Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jon Tevlin snags the coveted Spotty (tm)

Jon Tevlin, a columnist for the Strib, is ordinarily a pretty affable guy. He harbors few illusions about people and seems to like them, nevertheless. Jon is one of those generous spirits who'd be fun to have around and wouldn't point out your all of your shortcomings at every turn.

Medallion by Tild
Which makes his column about Michele Bachmann (and Tim Pawlenty) all the more interesting. Bachmann, especially, has apparently been a festering sore for Tevlin for a while, and he let it out in his column on Wednesday. For that he wins a Spotty (tm). Hypocrisy is always grist for a good journalist's mill, and Tevlin finds plenty of it in Bachmann has a love-hate relationship with government.

Before launching into an extended juxtaposition of Bachmann's public anti-government rhetoric and her private succor from it, however, he makes an observation about Bachmann, that I will admit, annoys me, too:
"I'm a mom; I'm not a politician," Bachmann said shortly before winning the [Iowa straw] poll. 
That's like me saying, "I'm a husband; I'm not a newspaperman."
What Tevlin was kind enough not to say is what a ruthless character Bachmann has been since she started slitting throats in the Republican party to become a state senator; she is an avatar for a grasping politician.

The column recites some rich examples at odds with Bachmann's government-largess-hater public persona: a couple hundred thousand dollars paid to a farm partnership in which Bachmann and Marcus are partners, a federal grant to Marcus' counseling practice (which by the way, probably violated the terms of the grant by engaging in so-called "reparative therapy"), and, perhaps my favorite, liberal use (I really like that word in this context) of the federal government's maternity leave policies when she was an IRS lawyer.

But -- professionally speaking -- my absolute favorite part of the column is where Tevlin recounts that in her four years as an IRS attorney, she was such a lamentable, painful scrub [my words] that she got sent into action twice, against a low-paid White Earth Indian Reservation resident who thought his income was exempt on religious grounds, and against a warehouse worker, where the amount in controversy was $13,000. [hysterical laughter; sorry] It's just too bad that the Little Sisters of the Poor are a nonprofit.

Good ol' Michele, grinding the faces of the poor at every opportunity.

Remember, a Spotty (tm) is awarded for an op-ed piece, a letter to the editor, or a blog post that Spot wishes he had written himself.

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