A view from Lick Skillet by Gerald Largen: Should DesJarlais make us pay for his lies?

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Well, Gentle Reader, here it is, 6 January, 2012, and as we indicated in the last column on 16 December, 2011, we would resume our Friday submissions on this date.
In the interim, we trust that you and yours enjoyed a wonderful Christmas, and a glorious New Year’s Day.
Inasmuch as we have now commenced the newest Leap Year, we have a bit over ten months of uninterrupted politicking in preparation for the elections in August and November.
But before some of the elections can really get heated up, we, at the time of this writing, were awaiting the action of the General Assembly on the redistricting legislation.

As you know, a decennial redistricting is required under our state and federal constitutions for the legislative branch in both the House and the Senate in the General Assembly, and for the House alone in the Congress.
Since the term of state senators is four years, Sen. Yager will not be affected this year by any Senate redistricting, but Rep. Hurley probably will see some shifts in the areas her legislative district will contain; and the Fourth Congressional District will have to have some fairly major changes.
We understand that the legislative committee is preparing to do its work early in the session, and we hope that this happens, however, we have seen enough legislative wrangling over district lines in the past not to be overly sanguine that it will get done expeditiously this time, especially since this will be the first time that the Republicans will be completely in control of the process.
In the past, when the Republicans have been in the minority, they have complained bitterly over the drawing of district lines to protect some incumbents, or punish other incumbents in some cases.

They have maintained that it is a simple matter of establishing the ideal number of people for an ideal district and then applying that number to the maps.
This we agree is the way it should have been done, and the way it ought to be done this time, but politics being politics, we doubt that our Republican friends will be so concerned with simple mathematics or even simple fairness this time. But, we shall see.
Constant reader, you will recall that some six weeks ago (26 November) we wrote about the mailer we had received from “Congressman Scott DesJarlais, MD.”
Well just the other day we received another one. Just like the earlier one it’s in full colour, on heavy stock, but for some reason this one has only two photos of Doc. Scott, instead of the five photos in the earlier one.
But, just like the earlier one most of the commentary is set out in at least 12 point size type, including the words, “PUBLIC DOCUMENT — OFFICIAL BUSINESS”, and again there is a small subscript in about 6-point type reading, “This mailing was prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense.”

This means, of course that you and we are paying for this item.
At the risk of repeating ourself, we once again ask this question: Wouldn’t you think that a fellow who falls all over himself to tell how he wants to save the taxpayers’ money would be embarrassed to put his name to a production like this that was “prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense?”
What makes this raid on the public treasury especially galling is the fact that it is deliberately set out to mislead, if not outright lie, to the poor tax-payer who is thus forced to pay to have himself lied too, or actively misled.
We make this charge based upon Doc. Scott’s allegations on the front of the mailer, which we are paying for, that he is “Standing Up for Tennessee Seniors!”
Another front-page statement is “Protecting Medicare for Today’s Seniors and the Next Generation” with the implication that this is what Doc. Scott is doing, which is patently false.

Doc. Scott last year proudly voted to approve and impose the Paul Ryan Budget, a major provision of which is to deny Medicare coverage as it has always been known to those not yet covered by it — i. e. “the Next Generation” and instead sign them up for some sort of voucher to be applied to some type of private insurance plan, with the signee to pay the balance of the insurance company’s charges.
That is not “Protecting Medicare ... for the Next Generation.”
To claim that it is, is an attempt by Doc. Scott to mislead the voters and fraudulently hold on to his seat in Congress, so he can continue to get the premium grade health-care coverage that is included in the benefits package these congressmen vote for themselves on top of their great salaries and stupendous retirement benefits.

Why congressmen should set themselves up as a special privileged class, with all these expensive perks, is outrageous.
But, even more outrageous is for them to make us suckers pay for their re-election propaganda, “prepared, published and mailed,” at our expence, especially when that propaganda is based upon a complete falsehood.
Such a shenanigan would make an honest man blush and hang his head, but Doc. Scott has proven that he is neither that honest nor that honourable.
Remember how he tried to get out of paying support for his own son, after he, like Newt Gingrich, got himself a new wife?
We hope that those of you who voted him into this office will have the decency to vote him out this election.
If you don’t, it speaks even more as to your character than to his.
Speaking of character, we see that Gary Johnston has seen fit to honour us with his opinions again, so we say welcome back!
One thing about Gary that we have wondered about is who are his antecedents?
We assume that, like most Johnstons, he is descended from the Johnston Clan in Scotland.
The old curmudgeon is himself entitled to claim membership in Clan Johnston by virtue of his several times great grandfather, Peter Johnston, who has many descendants here in Roane County.
If Gary is in fact similarly descended, we shall henceforth refer to him proudly as “Cousin Gary.” He may not wish to reciprocate, but facts is facts.

And he should remember that our beloved President, Barack Hussein Obama, is a cousin of the late, lamented, first gentleman of the Confederacy, “Massa Robert” — General Robert E. Lee.
So, buck up Cousin Gary, after all, as the philosopher said, ‘We can choose our friends, but we can’t help our relatives.’
We have always thought it delightful that our Clan Johnston was reputed to be the “Best cattle thieves on the Border”.
(For details see George MacDonald Fraser’s “The Steel Bonnets”, The story of the Anglo-Scottish Border Reivers.)
Post Script: The reader should note that the fact we proudly claim kinship to Gary Johnston doesn’t mean that we would do the same for Greg Johnston, the radical right wing-nut News Sentinel writer. One must draw the line somewhere. Although he would probably make a first rate cattle thief.)