Both are embarrassments to their parties, their states, and the voters who elected them, however.
First the winner: Ohio State Representative Wes Retherford, R-Hamilton, who was discovered over the weekend passed out drunk in his car with a loaded firearm at a McDonald’s drive-thru . Wes was arrested by Butler County sheriff’s deputies, and faces charges of operating a vehicle under the influence and improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, because there is no current criminal law covering unbelievably stupid conduct by an elected official.
Retherford was easily re-elected in November in the heavily Republican district, even though voters had to know he was a drunk. He had to defeat a challenger in the GOP primary after another candidate gained the party’s endorsement because Retherford had been criticized for “partying.” “Partying” is a euphemism, in this case, for “has a serious drinking problem and is likely to end up passed out drunk in his car at a McDonald’s drive-thru with a loaded firearm. The Ohio House Speaker even had to order a drinks cart removed from Retherford’s office because it violated House rules. People voted for him anyway. They must be so proud.
Our runner-up is a different brand of fool, but a fool nonetheless: Texas State Rep. Jessica Farrar, a Democrat, offered what she termed a “satirical bill” that would fine men for masturbating, allow doctors to refuse to prescribe Viagra and require men to undergo a medically unnecessary rectal exam before any elective vasectomy. Farrar says that she knows her bill will never pass, but says she hopes it will start a conversation about abortion restrictions.
Well, it might start a moronic conversation about abortion restrictions, if that’s her objective. For example, the provision in her gag bill to protect doctors who refuse to perform vasectomies, prescribe Viagra or perform colonoscopies, she says, supposedly mirrors a Texas law passed earlier this year that bans “wrongful birth” lawsuits, when parents sue a doctor for failing to inform them of a fetus’s disability or their abortion options. I’m not even going to start explaining what’s wrong with that analogy, because if you can’t see it—as, apparently, Farrar cannot, you really should be back in grammar school.
Oh, all right: there are no lives involved in the matters covered by her “bill.” The Texas law may be (and is) overly restrictive and almost certainly unconstitutional, but Farrar is just showing the mental block all enthusiastic pro-abortion fanatics have: she refuses to acknowledge the existence of a competing human life’s right to exist. Of course it cannot be permitted for doctors to force a mother to give birth to a child that she does not want to have when she has the legal right to an abortion, but there is no valid parallel to preventing a man from getting Viagra, except to the simple-minded.
All of Farrar’s bill is like that: unfunny and incompetent satire, terrible logic, bad comparisons, and smug trivializing of abortion.. Her bill would require a 24-hour waiting period for men’s vasectomies or Viagra prescriptions, which she thinks is “like” Texas’ 24-hour waiting period for abortions. She’s a moron. The idea behind the 24 hour waiting period on abortions is to prevent a hasty decision that will end a life, not promote an erection. A 24-hour waiting period for vasectomies or Viagra prescriptions has no such impact or potential impact. Her bill also mandates a “medically-unnecessary digital rectal exam and magnetic resonance [imaging] of the rectum” before any elective vasectomy, colonoscopy or Viagra prescription. See, Texas, like several other states, requires that an ultrasound be performed before any abortion, even if it’s not considered medically necessary by a doctor. What great satire! Again, Farrar eitrher deliberatley of stupidly misses the issue. The idea behind the untrasound is to require an expectant mother to understand what her abortion will do, by making her see the living being whose life is at stake. No, I don’t like those laws; making citizens jump through hoops to try to discourage them from doing what they have a right to do is unconstitutional. Nonetheless, comparing the untrasound to rectal exams is dim-witted and misleading beyond words.
Even if the bill was good satire with valid and illuminating analogies, it is unethical to offer phony bills to a legislature. This is an abuse of process for grandstanding. It doesn’t matter what the topic is. A lawyer making a “satirical objection” or a “satirical argument” in court risks a contempt citation. A judge making a “satirical ruling” gets sacked. A doctor making a “satirical diagnosis” is a dangerous buffoon. All Farrar’s “satire” accomplishes is to demonstrate to anyone with an open mind how doctrinaire and opposed to thought abortion advocates can be.
There is some value to that, I suppose.