Oh, those high and mighty Republicans. They're all for personal liberty and small government--except when they're not. For some, a speaker's attire matters more than the actual policy they're questioning.
At a heated town hall meeting, Rep. Steve Womack (R-AK) chose to address the most important issue of the day: the shirt that a constituent, Yardley Leonard, was wearing when he asked the Representative a question about immigration reform.
Leonard, who identified himself as being “Mexican-American” and was wearing a shirt with a Mexican flag on it, asked Womack if it would be possible “to legalize the 11 million [undocumented immigrants] who are here and contributing.” After providing Leonard with a boilerplate Republican response — that this is “a country of laws” and people here “illegally” want him to “walk away [and] just say ‘the law doesn’t count for a day’” — Womack stopped Leonard as he walked back to his seat.
“It does strike me as a bit odd,” Womack said, “that I would get a question as to why we shouldn’t just automatically make it legal for people who didn’t come here in a legal circumstance, with a flag of another country hanging around his neck.”
Ooooh, burn! How awful. A constituent dares to attend a town hall meeting with a flag on his shirt. A Mexican flag. Never mind those pesky issues like Syria, immigration reform, and the looming battle over the budget. The issues are really less important than what that guy who asked the question is wearing, right?
Womack must have been feeling pretty defensive already, since he opened the meeting by explaining why he wasn't going to vote for a resolution defunding the Affordable Care Act. He was careful to lay out the strategy for why it wouldn't work, and why he wouldn't support such a resolution in an effort to avoid the angry stares of tea party constituents who fully expect him to continue wasting time with meaningless votes.
But constituents weren't letting him off the hook. After his slam on Yardley Leonard, another constituent pinned him on the question of whether he believes the federal government largely operates outside of its enumerated powers. That sounds like a tea party loaded question to me, but it bounced back on immigration reform, when Womack answered in the affirmative. Friendly audience and all that, right?
The questioner then asked him how it is that he can claim immigrants should be subject to the rule of law when the federal government isn't. I don't necessarily agree with the premise of the claim, but it was a golden moment in Republican hypocrisy.
Womack's ridiculous reach toward a deflection of the real issues in favor of swaggering with his fashion police badge is a prime example of how low they've had to stoop in order to keep banging the drum against immigrants.