Last night I attended the taping of Real Time With Bill Maher in Los Angeles and was absolutely horrified at the many lies and distortions coming unchallenged from Republican Congressman Jack Kingston. The rest of the panel, David Frum and Amy Walter, are no prizes but at least have some credibility left after Friday's episode.
Let's take a close look at Kingston's nonsense.
-- Rambling on about Michelle Obama's patriotism, Kingston either lied or is completely misinformed about her "pride" remark, "She could have jumped up and said 'You know what, that's not what I meant to say and I'm sorry if people are twisting it - this is politics,' but she hasn't said anything!" That's totally untrue; both Sen.Obama and Michelle have responded to the comments. "I know I wouldn't be here. Standing here. Barack and I, our stories wouldn't be possible if it weren't for a fundamental belief in pride in this country and what it stands for," she said on Feb 20th while campaigning in Rhode Island.
-- Kingston tells us that Obama refuses to say the Pledge Of Allegiance, citing the "famous picture" of Obama not saluting the flag. This rumor originated in an anonymous e-mail and has since been debunked repeatedly by the mainstream media. The truth is that the photo is actually of Obama singing the Star Spangled Banner. It's sad to see any elected official still parroting the lies in that now-notorious chain e-mail.
-- The Congressman says Obama wants to "Bomb Pakistan" -- which is a broad oversimplification of the truth. "Barack Obama has never said he would "attack Pakistan." According to Obama's website, he has said that he would attack "high-level terrorist targets" even within Pakistan, a policy which has been endorsed in the Washington Post by the Co-Chairmen of the 9/11 Commission, Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton.
-- Attacking Obama's legislative record, Kingston tells quite a few lies. "There is nothing out there that he's done," is an old lazy favorite. "Obama hasn't reached across party lines" is a canard Republican Senators like Bond, Coburn, Hagel, and Lugar would disagree with since each of them have worked closely on bills with Senator Obama. Kingston says Obama didn't oppose the Military Commissions Act, but he did oppose it. (Kingston talks lots about experience for a guy who spent his non-political life as an insurance salesman.)
I have no idea why Bill Maher would provide someone like Jack Kingston a national platform. This is a guy who opposes embryonic stem cell research, has sponsored resolutions calling for the Ten Commandments to be displayed in Congressional Chambers, and was a cosponsor of the original Clinton impeachment inquiry. The National Journal has called him "the most conservative member of the house." In one of his rare truthful moments, Kingston referred to Obama using his full name, just to show how utterly classless he is. An eight-term Congressman, Kingston is the strongest argument I've seen for congressional term limits. (Hell, he couldn't even pronounce Gitmo.)