The greatest photograph ever, by Tom Bauer of the Missoulian
You may remember Greg Gianforte from May, when he assaulted Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs the night before the special election that made him Montana’s sole representative in the US House. That was awesome. Jacobs had asked him a question about the Congressional Budget Office’s score of the Republican health care plan, which left Gianforte no choice but to throw Jacobs to the ground and punch him. Then the candidate issued a press release saying Jacobs had assaulted him. Then he went into hiding for about 24 hours, until the election was over and he had been declared the winner. Then he apologized.
As part of his apology, Gianforte agreed to sit down with Jacobs for an interview at some future date. In the weeks that followed, he insisted that he took full responsibility for his actions. Through his attorneys, he also fought the booking process tooth and nail. Although he pled guilty to misdemeanor assault, his legal team argued that he should not be fingerprinted or photographed, since he was never arrested. After a judge ordered him to submit to booking anyway, Republican County Attorney Marty Lambert said he would not make Gianforte’s mug shots public until Montana Attorney General Tim Fox—also a Republican—ruled on whether they were confidential. Montana courts have repeatedly ruled that they are not, and Fox has consistently deferred to those opinions. He has yet to answer Lambert’s question, though, and Gianforte’s mug shots remain unavailable to the public, despite requests from multiple news outlets for their release.
Last week, Jacobs issued a statement claiming that Gianforte has refused to sit down with him for the interview he promised. I think all of us in Montana who heard this news thought the same thing: Hasn’t Greg Gianforte suffered enough? He already went through the indignity of having hundreds of millions of dollars, getting elected to Congress, and punching a reporter in the face. Must we now hold him to the words of an apology he clearly did not mean?
People say all sorts of things when they’re framed for a crime that they later turn out to have committed. If we wanted to be dicks about it, we could pretend Rep. Gianforte meant it when he said he was sorry. But in order to believe that, we would have to believe that he lied about what happened, expended untold billable hours fighting the booking process, and reneged on his offer to sit down with Jacobs, all because he’s genuinely sorry. That’s just too farfetched. I call on the people of Montana to end their hypocrisy and stop pretending that Gianforte’s promise was anything but empty words. You can read all about it in this week’s column for the Missoula Independent. We’ll be back tomorrow with Friday links!
Ted Cruz is the character Phil Hartman never got to play.
Donald Trump is shocked and disgusted at what happened to Ben Carson in Iowa. On Monday night, around the time the caucuses began, the Cruz campaign sent notes like this one to leaders in its ground operation:
Trump tweeted this image around noon today. It could be a fake, but I want it to be real because it is wonderful. I sincerely hope Spencer Rogers is not the only Cruz staffer who signs his emails, “For Liberty.” What’s more delightful is that this misleading email is technically true. Carson did take time off from the campaign trail (to stop by his house on his way to New Hampshire.) He will make some kind of announcement next week (as he continues to campaign for president.) Cruz apologized for the misunderstanding just as soon as caucus night was over. But Trump is not going to let him treat Dr. Carson like that.
A zero we can all remember fondly
(Ed.: An earlier draft of this post contained the phrase “pubic service.” While the error persisted for some time, Combat! blog assures you that it was an error, and we would never perform such services for free.) Now that the cat video thing has died down, the internet has one fundamental purpose: to show us things we can get offended about. Our sense of righteous indignation is like our sense of beauty, however: engage it too often and we risk dulling it. It is therefore by way of public service that Combat! blog examines the recent quote-unquote controversy over SpaghettiOs’ Pearl Harbor tweet, along with the nested controversy of Natasha Leggero’s remarks thereon. There’s a lot of information out there on the internet and precious little time to get offended by all of it. Today we ask the question: Go berserk?
I don’t know if you heard about this, but Seth MacFarlane upset some people at the Oscars. From the opening musical number—titled “We Saw Your Boobs,” in which he pointed out actresses in the audience who had appeared topless in films—to a gag about a nine year-old someday being too old to date George Clooney, to a series of gay panic jokes, an inordinate percentage of his comedy seemed to be about women or men who do not want to have sex with them. He also incisively observed that Jews run Hollywood. [Caution: link comes with irritating sound.] That last quote-unquote joke encapsulates why I dislike MacFarlane’s work, and also why calling him offensive misses what’s wrong with him.
Take my wife—please, make her bring an unwanted pregnancy to term.
Borrowing a strategy that has never backfired on a political figure in recent memory, Michele Bachmann opined last weekend that Hurricane Irene and the earthquake that hit DC were messages from an angry god. “I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians,” she told a campaign audience in Sarasota. “We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?'” According to Bachmann, the source of God’s anger was clear: out-of-control government spending. Also, a teenage girl in Dade County was wearing really short shorts, but mostly it was the budget deficit. God is a known fiscal conservative; still, certain people felt that it was inappropriate to connect fatal natural disasters to campaign issues. So on Monday, Bachmann explained that she was joking. Quote after the jump.