A de­cline in fun­da­men­tal de­cency in Wash­ing­ton, . ..

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Michelle Malkin

Ev­ery­thing you hate about the cul­ture of Wash­ing­ton is sym­bol­ized in two re­cent al­ter­ca­tions in­volv­ing two ob­nox­ious Belt­way buttin­skis, one Demo­crat and one Repub­li­can.

“Buttin­skis,” you say? I’ve writ­ten about them be­fore. They’re the bi­par­ti­san push­ers and shovers, the VIP line-cut­ters who in­voke the “Don’t you know who I am?” card to el­bow past the lit­tle peo­ple, cir­cum­vent se­cu­rity lines and ex­empt them­selves from the rules the rest of us have to fol­low.

Demo­crat Rep. Bob Fil­ner made head­lines this week for pulling a buttin­ski act at Dulles Air­port in Wash­ing­ton. Ac­cord­ing to press ac­counts, the lib­eral con­gress­man was an­gered that his bag­gage hadn’t ar­rived. He re­port­edly pushed aside an air­line em­ployee’s arm and re­fused to leave a re­stricted area. The em­ployee has pressed mis­de­meanor charges of as­sault and bat­tery against the law­maker, who scoffed that the al­le­ga­tions were “ridicu­lous” and “fac­tu­ally in­cor­rect.”

Ridicu­lous that he would lose his tem­per? This is the same con­gress­man who shouted and cursed out two Vet­er­ans’ Af­fairs of­fi­cials last sum­mer af­ter a news con­fer­ence — lob­bing foul ob­scen­i­ties at the of­fi­cials in front of re­porters.

If he were any or­di­nary Bob, the con­gress­man would be sit­ting be­hind bars for his latest bad be­hav­ior. But Mr. Fil­ner is free un­til a court date on Oct. 2. He’s too busy to ex­plain his ac­tions to con­stituents, his of­fice says, be­cause he is “on his way to Iraq, visit­ing our troops.” What will he do if his bags get lost in Bagh­dad? Should that hap­pen, I’d love to see Mr. Fil­ner try to pull on the troops what he al­legedly pulled on the civil­ian air­line em­ployee.

Belt­way-itis in­fects both par­ties. For ev­ery f-bomb-drop­ping Bob Fil­ner and slap-happy Cyn­thia McKin­ney and boor­ish Pa­trick Kennedy (who was caught on tape shov­ing a fe­male se­cu­rity guard at a Los An­ge­les air­port while flash­ing his con­gres­sional ID badge), there’s a Christo­pher Shays. The GOP con­gress­man last month went ape when chal­lenged by a Capi­tol Po­lice of­fi­cer, dis­play­ing clas­sic buttin­ski symp­toms of ar­ro­gance, elitism, lack of ba­sic de­cency and con­tempt for the com­mon man.

Politico.com re­ported that Mr. Shays got into a loud, an­gry dis­pute with a U.S. Capi­tol Po­lice of­fi­cer at a se­cu­rity check­point. He re­port­edly reached for the of­fi­cer’s iden­ti­fi­ca­tion dur­ing the dis­pute over whether the of­fi­cer should al­low a group of tourists to en­ter the build­ing. Tourists are barred from an en­trance Mr. Shays was try­ing to barge through with the group. The Repub­li­can law­maker “yelled and screamed” at the of­fi­cer. Con­gres­sional Quar­terly char­ac­ter­ized Mr. Shays’ hissy fit as a “pro­fan­ity-laced tirade” in which the law­maker grabbed the offi- cer’s nametag.

Mr. Shays is­sued an apol­ogy (“The Con­gress­man stated his full sup­port and ad­mi­ra­tion for the of­fi­cers of the U.S. Capi­tol Po­lice and of­fered his apolo­gies”), but not be­fore em­bar­rass­ing him­self as a Capi­tol diva. A leg­isla­tive Lind­say Lo­han in a suit and tie. Reps. Shays and Fil­ner are just the latest in a long line of Belt­way Brat Pack­ers, and they won’t be the last. For the line-jumpers and el­bow-jab­bers in power, as I’ve said be­fore, “pub­lic ser­vice” means never hav­ing to say you’re sorry for be­hav­ing like a royal pain in the [. . .] buttin­ski.

Michelle Malkin is a na­tion­ally syn­di­cated colum­nist.

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