Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Right Man For The Right District: Meet Lynn Westmoreland, A Real Georgia Peach


If I recall correctly, Lynn Westmoreland, the congressman from Georgia's third congressional district, south and west of Atlanta, only came to the attention of the general public once before. That's when he became the butt of jokes because of his clueless appearance on the Colbert Report. He was a novice at the time; he still is.

A few days ago he played a well-worn neo-Confederate race card against Obama, calling him and his wife "uppity." Westmoreland, who never misses an opportunity to advocate for the elimination of the U.S. Department of Education, is widely considered the stupidest member of Congress, perhaps the stupidest member in the history of Congress. Perhaps he thought he was being polite by not spelling out what he really thought of Senator and Mrs. Obama, two Africa-Americans who graduated from Harvard. A college drop-out, Westmoreland told reporters "Just from what little I’ve seen of her and Mr. Obama, Senator Obama, they're a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they're uppity." Shocked, a reporter asked him to verify that he had just used the word “uppity,” Westmoreland said, “Uppity, yeah.”

Three days have passed since Westmoreland's white sheet slipped off and prompted his old friend Stephen Colbert to remind his viewers that Westmoreland is a "stupid cracker." I wasn't planning on commenting on the incident. After all, he lives in a district populated overwhelmingly by ignorant bigots who are perfectly comfortable with an ignorant bigot representing them. None of them seem to care that their congressman is one of the most shameless shills for Big Business and corporate interests. 73% of the voters in this district cast their ballots for Bush in 2004 and it's one of the few areas of the country where Bush, and/or Cheney, would probably win today-- and by nearly as big a margin!

The day after Westmoreland's ugly racist faux pas, Jay Bookman, a columnist for the Atlanta Journal Constitution called Westmoreland's professed excuse for his outburst, the stupider than dirt defense.
According to his spokesman, U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a Southerner born and bred, had no idea on earth that the word “uppity” had racial connotations when he used it to describe Barack and Michelle Obama.

No idea at all. Could have knocked him over with a feather when someone told him. Really, who knew?

In 2004 Westmoreland was first elected with 76% of the vote. Two years later he was re-elected with 68%. This year the Democrat taking him on-- you have to admire someone even trying in a backward district like this-- is Stephen Camp. He called this latest display of Westmoreland's blatant racism "wholly inappropriate" and said his comments "have no place in our nation’s political discourse.  The fact that Westmoreland should well understand the hurtful connotations of his reference, particularly for his own Georgia constituents, makes his remark all the more troubling."
"On behalf of the voters in the Third District of Georgia and all Georgians, I call upon Lynn Westmoreland to extend a personal apology to the Obamas and to his own constituents.  Congressman Westmoreland has yet again embarrassed the Third District, and this time he has done so with a mean-spirited personal attack.  If Westmoreland thinks that this behavior and language is appropriate for a member of Congress, we cannot bring change to Washington soon enough."

Watch Camp make his case for why he should replace Westmoreland. It sounds like a damning indictment of one of the two or three worst members of Congress. It's not likely to make much of an impression of constituents who are more like Westmoreland than not. As of June 30, Camp had $13,984 in his warchest. Westmoreland has $559,746, much of it from the Big Business interests he blindly supports in Congress.

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