As June 2021 here in the Nation’s Capital, along with the cacophony of the cicadas, fades into history, and the Fourth of July impends, with its promise of hot barbecue, cold brewskis and bright fireworks thundering in the sky for a half hour or so, Joe Biden still struggles to get the rational but reluctant to step up and receive their covid vaccinations. Alas, his vaunted goal of a seventy percent US vaccination rate by Independence Day failed to materialize, but unfortunately, not without throngs people tearing off their masks and plunging headlong into every risky behavior imaginable. They just couldn’t wait – they’re out there even now, attending large gatherings, packed in, cheek by jowl, in most cases trusting their safety in a life and death situation to an honor system of CDC vaccination cards, antigen tests and notes from doctors stating that the holder has already had covid, thank you very much.
Seriously, folks – Americans on an honor system? The national pastime of the United States is baseball, a sport notable for many things, but mostly for the fact that cheating at it is a long-standing tradition stretching back over one hundred and sixty years. And as such, baseball is the perfect expression of our national character. Thus, the inevitable fact that quite a few spectators jamming in next to one another at numerous baseball stadiums this long holiday weekend will be flat-out lying about their vaccination, antigen and / or previous infection status is extremely appropriate.
Then there are parts of the country where, for various irrational reasons, the vast majority of the population not only isn’t vaccinated, they show no reluctance whatsoever about proclaiming to anyone who will listen that they aren’t going to get vaccinated, no sir, no way, no how, never. And they, of course, are out there sweating and breathing the latest covid flavor, the New Improved Delta Variant – twice as contagious and three times as deadly as Original Flavor Covid-19 Classic – all over each other, in many cases at events where nobody checks anyone’s covid status at all.
So pardon me if I still remain ensconced in my home office in Great Falls, Virginia. To those who might consider me some sort of Cassandra, wussy, or worse, I would note in defense of my cautious approach to the circumstances that, in stark contrast to the reckless shenanigans the hoi polloi dived straight into at the first opportunity, the federal government, which provides a very hefty segment of my clients, has yet to announce a date for its agencies’ staff to return from telework to actual physical attendance at its facilities. If such prudence is good enough for the Office of Personnel Management, it’s good enough for me.
I would also point out that Gretchen agrees with me wholeheartedly. She doesn’t mind working from home at all and actually prefers interacting with our clients over Zoom, Skype and the like. As regular readers of this Web log well know, her experiences with foreign dignitaries in general, and particularly that notorious Middle Eastern fixer and middleman “Ahmed,” have often offended her olfactory sensibilities, which for someone raised on an Amish farm in Pennsylvania Dutch country is saying something, I guess. Despite their other realistic simulations of face-to-face encounters, Zoom and others of its ilk so far lack that specific dimension of experience; and all I can say about it is God help us when some tech startup devises a way to transmit aromas over the Internet.
So, it was about nine this morning when she notified me that a certain Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene had decided to avail herself of a free initial consultation – over Zoom. “Actually, I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with that [expletive] in person at the office,” Gretchen confided as she set up the consultation appointment. “This way I don’t have to constantly suppress the urge to throw something at her.” Here’s a transcript.
MTG: What’s this? Are you Tom Collins?
Tom: Yes, Representative Greene. I am he.
MTG: This is you?
Tom: It is.
MTG: What are you, a Jew or something?
Tom: I am an Italian-American. My full name is Tom Collins Martini.
MTG: So you’re a Catholic, then, like Joe Biden?
Tom: I was raised a Catholic, yes, but very few people are as Catholic as Joe Biden. I notice that your official biography just says you are a Christian. A Protestant of some kind, I assume?
MTG: Let’s just say I don’t let the Pope tell me what to do.
Tom: Yes, you’re from Georgia. I understand. I wonder, since you had your picture taken with Chester Doles, you aren’t by any chance a Southern Methodist, are you?
MTG: Southern Methodist?
Tom: Well, Doles was a major member of the Ku Klux Klan, you posed for a picture with him, and, as H. L. Mencken once noted, the KKK is just the secular arm of the Southern Methodist Church.
MTG: I had no idea that Doles was connected with the Klan when that picture was taken.
Tom: But he did endorse your run for Congress, as well as noting that you believe in the QAnon conspiracy theories. Doles also claims you are his good friend.
MTG: Lots of people say lots of things, Mr. Collins. What are those books on the shelves behind you? I see one of them says “MARX” on it in really big letters. You aren’t a Communist are you?
Tom: Lots of people read lots of books, Madam Congresswoman. For the record, I have no political affiliation. And as much as I enjoy small talk, our time is limited. What can I do for you today?
MTG: They say you’re a pretty smart guy. And this is free, right?
Tom: I appreciate their assessment, whoever “they” are, and yes, this is free.
MTG: Okay, then, I need some advice about how to get appointed to Nancy Pelosi’s Select Committee.
Tom: You mean the one she is forming to investigate the January 6 incident at the US Capitol?
MTG: Yeah, that one.
Tom: I heard you were interested in a seat on that committee, but I don’t understand why, since you voted against the creation of an independent federal commission to investigate the very same thing.
MTG: I voted against that commission because the Democrats weren’t going to allow it to investigate Black Lives Matter, Antifa, the anarchists, the Socialists and all the riots they caused during President Trump’s first term.
Tom: In other words, you wanted some “what-about-ism” in the proceedings to… shall we say… “balance” the commission’s point of view concerning whether that crowd breaking into the US Capitol was engaged in an insurrection against the United States of America at the behest of President Trump.
MTG: Don’t try to put words in my mouth, Mr. Collins. I want to find out how many members of Black Lives Matter, Antifa, the anarchists, the Socialists and the FBI were involved in what happened on January 6, because I believe that it was a false flag attack!
Tom: You believe that thousands of BLM members, Antifa, anarchists, Socialists and individuals working for, or on the behalf of the FBI, dressed up in MAGA hats, camouflage uniforms and ridiculous patriot-themed costumes, armed themselves with tasers, poles and bear spray, prepared huge banners with Trump’s name on them, pretended to listen to him deliver a speech at the White House, then marched on the US Capitol and committed mayhem on the Capitol Police in an attempt to discredit his supporters? You actually think that’s what happened?
MTG: There were all kinds of people involved. I’m saying there are a lot of questions to be answered.
Tom: “Questions to be answered?” About how the FBI orchestrated an attack on the US Capitol? You really believe that?
MTG: If the FBI can prove they weren’t involved, I want the Select Committee and the American people to see the evidence that they weren’t. If they say they weren’t and offer proof they weren’t, then of course I would believe them. But what’s unreasonable about asking to see the evidence?
Tom: Well, for starters, you would be requiring the FBI to prove a negative proposition, which is logically impossible.
MTG: I’m saying, there were too many coincidences to ignore.
Tom: And when you see coincidences, you immediately know there’s some kind of conspiracy going on?
Tom: Such as the Zionist supremacists who are masterminding a plot import Moslems into Europe so they can out-breed white people.
Tom: Or that the mass shootings at Parkland, Sandy Hook and Las Vegas were all staged with actors and in reality never occurred.
MTG: Right again.
Tom: And that there was a plot involving Jewish bankers in league with Pacific Gas and Electric to start wildfires in the western United States using orbiting space lasers in order to clear the way for massive high-speed rail development.
MTG: Yeah, right – prove otherwise if you can. Look, there’s a target on my back! I have radical Democrat Socialists, the fake news media and the weak-kneed Republicans trying to take me out! You think those riots we saw all year long were peaceful protests? No, they were not! They were domestic terrorists burning our cities, attacking police officers, looting our stores and private businesses, killing people and rampaging and terrorizing our country.
Tom: Isn’t that all just a bit… paranoid… Representative Greene? After all, you have been seen shouting at Representative Ocasio-Cortez in the halls of Congress, calling her a “terrorist sympathizer.” If you want to be on Pelosi’s Select Committee, shouldn’t you be choosing your words more carefully?
MTG: I think the fake new media should be choosing their words more carefully, not me! And look at how AOC behaved when I challenged her to a debate!
Tom: I don’t think a reasonable person could fault her for refusing to debate you. It’s obvious that in such an encounter, most of your remarks would essentially be ad hominem.
MTG: Hey, wait a minute! I never called her a homo! She’s on their side, sure, everybody knows that, but I never said she actually is one!
Tom: No, no, what I meant was, if you got into a debate with AOC, I’m sure she’d expect that you’d mostly spend your time insulting her, not refuting any policy points she might make.
MTG: Hell, yeah! If doing that works for President Trump, why can’t I do it? What’s your point, anyway?
Tom: That you’re so… shall we say… antagonistic… that your fellow members of Congress generally feel that it wouldn’t be… feasible… for you to serve on a committee with them. Look at that incident with Representative Marie Newman, for example, where she placed a gay pride flag next to her office door in honor of her transgender child and you posted a sign outside your office across the hall that said “There are two genders, Male and Female. Trust the Science.”
MTG: Yeah, right – she put up her flag, so I thought we’d put up sign so Newman can look at it every time she opens her door.
Tom: Exactly – and look what happened next: her colleague, Representative Sean Casten, issued a statement calling your actions “sickening, pathetic and unimaginably cruel.” Now, really, what good did that do for your image? And I’m sure you remember that the chief Republican in your own House caucus, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, issued his own statement about you, saying, “Past comments from and endorsed by Marjorie Taylor Greene on school shootings, political violence, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories do not represent the values or beliefs of the House Republican Conference.” And Representative Adam Kinzinger, another fellow Republican, told the press that while he doesn’t agree with AOC, he has never seen her behave the way you do. These are your own people…
MTG: The are not my people! They are RINOS! That’s what they are!
Tom: Now, now… see? That’s what I’m talking about. You’ve already been thrown off the two committee seats you previously had. And everyone knows this Select Committee on January 6 is going to be in the news practically every day – there’s going to be enormous media exposure for all of it’s members, and…
MTG: That’s why I want to be on it!
Tom: And that’s why we’ve got quite a challenge here, if you are going to convince your fellow members of Congress that you aren’t going to turn the Committee’s hearings in to a circus centered around attracting attention to yourself with all kinds of grandstanding stunts, insults, unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, irrelevant tangents and outrageous statements.
MTG: But… but… if I can’t turn the Committee’s hearings in to a circus centered around attracting attention to myself with all kinds of grandstanding stunts, insults, unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, irrelevant tangents and outrageous statements, what’s the point of being on the Committee in the first place?
Tom: I am beginning to suspect, Representative Greene, that you are fundamentally misunderstanding your role as a member of the the United States Congress.
MTG: No, I think you are fundamentally misunderstanding why I got elected to Congress! Now, tell me! How do I get on Nancy Pelosi’s Select Committee?
Tom: Well, have you considered blackmailing her?
MTG: Are you saying you know something juicy I could use, like she’s got a pizza parlor with child sex slaves in the basement or something?
Tom: Of course not. Maybe if it were some other members of the House of Representatives I can think of, but Nancy Pelosi has about as many skeletons in the closet as Mother Theresa. No, what I meant was, you should make it plain that if she doesn’t give you a seat on her Select Committee to Investigate January 6, you will go on Fox News, OAN and Newsmax every night that committee meets and lambaste everything that happened there that day with commentators like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Dan Ball, Stephani Hamill, Alex Salvi, Mike Huckabee and Sean Spicer.
MTG: Okay, let’s say I make sure she knows that. What if she doesn’t give in?
Tom: Then you go on Fox News, OAN and Newsmax every night it meets and lambaste everything that happened there that day with commentators like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Dan Ball, Stephani Hamill, Alex Salvi, Mike Huckabee and Sean Spicer. Since your objectives are obviously just getting public attention and raising money from brainwashed Trumpistas, either way, you can’t lose.
MTG: Don’t tell me what my objectives are!
Tom: All right, I won’t speculate on your motives or whatever. In any case, that’s my advice. And I bet it’s what you were going to do anyway.
MTG: Which makes me glad I’m not paying you!
Tom: And makes me glad I have fulfilled my professional obligation as a consultant and can click on Disconnect and go take a shower, because talking to you makes me feel absolutely filthy.
Tom: You heard me. Goodbye!