America’s Wang: The Curt Clawson Saga (continued)

Detail of 1921 map of Florida, including Fort Myers and Lee County, in Florida's Nineteenth Congressional District.

Detail: Rep. Curt Clawson, R-Fla., carries a Bible for as ceremonial swearing-in with Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, June 25, 2014.  (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)Okay … so … right. Following up on an earlier item, Rep. Curt Clawson (R), the second-string backbencher from Florida’s Nineteenth, apparently figured out that he might have committed something of a teensy gaffe. One only wonders how many staffers and colleagues needed to try before the errant congressman clued in.

But Clawson is a clown straight out of a Silverstein poem. Or, as Steve Benen notes:

The dust has obviously settled and Clawson eventually did the only thing he could do.

Clawson won a special election last month to replace Trey Radel, who resigned following a cocaine bust. The political novice, who was a businessman and college basketball player before running for office, apologized in a statement sent to our Gannett colleague, Ledyard King.

“I made a mistake in speaking before being fully briefed and I apologize. I’m a quick study, but in this case I shot an air ball,” Clawson said.

This might have been a more straightforward apology without the “being fully briefed” comment – the congressman really shouldn’t blame his staff for this one – but the apology otherwise gets the job done.

It is ironic nearly to the point of silly. Then again, Clawson is the Tea Party understudy to the guy who managed to get chased out of Congress for cocaine. Still, though, we might set aside the superficial aspect of Benen’s critique. Everybody on the Hill blames their staffers for not being able to read their minds and know what idiotically simple and obvious things the politician needs to be told. If we wish to be superficial, we might also remind that it’s a bit more than an “air ball”. But think about it for a moment. This singular collapse of awareness and competence is such that Clawson did not even bother trying the non-apology. And, yet …

… before we completely move on, Colby Itkowitz noted one more relevant detail.

Adding a layer of irony to last week’s embarrassing performance – you know, when a U.S. congressman mistook a non-white U.S. official for a foreigner – the Indian American woman witness once was a staffer on the same committee.

Right. And now we need a punch line.

No, we don’t.

But, hey, this is Congressman Curt Clawson, Republican for Florida’s Nineteenth Congressional District. The pride of Bonita Springs is always good for a punch line:

Biswal was introduced as a former committee staffer during the hearing, though Clawson apparently missed it.

Something about awareness and competence? How is it that one can dispense with the insulting non-apology, aim for the real thing, and manage to make things worse? Well, it is Curt Clawson, after all, second fiddle to the amateur cokehead. Competence seems something of a challenge in Florida’s Nineteenth. Yeah. That happened, apparently. Ladies and Gentlemen, your Republican Party.

____________________

Benen, Steve. “Clawson regrets ‘air ball'”. msnbc. 29 July 2014.

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