In politics, on either side, when faced with an opponent who has worked hard, has all the issues on their side, and is backed up by the mood of the nation, what do you do?
You find something, anything, to use to distract the voters from those things. Dredge up something that barely got a passing glance when it happened, toss it on TV with some scary, scary music, and you're in business.
What you do, of course, when you do that kind of thing is ignore the issues important to the people you're trying to represent, you just latch on to something that doesn't matter to anyone and their day-to-day lives. It can work and does, frequently, for folks on both sides, but it's cheap politics, and certainly not what any of our citizens deserve.
And that, my friends, brings us to the continuing Republican mudslinging about Congresswoman Nancy Boyda's "walk out" of an Armed Services Committee meeting. The National Republican Party and their mouthpiece candidate Lynn Jenkins are bound and determined to make 10 minutes of nothing news by overreacting to it and out-and-out lying about it.
Oh ho, but the very worst thing for Lynn Jenkins at this point is for facts to become involved in her disingenuous rhetoric. Thank goodness for the independent press:
So, Boyda didn't leap up and make a scene, she didn't march out of the room when she heard news she disagreed with (which is exactly what Jenkins wants you to believe). No, when she heard someone start to go off on a subject that wasn't part of the hearing, someone who was trying hard to paint Iraq as stable and prospering (even though more than 300 Americans had died there in just the three months prior)- she excused herself. What she did showed no disrespect for anyone- in fact, the very fact she was in the hearing at all shows a level of dedication to her duty greater than the vast majority of the members of the Armed Services Committee.
The July 27, 2007, hearing was to examine a bill mandating that "dwell time," or the period between deployments, be equal to the length of deployment. The legislation also allowed the president to waive the requirement at his discretion.
"I thought it was common-sense legislation," Boyda said in a recent interview.
She was one of only a dozen of the 60 committee members who were attending that Friday.
Following opening remarks, Keane testified about his numerous visits to Iraq and said the surge had resulted in "significant change."
"Schools are open," he told the committee. "Markets are teeming with people. Most are operating at full capacity, some are returning to it. Cafes, pool halls, coffeehouses that I visited are full of people."
Sitting in the second row of the hearing room, Boyda said she was "not happy about what was going on."
The hearing was supposed to be about the multiple troop deployments beyond the Department of Defense's stated goal of 12 months. Instead, she said, it turned into a progress report. [From someone not privy to all of the information at hand- BB]
Frustrated, Boyda got out of her seat and walked to a side room where there was a coffee pot and a closed-circuit television of the ongoing hearing.
She said she returned 10 minutes later, and when she was called on later in the proceedings, she commented on her departure.
"There was only so much that you could take until we in fact had to leave the room for awhile," she said.
She added, "The description of Iraq as if some way or another that it's a place that I might take the family for a vacation, things are going so well, those kinds of comments will in fact show up in the media and further divide this country instead of saying 'Here's the reality of the problem and people, we have to come together and deal with the reality of this issue.' "
Also, even on top of the apparent fact she did nothing wrong- she did nothing out of the ordinary:
The story was a non-story when the national Republicans jumped on it last year- it's ridiculous we're still talking about it today- but more than that, it's sad Jenkins won't talk about what's important to the people of Kansas when it comes to the war & veterans issues. But, in the end, it's obvious why she doesn't want to- Boyda's done more to advance the causse of our men and women in uniform in her two years in office than Jenkins' Republican Party did in the 10 years prior.
Larry Korb, a senior fellow for the liberal Center for American Progress and a former assistant U.S. attorney general under President Reagan, sat next to Keane that day, ready to testify.
He said he didn't remember anything unusual about Boyda leaving. Of the few committee members present, he said, most came and went throughout the testimony.
"That's how things work up here," he said.
So, in the end- will the people of Kansas care more that Boyda pushed through a tax cut for the families of our service members, or that she got frustrated about a rosier than reasonable assessment of the war in Iraq? Aren't...most...Kansans in the very same place when it comes to Iraq? Don't we all want to see our troops home soon and our veterans treated better? Of course we do- and it's sad Lynn Jenkins doesn't get that.
But, really, do we have any reason to expect any better of Jenkins? First, when it came to outside money in the race, it was "Let them eat cake," to her would-be constituents from our tone-deaf little State Treasurer- now it's, "Quick, look over there! It's Bigfoot!"
We're just so happy you're taking your responsibility to the people of Kansas seriously, Lynn!