Southern Politics

What is it about politicians named Scott that they seem to get a leg up on the competition when it comes to elections? It’s not that a name beginning with the letter ‘S’ has the same “first-in-the-alphabet; first in line” advantage that’s accorded to the ‘A’s and ‘B’s. Maybe it’s just a matter of familiarity that’s derived from Scott tissues and Scott bikes and archery equipment, that accounts for the relative ease with which a Scott Walker, a Scott Brown or a Rick Scott can jump to the head of the line. Of course, in the latter’s case the electorate went for notoriety, instead of common sense.

Anyway, in the process of putting together what I’m going to call the “Barney Fife Brigade,”* members of the House whose cluelessness pretty much demands that they be replaced, I came across yet another Scott whose antics might just make voters think twice about what’s in a name. This one’s from Georgia, Austin Scott, who came in with the Tea Party crowd in 2010, squeezing out a moderate Democrat because, just maybe, voters confused him with the other Georgian Scott, David, who’s been representing parts of Atlanta since 2003.

What’s getting Austin noticed now, even by Dana Milbank at the Washington Post, is a one-sentence bill he submitted on August 1st to do away with the Legal Services Program that guides Americans of modest means through the thickets of the civil courts.

According to Milbank,

Scott introduced the bill abolishing Legal Services exactly three days after it became public that Legal Services had won a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission determination that Georgia’s Hamilton Growers “engages in a pattern or practice of regularly denying work hours and assigning less favorable assignments to U.S. workers, in favor of H2-A guestworkers.” Hamilton also “engages in a pattern or practice of discharging U.S. workers and replacing them with H-2A guestworkers,” the EEOC determined.

That is, legal migrants — not the “illegals” Republicans typically rail against. But, while Milbank thinks it’s a matter of Scott, after having spouted the anti-immigrant Tea Party line, pandering to corporate desires to hire more malleable Mexicans, I’d say he’s just grand-standing with this and his other one-sentence bill to rescind all unobligated funds from high speed rail projects. Legislative proposals that are designed to fail will give Scott the excuse he needs to plead for just one more chance to try again–a strategy that seems to come naturally to conservatives. Maybe that’s how they get noticed in the first place, by pulling on voters’ heart strings and reeling in the “tea and sympathy” vote.

Lacking in empathy and looking for sympathy about covers it for the Barney Fife Brigade.*

* Louie Gomert, Joe Wilson, Michele Bachmann, Paul Broun, John Culberson, Phil Gingrey,
Clif Stearns, Frank Guinta, Charles Bass, Allen West, Daniel Webster, Tom Graves, Austin Scott

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Monica Smith

Monica Smith writes Hannah's Blog. Born in Germany, she came to the United States as a child, living first in California, then after an interval in Chile, in New York. Married to a retired professor at the University of Florida, where she lived for 17 years, she moved to St. Simons Island, Georgia, in 1993 and now divides her time between Georgia and New Hampshire. (New Hampshire, she says, is always interesting during a presidential election.) She and her husband have three children and five grandchildren. Ms. Smith says she "learned long ago that I am not a good team player when I got hired at the Library of Congress, fresh out of college with a degree in political science and proficiency in four foreign languages, to 'edit' library cards and informed my supervisor that if she was going to insist I punch the clock exactly on time, my productivity was going to fall from being the highest to being the same as everyone else's. The supervisor opted to assign me to another building where there was no time-clock. After I had the first of our three children, I decided a paycheck wasn't worth the hassle."