To hear the political hacks and lobbyists and experts in diplomacy tell it to The New York Times, Elizabeth Warren has committed the biggest breach of etiquette since Michelle inappropriately touched the Queen. You just don't tell an honorable member of Con-gress that you're fixing to quit the room, especially if you're an uppity liberal female bureaucrat!
Warren, a low-key but passionate consumer advocate, is so despised and feared by Wall Street that the Senate Republicans are refusing to shut down business this week in order to forestall a possible presidential recess appointment behind their backs. Barney Frank is calling the move a slap in the face of democracy.
Meanwhile, a petition with nearly one million progressive signatures, demanding that she head her own consumer agency, is headed for the Oval Office. Politicians in both parties are being backed into a corner over an appointment none of them has the spine or the stomach for. They are all too beholden to their real masters, the banksters.
So powerful men are doing what powerful men do when confronted by an assertive, powerful woman. They call her a bitch.
Oh, they're being cagey and cunning and oblique about it. They used another woman, a New York Times reporter named Sheryl Gay Stolberg, to get their message out. According to the Sunday piece, called "The Polite Way to Say No Way," Warren probably blew her own chances for nomination by not being deferential enough to a subcommittee congressman. Stolberg wrote that Warren has committed "a bureaucrat’s brazen violation of a cardinal rule of the Capitol Hill etiquette book: the Congressman Is Always Right."
While Stolberg did give fair comment to a few Democrats praising Warren, she failed to go beyond treating the story like a TMZ scandal of a gross breach in etiquette. Nowhere did she mention that the hearing time was changed at the last minute. Nowhere did she mention that Rep. Patrick McHenry had immediately launched into an ad hominem attack against Warren from the outset of the hearing. Like other corporate media outlets, The Times has chosen to dwell on the "sensationalistic" final few minutes of the hearing when words were exchanged.
Stolberg obviously did not watch the hearing in its entirety.( Her usual beat is The White House, so you have to wonder about the provenance of her article.) Warren remained calm, cool and collected throughout, even as she was accused of lying by McHenry from the outset -- about whether she did or didn't talk to the Justice Department about bank mortgage fraud. Rarely did he allow her to even answer one of his questions without his own rude interruptions.
Since writing my initial post on the hearing, I have learned a few more unsavory facts about McHenry, other than the most publicized one that he is a shill for the big banks, and that he got away with taking a bribe from Countrywide Financial while he was supposed to be investigating it. Here are a few more tidbits about this Karl Rove protege, who may have had a hand in the rumor mongering that John McCain had fathered an illegitimate black child during his primary fight with George Bush.
- In 2008, while on a Congressional visit to Iraq, he threw a hissy fit after being denied access to a gun. He called a soldier a "two bit security guard" in another one of those name-calling exchanges he seems to be so addicted to.
- He put a video on his campaign website that violated Defense security guidelines by divulging information about Iraq deployments.
- During his 2008 campaign, McHenry called his opponent, Daniel Johnson, "Nancy Pelosi's chosen recruit" with "pockets stuffed with cash from Washington liberals." He later erased the slur from his website following pressure by his own party.
- He was one of the signatories in a letter to the IRS demanding an investigation of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for excessive lobbying and failure to register as a lobbying organization.
- He introduced legislation to put Ronald Reagan's face on the $50 bill.
- During the Mark Foley pedophile scandal, he claimed it was engineered by Democrats.
-He was one of Tom Delay's staunchest defenders when the former speaker was indicted on money laundering charges.
-He proposed a military strike on Iran.
And on and on it goes. Yet Elizabeth Warren erred in not showing him the due deference he is so eminently entitled to, according to the lobbyists and other hacks The Times used for its source material?
Commenter Jay from Ottawa reports that when he tried to email McHenry demanding that he apologize to Warren, his message was returned because of server overload. Thinking that perhaps McHenry had rigged his email to reject all references to her, I emailed McHenry with a phony "I Love You" as the subject matter. No dice. I got mine back from the Mailer Daemon too.
It doesn't sound like the congressman has any friends left. His own colleagues are disowning him. His inbox has exploded. Yet the New York Times sources think he is due some respect, just because the sick custom is to call all congresspeople "The Honorable." Go figure.
Update -- here is the link to the Times article again; apparently it was not showing up well in this post: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/29/weekinreview/29etiquette.html?ref=us