One of the things this country most needs right now is leadership that’s not ramping up the anger that exists between the far-left and far-right zealots who the majority of us must endure. As I’ve said before, the biggest problem we have in the U.S. is the push and pull between extreme ends of the political spectrum. That and the fact that almost none of these extremists can recognize themselves as such.
I absolutely agree with having principles and adhering to standards, but nothing constructive will be accomplished in a society that is roughly split down the middle ideologically if our elected leaders are rewarded for creating fights that aren’t worth having. Unfortunately, some of those in Alabama’s Congressional delegation are trying to lead the way in stirring up anger but solving nothing.
For example, Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks — our would-be U.S. Senator — introduced one of the silliest bills I’ve ever seen last week when he launched the China COVID-19 Restitution Act, an effort to “force” (his word) China to pay the U.S.’s COVID-related expenses.
This is a great idea — if it were possible to make a nuclear superpower with nearly 2 billion citizens just scratch us a check for $5 trillion. But calling that highly unlikely would be giving Brooks’ bill far too much credit.
“The key to the success of this bill is forcing Communist China to cough up the money needed to compensate those Communist China has killed and injured,” Brooks’ press release quoted him as saying. “While tariffs on Chinese imports into America will likely and initially be paid for by American consumers, over the long haul, the escalating tariff burdens will squeeze China’s economy, thus forcing Communist China to pay up or suffer catastrophic economic damage. Hopefully, other nations will adopt this model, thereby putting more and more pressure on Communist China to honor and be responsible for the losses caused by its bad conduct.”
“Cough up?” Is Mo doing collections for the mafia now?
Brooks’ plan calls for levying a 10 percent tariff on all Chinese-produced goods coming to the U.S., and that tariff would go up 10 percent each ensuing year until the president says things are square. I’m sure the Chinese would just gnash their teeth and howl, “Oooooh, that Mo Brooks has outsmarted us! A tariff?! Who would ever have thought of that? This is simply brilliant and has left us with no recourse whatsoever other than to cough up trillions!!!”
Or maybe they’d slap tariffs on our products in retaliation and we wouldn’t really gain anything.
Brooks obviously knows what would happen, as he admits “tariffs on Chinese imports into America will likely and initially be paid for by American consumers,” then he lapses into a dream state in which that problem suddenly just — poof! — disappears.
So this brilliant plan starts with hammering the American consumer? Um, no thanks.
Mo should consider tactics with a better chance of success. Maybe send an invoice to China’s business office giving them 90 days to “cough up the dough.” Or turn them over to a collection agency. Those annoying phone calls and letters may badger the Chinese into submission without starting a trade war.
I’m not saying there shouldn’t be ramifications if it is proven COVID-19 was the result of a Chinese lab modifying viruses and then lying about it. But I do think Brooks needs to be drug tested if he thinks his bill would do anything other than start a war — trade or actual. That’s assuming he even believes it has a prayer of passage. It looks a whole lot more like a cynical campaign gimmick.
There’s justifiable anger if COVID-19 was indeed created in a lab, then escaped and the Chinese lied about that. Lest we all get too far up on our high horses, though, let’s not forget our own government has been funding “gain of function” virus studies since 2018 when a moratorium was lifted. If one of our labs released a mutated virus, we’d just “cough up” trillions, right?
It would be nice to see Brooks attempt to do anything other than serve as a mouthpiece for the people angriest Donald Trump lost the election. Clearly, that’s his strategy to win the Senate race. We’ll see if it works.
Our new First District Congressman, Jerry Carl, is, unfortunately, sliding into some of this same behavior just a few months after going to D.C. Jerry joined a group of 13 other House members in writing a letter to President Joe Biden last week urging him to undergo an examination to determine his mental fitness to serve. Apparently, these Congresspeople are alarmed by Biden’s many “verbal gaffes” since being installed in January.
“We write to you today to express concern with your current cognitive state. We believe that, regardless of gender, age or political party, all presidents should follow the precedent set by former President Donald Trump to document and demonstrate sound mental abilities,” the letter reads.
The letter rattles off a number of instances in which Biden either forgot someone’s name, butchered someone’s name, misremembered dates and places, and even recounted a story he told regarding his mother that would have taken place after she was dead.
It’s hard to argue Biden isn’t a word salad shooter. I watched him at press conferences on Capitol Hill fairly often when I was there in the mid-’90s and even then, he was prone to saying ridiculous things, and it’s only gotten worse.
Still, I’m not so sure the 14 Congressfolk who signed this letter shouldn’t have to go through their own cognitive testing to determine how damaged their memories are. The previous four years were no less riddled with bizarre utterances by the former commander in chief to whom they turn and pray toward each morning.
Don’t believe me? Let’s play a game. Guess which of these moments are owned by Trump and which by Biden (hint: it’s half and half):
- Called Apple CEO Tim Cook “Tim Apple.”
- Once said, “You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent.”
- Called Thailand “Thighland.”
- Once referred to Barack Obama as “articulate and bright and clean.”
- Used the made-up word “covfefe” that became an internet sensation.
- Said, “Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as White kids.”
- Referred to the 9/11 tragedy as “7/11.”
- Began a recitation of the Declaration of Independence by saying, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: All men and women created by … go … you know … you know the thing.”
- Told reporters Americans were getting “one million eight hundred and seventy thousand million tests.”
- Conflated the Tuskegee Experiment with Tuskegee Airmen saying, “There’s a reason why it’s been harder to get African Americans, initially, to get vaccinated. Because they’re used to being experimented on — Tuskegee Airmen and others. People have memories. People have long memories.”
- Said, “Belgium is a beautiful city.”
- Repeatedly confused Libya and Syria in a press conference.
The one thing to take away from this small list is that saying stupid things isn’t the domain of just one party. The voters may also need a mental evaluation for electing these very stable geniuses.
I’m sure Mo and Jerry think they’re spending their time in Congress constructively, but it would be so much better to put the country ahead of ridiculous political paybacks and gimmicks.
This page is available to our local subscribers. Click here to join us today and get the latest local news from local reporters written for local readers. The best deal is found by clicking here. Check it out now.
Already a member of the Lagniappe family? Sign in by clicking here