Why is it that those who wrap themselves up in the flag tend to be the most corrupt? By now everyone has read about the California Republican congressman known as “Duke” Cunningham who pled guilty yesterday to graft, corruption and tax evasion. However, it’s easy to forget the Congressman’s significant achievement while in Congress — the flag burning amendment — that didn’t quite make it through the Senate. Not only that, but he made a name for himself in other ways:
He has cursed at a constituent, referred to gays in the military as “homos,” made a crude comment about a gay lawmaker, called a Democratic congresswoman a “socialist” and said the House’s liberal leaders should be “lined up and shot.”
He once challenged a Democratic congressman to a fight on the House floor and got into a scuffle over Bosnia policy with Rep. James Moran, D-Va., until Capitol police broke it up.
“I think his persona — the whole reputation as a war hero and the ‘Top Gun’ thing — give him … a little more leeway,” one top Republican aide said recently.
During a defense appropriations subcommittee hearing in 2002, for instance, Cunningham found a bizarre way to express his frustration over the military’s loss of two F-14s.
“Sometimes you wake up in the morning and you want to strangle Mary Poppins,” he told his colleagues. “That’s kind of how I feel.”
Well, Duke, I kind of feel that way too, but Mary Poppins isn’t who I have in mind.