Friday, May 27, 2022

Mary Miller, lying

Congresswoman Mary Miller (R, IL-15) questioned (context unknown) Dr. Miguel Cardona, Secretary of Education. I assume their conversation followed the massacre in Uvalde, Texas. Miller shared an excerpt from the conversation on Twitter, so she must think it went well. But all I see in it is a crazy quilt of lies and irrelevancies ending in a self-own: “Right.” I am willing to go into detail:

My transcription of the exchange:
Miller: The Democrats definitely supported defunding the police for two years. They painted it on the sidewalks of burning cities. They shouted it while burning down police stations in Minneapolis. Vice President Harris herself raised money to bail out the rioters. And your favorite leftist TV stations have covered it all. All Americans saw it. And so now, what I want to know: You represent the Biden administration. Has the Biden administration changed their stance? Do they still support defunding the police, or do they now say school resource officers belong in the schools? We would like to know.

Cardona: I’m not sure if you were present at the State of the Union [she wasn’t ], but the president said we need to fund the police more, not defund the police. I recall that, sitting there, and it felt pretty strongly that there was a clear message there.

Miller: Right. I call that hypocrisy. I taught my children that, uhm, you know, what you do is more important than what you say.
A few observations:

~ It is simply untrue for two years Democrats as a group “definitely” supported defunding police and that they “kicked police out of schools.” Miller doesn’t acknowledge a police presence at the elementary school in Uvalde.

~ It is simply untrue that “they” — Democrats — painted slogans and burned down police stations.

~ The slogan Defund the Police did appear on streets in Milwaukee and Washington, D.C. — and in Hamilton, Ontario, and perhaps elsewhere. But the more memorable and visible slogan by far, painted on streets, not sidewalks: Black Lives Matter. The context for both slogans — the police murder of George Floyd — is interestingly absent from Miller’s narrative.

~ “Vice President Harris herself raised money to bail out the rioters”: Snopes rates the claim that Harris bailed out rioters as “mostly false.”

~ All cable news covered the protests, non-violent and otherwise, that followed George Floyd’s murder. If “leftist” TV stations alone (she must mean CNN and MSNBC) had covered protests, “all Americans” wouldn’t have seen them.

~ Miller’s response to Cardona — “Right” — is a self-own to remember. Faced with an assertion that she’s wrong about the facts, all she can do is say “Right” and keep going.

~ About actions and words: What you do and what you say are both important, and as any student of speech-act theory knows, to say often is to do. What Miller says here is dishonest nonsense, painting all members of a political party with a broad brush, attributing to them actions they had no part in. (I recall Bob Dole’s characterization of World War II as a “Democrat war.”) What Miller has done during her time in Washington: nothing of substance for her district or her country. She pushes The Big Lie, engages in stunts (refusing to wear a mask, signing on to ludicrous legislation that goes nowhere), foments against trans kids in the “wrong” bathrooms, and votes consistently on the wrong side of every issue: against aid to Ukraine, against money for infant formula, against a bill to stop price-gouging for fuel, against the Congressional Gold Medal for police who defended the Capitol on January. I could go on, but I already have in a May 2021 post.

~ What Miller refuses to say anything about is the need for legislation to limit access to guns. She touts her support for the Second Amendment, which she regards as permitting unimpeded access to firearms for all. When I called her office today, I asked the fellow who answered the phone (who, I suspected, was getting many calls) what Miller would say about portable nuclear weapons (a hypothetical I’ve borrowed from Bryan Garner). Would they be permitted under the Second Amendment? The fellow on the phone said that he couldn’t speak for the congresswoman. Nor was it professional for him to give an opinion, he said. “I hope you get a shitload of calls today,” I said. “Please don’t say that,” said he.

Related reading
All OCA Mary Miller posts (Pinboard)

[Derek Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson had that same odd habit of saying “Right” after a witness contradicted him.]

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