July 22, 2015

WELL, WHEN YOU SPEND DECADES BUILDING UP A RECORD AS A DUMB, OVERBEARING HACK, YEAH: Reputation Can Be Tough to Reverse; Just Ask Sheila Jackson Lee.

The latest dust-up centered on Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee has several hallmarks of her form — behaving in ways the vast majority of members of Congress intuitively know to avoid.

She got up in somebody’s business in a very public place. She sought to dominate a situation where her very presence was untoward. And she asserted her titular authority in the pursuit of special treatment at a time when such a power play seemed wholly inappropriate.

But there’s one way in which the altercation last month between Houston’s Democratic congresswoman and the Capitol Police deviated significantly from her reputation: She was coming to the defense of an aide, not castigating one.

According to detailed contemporaneous notes taken by witnesses and provided to CQ Roll Call, Jackson Lee said this upon arriving at the scene of a traffic accident on the Hill: “What happened? This is ludicrous. I am tired of Capitol Police harassing me and my staff. Who do I talk to about this?”

The police report outlines what happened as not at all complicated, with no apparent need for congressional intervention. At 1:50 p.m. on June 17, a gray Nissan SUV backed away from a vehicle barricade between the Cannon and Longworth buildings, at the intersection of New Jersey and Independence avenues, and the left side of the car struck Officer Terry Absher on his right side. No injuries were reported at the scene, and no citations were issued.

What made the situation fraught was that the driver was Glenn Rushing, whose 52 months on the job makes him by far the longest serving chief of staff in the congresswoman’s 11 terms in office, where the rapid pace of turnover became legend long ago. (The congresswoman had 11 different chiefs, for example, in the decade before she hired Rushing, who took the position after a series of congressional campaign committee posts and a brief run at lobbying.)

Unsatisfied with Absher’s “I’m alright” response to her inquiry about his condition, Jackson Lee declared, “You don’t look hurt. Where are you hurt?” and then violated one of the first rules of propriety in dealing with the police: She put her hands on the officer to assess his condition for herself.

He should sue for sexual assault. It was an unconsented touching. Though she does seem atypically concerned with Mr. Rushing’s wellbeing.

InstaPundit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.