Tuesday, January 25, 2005

You Can't Make This Stuff Up ...

You may think you've heard all the angles on President Bush's $40 million inaugural celebration.

Think again.

On the eve of Bush's second-term inauguration, Republican Nevada Congressman Jim Gibbons told NBC News that anyone who opposes the corporate-funded inaugural parties is a "communist."

Reporter Lisa Myers interviewed Gibbons for a Jan. 19 story about how corporate money paid for roughly $40 million of inauguration partying last week. Myers concluded: "But one congressman has no use for complaints about corporate-funded celebrations. 'Anybody who is against that obviously must be a communist,' says Rep. James Gibbons, R-Nev."

***

The sheer lunacy of the comment is breathtaking, although it's hardly the first time a Republican resorted to name-calling to make a point. Rush Limbaugh labels women's rights activists "feminazis." Rod Paige, education secretary for Bush's first-term, called the National Education Association a "terrorist organization." Sure it works for third-graders, but shouldn't Republicans know better?

All this could be swept under the rug, I suppose, if Gibbons were some anonymous quote from an inaugural on-looker. It might even be forgettable if Gibbons were a lower-level politician -- a zoning board member of Nowheresville, U.S.A., being interviewed by The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

But, according to the Las Vegas Sun, Gibbons plans to announce later this year whether he will seek the Nevada governor's office in 2006.

Gibbons' spokeswoman, Amy Spanbauer, told the Sun that Gibbons "wasn't joking" when he made the statement. She suggested he was "taken out of context" by NBC, and that his overall point was that "he firmly believes that everyone in the United States, including corporate executives, have the freedom, under limits of the law, to spend their money for political events and to lobby lawmakers."

Apparently, Spanbauer never got around to the leap of logic Gibbons took from expressing a firm belief to idiotic name-calling.

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