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The PJ Tatler

by
Scott Ott

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June 19, 2014 - 5:46 pm

I’m not picking on Rep. Kevin McCarthy, but a New York Times story about his selection to replace Rep. Eric Cantor as House majority leader triggered my conditioned gag reflex when I read this:

Republicans picked “a guy who is the grandson of a cattle rancher, the son of a firefighter,” Mr. McCarthy said Thursday. “Only in America do you get that opportunity…”

First of all, why do politicians and their handlers perpetually refer to their ancestry to bolster their creds? If the answer is that voters deserve to know whether he comes from good stock, then I’m looking forward to the first politician who, in the public interest, says, “I’m a guy who is the son of lottery winner — a profligate playboy who threw it all away on baubles, booze and bordellos. But I ask the voters to overlook that, if you will. I’ll try to do better than my Dad.”

(NOTE: I wrote that “lottery” quip before learning that McCarthy actually bought a deli at the age of 19 with his lottery winnings. Ok, so maybe he threw it all away on beef, bologna and braunschweiger. He sold the deli to go to college and got a marketing degree, then an MBA. Since 2002 he’s been in elected office.)

The politician continually conjures his blue-collar, salt-of-the-earth ancestors and waxes nostalgic over the hardscrabble conditions they endured, as if they suffered long in hopes that some day they’d spawn a politician. He does this because we Americans admire hard work. We feel a deep kinship with the land and admire those who till the soil. We stand in awe of one who rushes toward danger to save others. And we know that such men have become too rare.

The politicians want some of that to rub off on them, but in their hearts most of them know they wouldn’t last a week in grandpa’s world. They’re talkers, and readers, and greeters with clean fingernails, fine garments and a musculature sculpted (if at all) only for show.

Second, there’s the attitude that being a congressman is somehow better than being a rancher or a firefighter — as if it’s higher on the evolutionary tree, a saltation so spectacular it could not have been anticipated in the previous generation.

“If you hadn’t elected me,” the politician seems to say, “I might have got stuck plowing fields, castrating hogs or running into burning buildings. But things turned out much better for me. I’m a glorious politician, freed forever from the burden of getting bread by the sweat of my brow.”

Footnote: I know my grandfather, who reared me and three brothers , would have bragged to the grocery clerk if he had lived two more months and had seen me elected as a county commissioner. He worked 35 years shaping cold steel into railcars. He stormed Normandy and would have done the same at Japan if not for the bomb. I’m not worthy, nor able to unlace his boots, and I could never walk in them without looking foolish. Getting elected to office is not an exaltation, but a humbling. It’s dropping down from your hind legs to be fitted with a saddle, and a pack.

Scott Ott co-hosts a news, commentary and humor show called Trifecta on PJTV. He created and hosted the 20-part series on the Constitution titled Freedom's Charter. His satire site, ScrappleFace, spawned three books and praise from Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin and many others.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
In my not so humble opinion, and this is more true of the D-words, they think we, the bumbling masses are to be "ruled" rather than "represented". Too stupid to run our own lives...they must do it for us.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
“If you hadn’t elected me,” the politician seems to say, “I might have got stuck plowing fields, castrating hogs or running into burning buildings. But things turned out much better for me. I’m a glorious politician, freed forever from the burden of getting bread by the sweat of my brow.”

Remember when blow dried, motormouth Senator John Kerry told an audience in 2006:

“You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

Too many Congresscritters see their elevation within the (good ole boyz & girlz) system as a personal career builder, themselves as mini royalty, and not a humble opportunity to serve their constituencies more effectively.

Without statesmen/stateswomen, it's all irrelevant.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank You.

I saw that presser yesterday and as soon as he uttered those words I grimaced.

What the hell does any of that have to do with anything? Are you claiming to have some sort of genetically derived power to control cattle and fire? I dislike him already. He has the ruling class mentality.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (19)
All Comments   (19)
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The GOP replaced the oily and useless Cantor with someone more oily and less useful, McCarthy. Remember how after the GOP got their butts kicked in 2006, they immediately re-elected the 'leadership' they had prior to the butt-kicking? McCarthy is far more liberal, according to Heritage and ACU, than Cantor.

Until every voter for Republican candidates understands that nothing will change as long as you keep electing the same useless liars, the frustration will grow and the problems will get worse.

Our side goes shopping for someone that would be a comfortable and pleasant dinner guest, when what they need is a MMA fighter to break some heads. Then when the commie-libs start fighting, we ask our pleasant dinner guest to start swinging. The RINOs are no more worthless than the voters that elect them. Lyndsey Graham, McCain, Boehner, McConnell, et al are not sneaking around acting like RINOs when nobody is looking.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Electing different useless liars will solve nothing either. The fact that politicians have so much power is the problem. The Founders tried to set up a system to prevent that. Now we have a chicken-egg situation- how do we put people in office who will energetically reduce their own influence?
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wonderful prose, Mr. Ott.

AND...how I`d love to hear a pol NOT trying to unite us.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't care where a politician comes from, I care about their political philosophy. Not the political philosophy they claim to have, but the one that's revealed by their actions. The vast majority of them are opportunistic narcissists with enormous egos who need to be given the boot.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Unfortunately, I was the son of a couple who were the first in their families to go to college (and I went to college too) so now I am told to check my privilege.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
My son will go to college, get rich, then spend it on wine, women and song -- and the rest he will waste foolishly.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Trust me. McCarthy is just you're typical RINO from CA. Just check what he says & does. Totally worthless for any change in DC...
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Scott, if this is peeve #317, what are your 316 higher ranked peeves? That might make a good book. I read one of your previous books ("Laughing at Obama"), and just got depressed because it was too close to reality.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thanks for reading the book. Sorry about the state of the world.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have to disagree; I LIKE to see the "grandson of a cattle rancher, the son of a firefighter" explanations. I don't think it bestows or expresses any sort of "special representative power", other than showing connection to those represented. I'd much rather have someone representing me that is only 1 generation removed from really working for their living than someone who is from a government family; "son of a congressman, grandson of a governor".

"Son of a firefighter" was raised in a firefighters home; I know firefighters, I know how they raise their kids. Good people. How you were raised is a big deal. :)
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Politicians like to be liked and they need to be liked to get elected. Humble roots can help, especially labor-farmer roots when you're a Republican and the Dems want to call you an elitist.
Voters have shaped this. Let's not blame the politicians for responding to the signals we give them.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
In my not so humble opinion, and this is more true of the D-words, they think we, the bumbling masses are to be "ruled" rather than "represented". Too stupid to run our own lives...they must do it for us.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
“If you hadn’t elected me,” the politician seems to say, “I might have got stuck plowing fields, castrating hogs or running into burning buildings. But things turned out much better for me. I’m a glorious politician, freed forever from the burden of getting bread by the sweat of my brow.”

Remember when blow dried, motormouth Senator John Kerry told an audience in 2006:

“You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

Too many Congresscritters see their elevation within the (good ole boyz & girlz) system as a personal career builder, themselves as mini royalty, and not a humble opportunity to serve their constituencies more effectively.

Without statesmen/stateswomen, it's all irrelevant.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
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