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According to Jim

The Pride of Bridenstine

Let’s take a road trip, shall we?

We'll begin at the Oklahoma State Election Board, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd, Oklahoma City. It was April 11, and it was quiet—too quiet for those who believe First District Congressman Jim Bridenstine, who just finished his first two years in Washington, is to responsible governance what a funhouse mirror is to the truth.

There is time, but no savior appears to be coming; hell, no lesser gods, either. 

The congressman must’ve been feeling pretty good.

About a week later, on April 17, at 701 North Union Avenue, the congressman told the Tulsa Association of Health Underwriters, a group having a big sad over the Affordable Care Act, that the country is in the hands of a criminal.

“What we have under this president is lawlessness,” Bridenstine said.

According to the Tulsa World, continuing its usual bang-up objective coverage  on ACA, the Congressman drew “a standing ovation from his audience of insurance executives caught in the middle of the transitions brought on by the Affordable Care Act and other changes in the way health insurance is sold.”

The only way he wouldn’t have received a standing ovation from this group is if he made out with the help, pocketed the silverware, and passed out European single-payer insurance pamphlets. And, please, these execs are not caught in the middle of “transitions”—they’re worried their gravy train might be losing steam  now that people can buy their policies directly: Profits for the 10 largest U.S. insurance companies jumped 250 percent between 2000 and 2009 while millions of Americans have lost coverage, according to a 2010 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The five biggest insurance companies—WellPoint, Cigna, UnitedHealth Group, Aetna, and Humana—saw their profits increase 56 percent in 2009, a year in which 2.7 million people lost their private coverage.

The report also found that the companies earned a total of $12.2 billion last year; CEOs of the top five received $24 million on average in 2008.

Stand tall, you huddled masses of insurance underwriters, yearning once again to exclude pre-existing conditions. Jim Bridenstine will not rest until you’re allowed to deny 6-year-old girls allergy shots.

The congressman made his speech, by the way, at the Tulsa Country Club, and nothing speaks to working Oklahomans more than valet parking and afternoon hors d'oeuvres.

But healthcare wasn’t the only thing on his (alleged) mind.

“And it's not just Obamacare,” said Bridenstine, who spits out  “Obamacare” the way Neidermeyer spit out  “pledge pin” in “Animal House.” “You look at welfare law, you look at drug law in our country, you look at marriage law. It doesn't matter what the law is, this president is intent on undermining it based on own his political philosophy and not based on the process that our Constitution requires."

How dare the president pursue an agenda on which he campaigned? To the guillotine with him!

Jimbo, for the 54th time (or whatever was the number of times the GOP has voted to repeal it), ACA was passed by a majority of Congress. How long are you going to piss and moan about this? That’s how democracy works. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes the rate of uninsured Americans drops, and sometimes you grow a pair and move on—or, especially if you’re today’s GOP and you lose, you stomp your feet, hold your breath until you turn red (see what I did there?) and then, when all else fails, start yelling Benghazi when you need a noun.

That’s how democracy works. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes the rate of uninsured Americans drops, and sometimes you grow a pair and move on ...

Let us now head back in time even further, to 2013, to 730 12th Street NW in Washington, where the Congressman popped a carotid artery on the floor of the House of Representatives.

"Mr. Speaker, the President’s dishonesty, incompetence, vengefulness and lack of moral compass lead many to suggest that he is not fit to lead,” Bridenstine said. “The only problem is that his vice president is equally unfit and even more embarrassing."

If distortion, verisimilitude, and douchebaggery were a flock of birds, he would be covered in white.

And, look, he sticks the landing!

"The president's State Department lied about Benghazi with false information provided by the White House,” Bridenstine said. 

A 9.8 from the judge from the Republic of Wingnuttistan.

John Olson is troubled by all this: “It is difficult for me to imagine a situation where a service member would be disrespectful in any context, not for fear of being court martialed, but because it is so foreign to the military mindset.”

Why should it matter what John Olson thinks? Sure, he ran against Bridenstine in 2010, was clobbered, and isn’t objective, but he’s also an Army Reservist—he served this country, too, just like Bridenstine—and he gets to kvetch about this, to take this personally.

Let’s stay in Washington but saunter over to 1 First Street NE to listen to the Congressman heckle the men in black robes.

“Just because the Supreme Court rules on something doesn't necessarily mean that that's constitutional,” Bridenstine said.

And John Jay just flung himself out of his own grave.

“What that means,” the Congressman continued, “is that that's what they decided on that particular day given the makeup of the Court on that particular day. And the left in this country has done an extraordinary job of stacking the courts in their favor.” 

No, what that means, Congressman, is you know as much about SCOTUS as I do the about the best place for noodling on the Salt Fork River.

In the last few years, the High Court ruled for Citizens United against a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, upheld Michigan’s Affirmative Action legislation, and obliterated campaign finance laws; meanwhile, state courts throughout the land are limiting a woman’s right to choose, suppressing minority voting, and loosening gun laws. And the congressman thinks liberals are running things?

Oy. And. Vey.

Bridenstine’s best work, however, comes in the area of constituent services. For that, we take it back to Tulsa, to a Town Hall meeting earlier this year, when a Bridenstine fan tried to string words together  but her synapses kept bumping into each other: “Obama, he’s not president, as far as I’m concerned, he should be executed, he’s an enemy combatant… the Muslims that he is shipping into our country through pilots and commercial jets… what’s, what this… I can’t tell you, I can’t say, because this is a public place, this guy is a criminal, and nobody’s stopping him.”

You'd like to think that a man, who as a soldier swore to “defend and protect the United States,” a man, who, as a United States Representative, swore to “support the Constitution of the United States,” wouldn’t stand there in stoic puffiness with a shit-eating grin (check the video; link in the footnotes) while some nutjob called for the death of the president and those around guffawed.

You’d think.

“Look, everyone knows,” he said upon her conclusion, “the lawlessness of this president.”

We interrupt our show, momentarily, and head back to that repository of historical perspective, Tulsa World, where, a day after the event, Editorial Pages Editor Wayne Greene took moral equivalency out for a walk and got lost on the way home : “You don't have to look hard to find people who were using similarly outrageous and violent language against George W. Bush when he was president.”

Really, Wayne. Name one instance where anyone on the left advocated that Bush be executed, one instance where he was accused of being an enemy combatant, one instance where a Democratic Representative stood by and smirked while it happened? But when someone calls Obama a “moron” who has “no authority” and then calls for his death and U.S. Rep from our neck of the woods takes up the baton and finishes the race, we’re told both sides do it.

(Bridenstine did issue an explanation the following day that was both half-hearted and half-assed  and only did so because he was universally condemned by just about everyone, you know, except Tulsa World.)

In Bridenstine’s world, the full get fed, facts get dismissed, apologies get mumbled, and threats to the president get encouraged by omission.

We conclude our tour where we began. Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-OK1) will serve a second term after drawing no challengers during the three-day filing period that ended earlier this month. 

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