Ashley and I drove through Boonsboro today. Standing on the sidewalks at three corners of an intersection were some McCain campaign volunteers, holding up signs and waving to passing cars. Is that really necessary? Maryland always goes Democratic as a whole, but Western Maryland, of which I am a native son, always goes Republican. My ongoing informal poll of local yard signs has McCain ahead of Obama by quite a comfortable margin. Good thing electoral votes go to the states, not to the regions.
But that wasn’t the main thing that bugged me about the electioneering these folks were doing. No, the main thing was the sign that the lady on one corner was holding. The top two-thirds of the sign was the now-familiar McCain-Palin design. Nothing to see there. The bottom third had one name, printed in bold white type: BARTLETT.
To those of you outside of the Western Maryland area, let me explain. For the last (shudder) sixteen years, our member of the U.S. House of Representatives has been a guy named Roscoe Bartlett. He hasn’t done a whole lot to distinguish himself in Congress. He hasn’t led. He hasn’t impressed anyone with his guts or his intellect or his eloquence. But that’s not to say he’s never gotten noticed.
Shortly after assuming office in 1993, Bartlett said the following to Maryland state officials regarding too many college scholarships going to the wrong people: “Not much over a third of [the scholarships] went to students that would represent the normal American. . . . About a third [of the recipients] had American names.” He was attempting, he explained later, to contrast the number of scholarships that had gone to students with “American names” with those that had gone to students with “Oriental names.”
And that was Roscoe just getting warmed up. Here’s a quick sampling of his voting record, courtesy of On The Issues:
—He’s voted against gay marriage, and in favor of a Constitutional Amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.
—He’s voted against gay adoption.
—He’s voted in favor of banning burning the American Flag as a political protest.
—He’s voted in favor of the death penalty.
—He’s voted for more prisons over rehabilitation and more effective alternative sentencing.
—He’s voted in favor of prayer in public schools, even supporting a Constitutional Amendment to guarantee it.
—He favors abolishing the federal Department of Education.
—He’s voted against tax incentives for energy conservation and renewable energy.
—He’s voted to deauthorize critical habitats for endangered species.
—Americans United for Separation of Church and State gives him a rating of 0%.
—Best of all: Bartlett, who has sought re-election seven times since winning his seat, including this year, claims to support term limits.
Oh, and did I mention he participated in a ceremony in Washington, D.C. in 2004 to crown cult leader and major Republican benefactor Sun Myung Moon the messiah? To whom does he think children attending public schools should be obliged to pray to, anyway?
That the Republican party continues to nominate a disgrace like Bartlett year after year is bad enough. That the people of Western Maryland continue to elect him is an embarrassment. It is inexcusable. This year he is being challenged by not one but two opponents, Democrat Jennifer Dougherty, and Libertarian Gary Hoover. If you live in Maryland’s District 6, for the love of Christ, go to the polls on Tuesday and vote for one of those two.
Why the fuck would anyone hold up a sign for Roscoe Bartlett? Why the living fuck would anyone vote for Roscoe Bartlett?
Vote for someone else. Jesus fucking Christ. There is no excuse for this.