August 15, 2009

Max Blumenthal at The Daily Beast has a damning expose of Louisiana Sen. David Vitter's incredible hypocrisy in dealing with the health-care teabagging crowd.

First, Vitter crows to the press that, unlike some of his fellow congresscritters, he's not afraid to have teabaggers at his town hall meetings:

“Please know that this and any other angry mob is welcome at my town-hall meetings whenever you want to come,” Vitter declared, bringing the audience to its feet with a raucous ovation.

But what he apparently is afraid of is dealing with any Democrats who favor health-care reform -- because he excluded them from his town halls:

At a town-hall meeting on August 10 in Jefferson Parish, many local constituents were reportedly turned away while Tea Party activists were allowed to enter. When the event concluded, Vitter rushed out of the back door and away from the press and his constituents, guarded by a phalanx of police officers.

But the most disturbing part of the piece featured Vitter actually promoting the effort by right-wing extremists -- which has been similarly encouraged by both Glenn Beck, Neil Cavuto, and Sean Hannity -- to advocate "state sovereignty" as a means of defying the federal government:

Vitter earned even more enthusiastic cheers with a not-so-subtle appeal to states’ rights. When an audience member asked him if Louisiana could withdraw from Obama’s health-care plan if it passed, Vitter proclaimed, “The first thing we need to do is elect members of Congress who respect the Tenth Amendment.”

Invocations of the Tenth Amendment, which reserves “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution” to the “states respectively, or to the people,” have become common among secessionists seeking a veneer of constitutional legitimacy.

As I explained when Beck did this, these "10th Amendment" theories are not only highly dubious, they actually originated in the 1990s with the black-helicopter/militia crowd:

Now, it's one thing to point out the radical origins of these "constitutional theories." But it's also important to understand where they want to take us -- to a radically decentralized form of government that was first suggested in the 1970s by the far-right Posse Comitatus movement.

They essentially argue for a constitutional originalism that would not only end the federal income tax, destroy all civil-rights laws, and demolish the Fed, but would also re-legalize slavery, strip women of the right to vote, and remove the principle of equal protection under the law.

Blumenthal explains that this all appears to be Vitter's 2010 re-election strategy -- get the nutcases worked up into a frenzy so they can forget about the D.C. Madam scandal and those infamous diapers he evidently is fond of:

As the health-care debate intensifies, Vitter sees a badly needed opportunity to recover his political footing—and fill his campaign coffers. Through his Twitter account and campaign blog, the senator has introduced an online petition that enables his supporters to warn “President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and the liberal Washington establishment that [they] are not going to let them take over health care without a fight.”

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