birther exchange, which takes place near the conclusion of this video, Jones said he was satisfied that President Obama was a citizen once the long-form birth document was presented. Jones does not explain why he allows his name to remain associated with that lawsuit in all of Orly Taitz' subsequent efforts to revive it. (Jones is the only state legislator connected to the lawsuit, which also has another former Show-Me State representative, Cynthia Davis, R-O'Fallon, as a plaintiff.)
In the video, Jones often practices an unusual act of ventriloquism. His lips are moving, but some fool's words are escaping them.
He says the following things:
-The Republican majorities have passed "landmark legislation" to help children and senior citizens. His definition of "landmark legislation' must mean something different to him than to the thousands who were eliminated from the Medicaid rolls eight years ago, thanks to former Republican Gov. Matt Blunt, who is praised by Jones in the video.
-He is for right-to-work legislation because a bunch of unnamed studies and "Republican governors" tell him it is better for business. Will right-to-work actually make a difference? Jones has that base totally covered. "Time will tell," he says.
-He avoids explaining how keeping workers from the convenience of having union dues automatically deducted from their paychecks is going to help anyone.
-On guns, Jones steers away from Jaco's questions on why Jones would oppose universal gun checks. Instead, the speaker directed the conversation immediately to mental health issues, since guns apparently are not part of the problem. At least, Jones hasn't been told that by any of his "close, personal constituents."
It is a fortunate thing for Tim Jones that his conversation with Charles Jaco ended when it did. The last time Jaco had a long-form interview with a prominent Republican politician, a man named Todd Akin, it somehow turned to "legitimate rape."
Who knows how Tim Jones' friends feel about that?

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