Shame on the established America media for giving so much air time to convicted former Congressman James Traficant who offers nothing but a populous sound bite and venom to his former colleagues.
Since his release from prison last month, Traficant has spent much of his time on the air waves pleading his innocence to a racketeering conviction and vendetta against the Justice Department and the Jewish lobby.
In the interviews he has threatened to re-enter politics and slay the dragons that exist in his mind. The man is a disgrace and the only oxygen he receives on his political death bed is his penchant for famous quotes such as Beam me up." For that reason, the media can't stay away from him. Whatever substance he offers is in the eye of the beholder.
Congress can ill afford yet another sham artist bullying his way with appeals to the "little guy."
On a recent appearance on MSNBC's Chris Mathews show, Traficant said "I still have Federales swarming around me. They won't admit that, but they're looking for every opportunity to send me back."
Over the course of their interview, Traficant decried spending and taxes, claimed to have spoken at Tea Party Rallies, and professed support for a "fair tax" and the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service. His zingers included the well-known "Beam me up" but a new one, "Stimulate this." He chastised Mathews for muddying his name by referring to him as "congressman."Some highlights on a recent CNN morning show:
• On his incarceration in which he served much of his time at a medical facility in Rochester, Minn. "They said I had a medical problem," he told CNN's John Roberts, because "I wouldn't take the medication" saying he didn't trust prison officials.
• On whether he will run for Congress: "I am not sure at this point," he said, noting, "the only way I can get back at the justice department is to get back into Congress."On observations by Mayor Jay Williams of Youngstown, Ohio, that Traficant "no longer represents who we are," Traficant said he had yet to meet the mayor, adding in a list of his own accomplishments, "Those three bridges he crosses when he goes to work? I built them."
Traficant told Roberts: "I am going to have a lot of political opposition," should he run for office, "but I don't give a damn."Fox News' Greta Van Susteren was the first to interview Traficant the day he was released from prison. Here is that network's account of the interview:
Susteren asked him if he has any grudges. Traficant says that he was the number one target of American Israeli Public Affairs Committee and the Justice Department. He goes on to say that "he believes that Israel has a powerful stranglehold on the American government. They're controlling much of our foreign policy. They're influencing much of our domestic policy.
(Paul) Wolfowitz as undersecretary of defense manipulated President Bush number two back into Iraq. They've pushed definitely, definitely to try to get Bush before he left to move into Iran. We're conducting the expansionist policy of Israel and everybody's afraid to say it. They control much of the media, they control much of the commerce of the country, and they control powerfully both bodies of the Congress. They own the Congress."
Greta asks him, "are you an antisemite," Traficant replies, "what I am is an American. You see, I think America comes first. And we have a one-sided foreign policy in the Mideast, and we've alienated Arabs who have no way of fighting. So, what they've done -- and I predicted this on the House floor -- is they would export violence to America. And they have. They have no other way to fight.".
He adds, "they have us involved in wars in which we have little or no interest. Our children are coming back in body bags. Our nation is bankrupt over these wars. And if you open your mouth, you get targeted. And if they don't beat you at the poll, they'll put you in prison." He says "Israel gets approximately $15 billion a year from the American taxpayers. That $15 billion is $30,000 for every man, woman and child. And people in my district are losing their pension benefits."
Traficant talked about his controversial defense of John Demanjuk, who was accused of Nazi war crimes, and was facing execution by Israel. Traficant's used the freedom of information act to prove he was innocent and who the real individual was. A ruling by Israel's supreme court released him but Traficant's role angered the Jewish Establishment in America. Demanjuk is now facing trial in Germany, despite being found innocent by Israel.
Unlike most convicted politicians who are sent to country club prisons, he was not given any special treatment. He said he spent time in solitary confinement and was put in danger in a prison full of many illegal immigrants, being a staunch opponent of illegal immigration. He talks about how his experience in prison has changed his entire outlook on the justice system and that he now believes no one should go to prison for non-violent offenses and that he wishes he did more to right the war on drugs when he was in congress.
Unlike Van Susteren, I fail to have a Pavlovian response to Traficant's populist tirades and sound bite zingers. Oh, I suppose if I lived in his Ohio district I would appreciate the bridges he said he had built. But that is not enough to overcome his buffoonery.
The man is a clown and we already have enough incompetent but well-meaning comic operas going on inside the halls of congress and our nation's airways.
I'll make the same pledge about Traficant as I did Sarah Palin: No more stories from me about them until they offer a substantive discourse to politics as we know it in our country.