There Is No Cat

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Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Beam me up, Scotty

I spent a good part of this evening watching the House of Representatives debate whether to throw ten-time felonist Rep. James Trafficant (D-Mars) out of the House on C-SPAN. To my surprise, I found myself feeling bad that it happened. I have never been a fan of the man with the weedwhacker haircut. I've long felt he had no business being in the House. And I don't think it speaks well of his district that they kept electing him. But they did. And you don't overthrow that lightly. Still, it's hard to see how you can allow a man convicted on ten felony counts to stay.

Trafficant offered a rambling defense, alternately accusing and pleading with his soon-to-be-ex-colleagues. If you weren't familiar with the intimate details of the court case against him, and I wasn't, much of it didn't make much sense. Given Trafficant's history, it probably didn't make much sense even if you were in the courtroom for the whole thing. Most of the other lawmakers who spoke basically said "we've looked at the evidence, we all know he did it. We have no choice." There was only one Representative who challenged Trafficant on his charge that there wasn't a single piece of physical evidence by ticking off a long list of papers, phone records, faxes, cancelled checks, etc., that proved the case against him.

He didn't dress in denim. He didn't moonwalk. He didn't kick his accusers in the crotch. No karate chops. Neither John Wayne nor Willie Nelson, Will Smith, or James Brown showed up. None of the stuff he promised ahead of time. So from that standpoint, it was a disappointment.

He had a hard time finishing up. The chairman of the Ethics committee let Trafficant be the last to speak, contrary to the normal order of such things in the House. And when it came time for him to end, there was quite a pause before he could say it. I felt sorry for the guy. That surprised me.

In the end, there was only one Representative who voted not to expel him, the lame duck Gary Condit.

I tried to find him in the crowd as they were taking the vote, but I couldn't. I guess they beamed him up.

Posted at 10:50 PM

Comments

Note: I’m tired of clearing the spam from my comments, so comments are no longer accepted.

I am a resident of Fmr. Congressman Trafficant's district.

I voted for Jim because, unlike so many other politicians he was unafraid to shoot straight from the hip.. or beam in from the sky. He worked hard to bring federal money to the valley.. apparently too hard.. because it landed him in jail.. but none-the-less he is a political icon in my eyes.

Posted by Adam at 12:28 AM, July 23, 2004 [Link]

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