By David Glenn Cox
Almost all of the American public have seen or heard of TV’s Dr. Phil, who spouts silly-ass “turn that frown upside down” platitudes to help people cope with their problems. There is no real harm done, but little good either as he is just so much television pap. Here in Georgia we have our own Dr. Phil; maybe you’ve heard of him but probably not. At least not until he crossed Rush Limbaugh. But our Dr. Phil is much darker; he is the moss that grows on the shady side of the tree, the mushroom that grows only in the dark.
Phil Gingrey is a cardboard cutout of a congressman; he was in Washington for six years before he appeared on national television. He has appeared on C-Span and on Fox News many times and his website is covered with Fox logos, but it is hardly the same thing as appearing in a venue where they might actually question those things that he says. Our poor Dr. Phil had to be reminded why he hadn’t done it earlier. His six years in congress had taught him to not speak until spoken to and not answer questions with anything but a pat answer.
Commenting on Rush Limbaugh, Gingery said, “I mean, it’s easy if you’re Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh, or even sometimes Newt Gingrich, to stand back and throw bricks. You don’t have to try to do what’s best for your people and your party. You know you’re just on these talk shows and you’re living well and plus you stir up a bit of controversy and gin the base and that sort of thing. But when it comes to true leadership, not that these people couldn’t be or wouldn’t be good leaders, they’re not in that position of John Boehner or Mitch McConnell.”
Gingrey likes to describe himself as more physician than politician, a good ole boy with a heart of gold. He is a Cobb County OBGYN who has delivered more than 5,000 babies, and he has the conservative credentials to backup where his heart truly lies. “I’m proud of saying and voting just where I feel all the time,” said Gingery. “Let’s take abortion. My record with Georgia Right to Life speaks for itself. My opponent says he’s opposed to abortion, but always has to add that he’d make exceptions where ‘the health of the mother’ is involved. Now think about that: Health of the mother could mean a headache or a cold-which means any excuse for an abortion will be permitted. This is the same excuse Bill Clinton used to veto a ban on partial-birth abortions.”
I don’t know, sounds like a politician to me, and a pretty disingenuous one at that. A candidate might be excused for such ignorance in family planning issues, but a physician?
Gingrey describes his comments on Rush as a misunderstanding. “As long as I am in the Congress, I will continue to fight for and defend our sacred (Sacred?) values. I have actively opposed every bailout, every rebate check, every so-called ‘stimulus.’ And on so many of these things, I see eye-to-eye with Rush Limbaugh. Regardless of what yesterday’s headline may have read, I never told Rush to back off. I regret and apologize for the fact that my comments have offended and upset my fellow conservatives—that was not my intent. I am also sorry to see that my comments in defense of our Republican Leadership read much harsher than they actually were intended, but I recognize it is my responsibility to clarify my own comments.”
It leaves one to ask the question, is Gingrey that stupid or does he just think that we are? Perhaps it’s Gingrey’s ability to say as little as possible that keeps him in Congress? Gingrey supports the Bush tax cuts (bailouts for the rich) and he is in favor of letting the free market work in health care. He’s proud that the free market has given America the most expensive health care system in the world and an infant mortality rate higher than that of Communist Cuba.
Perhaps Gingrey should come visit us here in his district sometime, not for photo ops with happy, smiling children but on a walking tour of Marietta. To take a look at a city in trouble, a city with too many empty storefronts and shuttered businesses. Within one mile of Gingrey’s Marietta office are the unmistakable signs of economic malady and hardship. Maybe these things aren’t obvious through the tinted glass of backseat limousine windows. Maybe there is not enough time to count the cars or lack of cars in the store parking lots. Gingrey opposed the bailouts for the big three American automakers. He was quick to apologize to Rush Limbaugh, but for the employees of the fifteen new American car dealerships in his district, he has no apologies.
Old Doc Gingrey is in the medical business; he is the medical business. A quarter of all the money our own Dr. Phil raised for his campaign was from health care professionals, insurance companies, and the pharmaceutical companies. His healthcare connections and his conservative credentials combine for a congressman with the agenda of preventing change rather than promoting it. A sentinel on the front line of the healthcare crisis, he is a congressman that warms a seat but does little more for us. Who recites half a dozen well-worn catch phrases about God and country while working for special interests. A congressman who points to those who support him, rather than pointing to what he’s accomplished.
Perhaps the reason that Phil Gingrey remains so quiet on that point is because he is a humble man, or perhaps it is because he is a man with so much to be humble about?
Voted NO on allowing human embryonic stem cell research.
Voted NO on defining “energy emergency” on federal gas prices.
Voted NO on revitalizing severely distressed public housing.
Voted NO on regulating the subprime mortgage industry.
Voted YES on restricting bankruptcy rules.
Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Voted NO on giving mental health full equity with physical health.
Voted NO on requiring negotiated Rx prices for Medicare part D.
Voted YES on denying non-emergency treatment for lack of Medicare co-pay.
Voted NO on requiring FISA warrants for wiretaps in US.
Voted YES on allowing electronic surveillance without a warrant.
Voted YES on continuing intelligence gathering without civil oversight.
Voted NO on increasing minimum wage to $7.25.
Rated 0% by the ARA, indicating an anti-senior voting record.
Voted NO on establishing “network neutrality” (non-tiered Internet).
Voted NO on providing $70 million for Section 8 Housing vouchers.
Voted YES on deauthorizing “critical habitat” for endangered species.
Voted YES on speeding up approval of forest thinning projects.
Voted NO on tax incentives for renewable energy.
Voted NO on tax incentives for energy production and conservation.
Voted YES on making the PATRIOT Act permanent.
Voted NO on allowing stockholder voting on executive compensation.
Voted YES on replacing illegal export tax breaks with $140B in new breaks.
Voted YES on implementing CAFTA, Central America Free Trade
Voted YES on implementing US-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
Voted YES on implementing free trade agreement with Chile.
Voted YES on promoting free trade with Peru.
Voted NO on assisting workers who lose jobs due to globalization.
Voted NO on protecting whistleblowers from employer recrimination.
Voted YES on emergency $78B for war in Iraq & Afghanistan.
Voted NO on extending AMT exemptions to avoid hitting middle-income.
Voted YES on retaining reduced taxes on capital gains & dividends.
“I’m proud of saying and voting just where I feel all the time,”
If this is what Dr. Phil considers doing what is best for us then I think I’d rather throw bricks. Our own nocturnal Dr. Phil is a Nosferatu, hiding in the shadows and working for the darker powers with an agenda of helping the few at the expense of the many. Perhaps it is not bricks that we need to combat him but wooden stakes, and failing that perhaps the morning sunshine to prevent him from returning to his dark resting place.
“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress, but I repeat myself.” Mark Twain
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.