Birther, Deather, Yachtsman, Hypocrite:
The right-wing beatification of Congressman Randy Neugebauer, the Lubbock Republican who screeched “baby killer” while Rep. Bart Stupak spoke on the House floor Sunday night, reached new heights with an “exclusive” appearance on FOXNews’ Hannity Tuesday night.
While Neugebauer had apologized personally to Stupak—who subsequently made it clear that the apology was not warmly accepted, and demanded a formal statement of contrition on the House floor—he was resolutely pleased with himself on Hannity after two days of being toasted by the mad white right. (He’s refused to apologize on the floor, in case you were curious.)
“I regret that there was an inference that I was talking about Congressman Stupak,” said Neugebauer, who bears a striking resemblance to former Sen. Phil Gramm (in both looks and ideology). But he wasn’t about to say that his outburst was wrong: “I’m not ever going to apologize for expressing my feelings” about the bill, he said.
“Thank you for standing up for unborn children,” Hannity gushed.
“The war on liberty and freedom is every day,” said Saint Neuge solemnly.
It was all of a piece with the video Neugebauer hastily posted on his campaign Web site Monday, vowing to “continue to speak with the same passion that I spoke last night,” and declaring, “I’m never going to quit speaking on behalf of the unborn.”
Can anyone doubt that the unborn are delighted to have such an eloquent and high-toned champion?
Neugebauer has positioned himself on the lunatic fringe before, co-sponsoring the “Birther Bill” requiring future presidential candidates to present a birth certificate. When Neugebauer was asked by a local radio host last summer whether he believed President Obama is a U.S. citizen, he replied, “You know, I don’t know. I’ve never seen him produce documents that would say one way or another.”
When Politico subsequently requested a copy of Neugebauer’s birth certificate, he refused. His staff sent a one-line e-mail response: “Congressman Neugebauer will not be submitting a copy of his birth certificate.” (Even Rep. John Culberson of Texas, a fellow birther, supplied his.)
Mighty suspicious, don’t you think? With a name like Neugebauer, there’s no telling where this fellow might have come from. Surely not America!
We do know a few things about this man of mysterious origin, though. (See a handy list compiled by The Dallas Observer‘s Robert Wilonsky here.)
A few highlights:
– He’s one of the richest members of Congress, ranked 46th in 2009 by Roll Call magazine. His net worth at the time: $5.91 million.
– He is both Birther and Deather, having persisted in claiming Obama wanted to create “death panels” even after other congressional Republicans abandoned this particular Big Lie.
– He has a swell yacht, and received a friendly ruling from the Federal Election Commission last year allowing him to pay himself for using it to raise campaign funds.
– He’s one of the farthest-right members of Congress, his voting record having landed him in a five-way tie for most conservative House member earlier this year in the National Journal.
– His fattest source of campaign cash is the oil and gas industry; among his other prime benefactors have been banks, financial firms, and (can it be true!?) the insurance industry.
– His commitment to the “unborn” has been a tad bit selective. In 2005, Neugebauer voted for an amendment that would have cut non-security discretionary spending—meaning deep cuts for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), which provides food, health care referrals and other support to low-income pregnant women and new mothers.
Neugebauer’s 15 minutes will soon enough pass, and the man from Lubbock will return to his customary back-bench irrelevance along with South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson, who became a hero to the mad white right by bellowing “You Lie!” at Obama.
Which reminds me: Did you notice, gentle reader, that while everybody was once again talking about “You lie!” after the “baby killer” outburst, nobody pointed out that it was Joe Wilson who lied? His outburst came after the president denied that his health-reform plan would benefit undocumented immigrants. There’s pretty powerful proof—if any were needed—in the bill itself that Obama was telling the truth. It contains no benefits for undocumented immigrants.
Considering that Stupak had wrangled a deal in which Obama promised to sign an executive order “reaffirming” federal restrictions on abortion funding, Neugebauer was following in Wilson’s footsteps in more ways than one: He was also grossly distorting the truth with his juvenile shout-out.
No matter: Neugebauer is determined to milk his ill-gotten notoriety for all it’s worth. Beneath the defiant video on his campaign site sits a big, bright red button: “Donate today.”
Which adds one final layer of hypocrisy to this ugly little fable. Back in February 2009, criticizing Obama’s stimulus bill, Neugebauer piously commented: “They never were selling the plan. They were selling fear.”
Which is precisely what Randy Neugebauer is busy doing right now. Decent-minded Texans can only hope—against hope—that sales will be slower than Toyota’s.