Incompetent Elected Official of the Week: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex)

“I do not understand what I think is the maligning and maliciousness [toward] this president,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. “Why is he different? And in my community, that is the question that we raise. In the minority community that is question that is being raised. Why is this president being treated so disrespectfully? Why has the debt limit been raised 60 times? Why did the leader of the Senate continually talk about his job is to bring the president down to make sure he is unelected?”

Unbelievable.

As is often the case, and is especially often the case with Lee, we are faced with the puzzle of deciding whether an irresponsible and unfair statement by an elected official arises out of a conscious exercise in cynical and dirty politics, or because the elected official involved is just dumb as a box of pet rocks. In this case, my guess would be “both.”

Gee, Congresswoman, I don’t know…I’d guess that the reason this President is facing unprecedented resistance to raising the debt limit has something to do with the fact that for the first time in history, the U.S. is facing an unsustainable level of debt in the middle of an employment crisis that wasn’t helped when that same President grossly expanded the debt on the theory that it would provide economic stimulus that never materialized, that his Democratic Congress spent like a drunken sailor and would have continued to do so if the public hadn’t sent a group of budget hawks to Washington with marching orders to cut spending, and because the President’s response to the debt has been to refuse to accept cuts to the areas in the budget that will have to be cut, sooner or later, if the U.S. is going to avoid the fate of Greece.

But hey, if you think the best way to win the argument is to appeal to racial divisions while the President is appealing to class divisions, you go right ahead.  There’s no reason why only Republicans should be exposed as incompetent and reckless, like those advocating allowing the country to default on its financial obligations.  All in all, however, I have more respect for clueless extremists who may be dangerous and wrong-headed, but at least are pressing their position on the substance of their arguments, rather than lazy race-baiters whose default tactic in every conflict is to play the race card.

Like, for example, you.

22 thoughts on “Incompetent Elected Official of the Week: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex)

    • Marlene, if you spend the rest of your life making only correct (and well-put) statements, you will have trouble topping that one. I reside in Houston, although (thankfully) not in Ms. Lee’s district. Still, I cringe whenever she opens her mouth. I keep telling myself that someday, somehow, she will make a statement that is fair or reasonable—both is too much to hope for—and everyone will marvel. But, alas, it appears that it ain’t gonna happen, more’s the pity.

  1. Sigh, this is the equivalent of accusing all ethnic minority Obama supporters of being anti-white. Regardless of ideology, idiots on all sides are pretty much the same.

    • It absolutely is not. I believe you are wrong. This is about Ms. Lee doing what she generally does best…making ridiculous statements and race-baiting. Jack calls her out and then lumps all others who mimic her under the same umbrella, but not generic “ethnic minority Obama supporters.” That is an incorrect, and dangerous, generalization, which comes perilously close to attaching the moniker of “racist” to Jack.

      Regards,
      Joel

      • Julian,

        Uh…I think I feel sheepish. I went to bed and it suddenly dawned on me that your response probably wasn’t to Jack’s piece, but to Ms. Lee’s comments. If so, I totally misunderstood. I believe it is I who was wrong.

        Please accept my apology. Jack, if it’s possible for you to delete both of my comments in this thread, please do so. I’m sorry.

        Regards,
        Joel

          • Julian,

            Thanks for your graciousness. I will try to read with a more critical eye in the future. You should have seen me jump out of bed and fly for the computer!

            Regards,
            Joel

  2. We here in Houston are well-acquainted with Sheila Jackson Lee. She will do or say anything if it gets in a newspaper or on the TV news (well, infotainment, these days). Remember her appearance at Michael Jackson’s funeral with the Congressional resolution lauding Jackson for his praiseworthy life? The resolution that, it turned out, hadn’t been passed? When there have been problems in the Houston Independent School District, there’s Sheila railing against…well, you can’t always tell, as she’s kind of hard to follow. Something comes up at the University of Houston, and you’ll read all about what Sheila has to say about it in tomorrow’s Houston Chronicle. (Mostly, though, she eschews print media, except when photographers are along, as she’s aware that most of her constituents get their news from the television.) None of these things are in her job description, but they make for great images, so what the heck. Especially pathetic are the photos at public events where she has clearly elbowed her way to the front of a group being photographed. Our city has a lot going for it. Too bad Sheila Jackson Lee isn’t one of them.

    • Very true in all facets, Karl. Cheap politics is Queen Sheila’s calling card in all things. She’s been so outrageous in her conduct for so long that no one even thinks much about it anymore. Like a cloud of swamp skeeters after a summer rain, she’s just a part of the Houston environment that must be endured. At least we can swat the skeeters, though!

  3. Jack,
    Am I the only one hung up on the horrendous grammar and poor word choice? Honestly, in regards to brain capacity, she’s right up there with the Hank Johnson who was concerned Guam would “tip over.” She’s dumber than Pinocchio BEFORE Jiminey Cricket.

    -Neil

  4. Didn’t we all know that this kind of thing would happen? It was a true triumph for this country to have a black elected president:.. the voting public is overwhelmingly white… but as expected, any time he is criticized for anything, someone will pull out the race card. Just because he’s our first black president doesn’t mean he shouldn’t take the same heat that all presidents have to take. “Don’t be mean to him because he’s black?”!!!!! All that implies is that he really wasn’t qualified to be president after all.

  5. I agree with the overall sentiment, but your foray into politics is just…off. I think the unprecedented resistance was going to occur anyway, and, while there is a racial component of the tea party, the main Republican leaders (Leader of the senate – Harry Reid is not trying to bring down Obama) are just playing naked politics, and doing it forthrightly. Bad economy is good for those out of power. Good economy is good for those in power. Boehner and McConnell have been pretty clear about that.

    • 1. I don’t see any unprecedented resistance. (How quickly they forget.)
      2. As sometimes is the case, I find your comment here a non-sequitur, unless it was aimed at a comment and not the post….the system still lets you do that, right? The post was about the dishonesty/ absurdity of attributing the GOP using opposition to the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip to racism, when it is merely an obvious opportunity for leverage in getting the cuts the current House was elected to insist upon. Lee’s accusation is almost too easy to debunk. Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling when Bush was President–was Glenn Beck right after all? Obama is a racist too?
      3. The post isn’t a foray into politics, except that politics is the setting for the post. If Michele Bachman had said Obama was racist because of his treatment of Eric Cantor, I’d have written the same post.
      4) Is Lee a bigger idiot than Michele? I don’t want to think about it.

      • The following explanation by you was pure politics:

        I’d guess that the reason this President is facing unprecedented resistance to raising the debt limit has something to do with the fact that for the first time in history, the U.S. is facing an unsustainable level of debt in the middle of an employment crisis that wasn’t helped when that same President grossly expanded the debt on the theory that it would provide economic stimulus that never materialized, that his Democratic Congress spent like a drunken sailor and would have continued to do so if the public hadn’t sent a group of budget hawks to Washington with marching orders to cut spending, and because the President’s response to the debt has been to refuse to accept cuts to the areas in the budget that will have to be cut, sooner or later, if the U.S. is going to avoid the fate of Greece.

        In that paragraph, you take a number of political positions as facts: that the stimulus did not help (even though pretty much every economists says it did help and would have helped more if it was bigger), that increased debt is bad during a recession (again, most economists disagree with that), that the spending of this congress is any worse than previous congresses and is completely uncalled for (instead of based on sound economic theory).

        While you can say that my thoughts on the above are partisan as well, that’s irrelevant. You could have made the exact same point about Lee’s absolutely stupid comments without backing particular political positions. I like your ethical analysis. I don’t like when you use your ethical analysis to attempt to lend credence to unrelated political opinions. Even if unintended, it’s not ethical.

        • I think that’s baloney. It is not politics to judge the stimulus by Obama’s own standards—he said it would bring down unemployment; it went up dramatically. The administration own auditing figures say that the stimulus cost $200,000 per “job created.”—that’s per se idiotic, and a failure. What “economists” call that successful?

          All but a handful of dead-enders agree that a deficit of this magnitude is dangerous, period. Obama has said that entitlements are off limits for major cuts—(he also says otherwise)—and no economist believes that the debt can be cut without cutting entitlements. That is math, not politics.
          My primary field is leadership. Obama is a miserable leader. That judgment has nothing to do with politics at all. I respect effective leaders, whether I agree with them or not. Weak, feckless, arrogant, inexperienced leaders with flat learning curves–like the President—get opposed, no matter what race they are or what their politics are.

          My problems with Obama, at least for the purposes of this blog, are not political.

          • “Jobs created” is not a valid statistic. It should be jobs more than would have occurred without the stimulous. We don’t know how many jobs would have been lost without the stimulous.

            All but a handful of dead-enders agree that a deficit of this magnitude is dangerous, period. That’s a farcry from Cheney’s “deficits don’t matter.” While you may be principled in being against deficits at all costs (which IS a political position), the republican party is not.

            You then move on to flat out misrepresent what you’re saying. Cutting “entitlements” is not required to balance the budget. Raising taxes would also do it. That you choose one over the other IS political.

            Your qualifications of Obama are also not based on ethics. Weak? Like getting healthcare passed and eliminating DADT despite lined up opposition. Feckless? That’s the exact opposite of the charge he’s normally saddled with. Doesn’t he think too much and act not enough? Arrogant? That’s the contempt of cop of character assassination. I think I can apply that to every president I have more than a passing familiarity with. Inexperienced Well, I’ll agree on that one. flat learning curves? Where do you see any evidence of this? He’s getting things done. Maybe not the things you want, but things on his agenda.

            Again, you are making political arguments and attempting to disguise them as something else.

            • I’m more than a little surprised that you would stoop to such rhetorical games, t. My comment in the post was, I agree, flip, for a reason—the point was, of COURSE this guy is going to encounter stronger than usual political opposition—the country’s in a mess, the President’s policies have failed, and his leadership style flops around like a fish on a dock. I wasn’t, and am not, going into detailed, nuanced.analysis on the stimulus package—that’s not my place— except to say, now, that the “yes, things have gotten worse since that measure that I promised would make things better was executed, but trust me, things are better than they would have been without it, though there’s no way I can prove that” has to be in the lame and transparent excuse Hall of Fame. Yet intelligent people apparently fall for it. Fascinating. This kind of thing inspires what James Taranto,, in what IS a political comment, has called the first law of liberalism—the failure of any liberal policy is immediate justification for a more expensive version of the same policy.

              A President is accountable and responsible for the economic situation in the nation, The economic situation is worse that when the President took office, the palliative policies had no measurable benefits to speak of, and the the debt was increased to levels that will require weakening national defense and increasing the tax burden on people the President previously promised he would not try to tax. That, not racism, explains his current political battles, and that’s what the post was about. As far as the deficit/debt battle goes, I am as neutral as someone could be. The debt has to be meaningfully reduced, and the debt limit has to be raised. How they get there is indeed politics.

              • I don’t think I’m playing rhetorical games. I think I’m being pretty straightforward with a very specific complaint about your blending politics with ethics and political positions with facts. I would deny pretty much everything in your last post. Am I right and you’re wrong? It doesn’t matter to the ethics Lee’s ridiculous statement.

                You can say that many people believe the economic policies of the president have been bad, but your support of that position was unnecessary to make the point.

        • Addendum…the reason it isn’t politics is that I would feel the same way about the same set of circumstances under the stewardship of any President.Stating unpleasant facts is not political. In the middle of a recession, with jobs falling, the Administration threw a mess of pork out for the trough making the deficit problem worse, did not insist on a budget from Congress per se irresponsible), and devoted most attention to passing a new, expensive entitlement. Not questioning such conduct may be political, as it requires blind faith and bias; calling it what it is just isn’t.

          • Your “facts” are political positions. It’s political position (not backed up by economics) that we should tighten our belts during recessions.

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