This is a little thing, but I think revealing about the Republican bubble. So House Democrats have, throughout this work period, sought to disrupt the “pro forma” sessions of the chamber to force a return to work on what they describe as urgent priorities, from taxes to the farm bill to jobs measures. What happens is that some unlucky Republican Congressman has to gavel in and quickly gavel out the pro forma session of the House. While that takes place, a House Democrat stands in the well of the chamber and tries to get recognized by the chair. It’s an exercise in embarrassment meant to highlight the lack of activity in the House and the desire on the part of Democrats to get back to work.
This is a made-for-press-release event generally, so I haven’t been saying much about it. But who greeted Rep. Jim McGovern today when he tried to get recognized to reconvene the House? Scott DesJarlais.
DesJarlais was really only introduced to the nation outside his Congressional district this wee, when a tape emerged of the anti-abortion Congressman urging his mistress to abort their child. This occurred over a decade ago, when DesJarlais was a doctor and the mistress was apparently one of his patients, which brings up potential violations of law.
Why would DesJarlais be in Washington to serve as the face of the House Republicans today? It was actually a ruse to miss a debate back home.
In late September, before the scandal broke, DesJarlais had cited the pro forma duty as a reason he could not debate his Democratic opponent on Oct. 11, according to the Daily News Journal of Murfreesboro, Tenn.
But once this scandal came to light, House Republicans couldn’t find anyone else to draw the short straw and gavel in this session? They had to stick with the guy who most epitomizes the situational ethics they display routinely on social issues?
This probably won’t register very heavily, not even in DesJarlais’ district where he remains favored for re-election. But I found it pretty revealing.