Our species being what it is, there’s probably never been a scumbag shortage. From Caligula to Ann Coulter, the human race has always been good at producing people who were no damn good. Currently, however, we seem to be making a practice of giving especially high visibility to scumbags, electing them to office, or turning them into celebrities, and thus enshrining their scumbaggery.
For no particular reason, let’s start with the avuncular Fred Thompson, the actor, former senator from Tennessee, and tepid Republican presidential wannabe. He can be seen on TV every day, peddling reverse mortgages to senior citizens with his bullshit folksiness and phony sincerity. As one wag once said of sincerity, once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.
Mike Huckabee is often described in the national press as “likeable,” but he’s just another smiling fascist intent on displaying his ignorance of almost every subject he chooses to take up, from women’s “libidos,” to the proper role of government in our lives.
Congressman Joe Barton of Texas. This scumbag serves on the House Energy Committee, but the people he serves are the Koch brothers and other big corporate polluters. In a recent hearing he said: “Wind is a finite resource, and harnessing it would slow the wind down which would cause the temperature to go up.” Ignorance like this ought to be rarer than it is, especially in positions of authority.
George Zimmerman was the guy who stalked and shot Trayvon Martin, a 17-year- old kid armed only with a bag of Skittles. Then, attempting to cash in on the fame he garnered with that killing, he figured he’d stage a “celebrity” pay-per-view boxing match with a rapper. A class act, this Georgy boy. The boxing deal fell through, but will Dancing With the Stars be next? Perhaps the producers could arrange to have Zimmerman dance with Michael Dunn, the other Florida “stand your ground” creep who is perpetuating the fad of blowing away black teenagers who inspire fear because they are so inconsiderate as to appear in public displaying their skin color.
The Koch brothers, of course. These are guys with more money than God, and they like to spend goo-gobs of that loot to deny people with less money the kinds of perks and benefits they enjoy without thought. They are currently doing all they can to see that poor people don’t sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Real scumbags.
Though there is no way to list all the current high visibility scumbags in a short column, it would be an oversight not to mention our own congressman, Doug LaMalfa, the rice rancher who has taken some $5.1 million from the government in rice subsidies, but votes a) against extending unemployment benefits for people who can’t find jobs in this economy where there are three job seekers for every job, and b) against food stamps that are a lifeline to the children of the poor. Look up the word “hypocrite” in the dictionary, and you just might find a picture of our Dougie, a guy who inherited land and wealth, but preaches self-reliance and personal initiative.