Observer calls out McHenry

cross-posted at dKos

The Charlotte Observer editorial board, like most of us, watched Patrick McHenry's ugly attack on Elizabeth Warren--and this morning, let it be known that it isn't pleased.

No matter your political view, rude and boorish behavior from our politicians should be unacceptable. Those who represent us should display the best of us - even when disagreements get heated.

Shame, then, on our own U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry. This week he became Exhibit A of the coarse incivility that has become the hallmark of political discourse in this country.

In the Observer's view, McHenry's nitpicky line of questioning "crossed every etiquette line imaginable." The editorial also points out that when McHenry accused Warren of lying--both about her role in negotiating a settlement on improper foreclosures and about whether she could leave the hearing--he stopped just short of accusing her of a crime. For those who don't remember, it's a crime to lie to Congress.

It also reveals that McHenry is ignorant of the financial reform law. He accused Warren of overstepping her authority by helping state attorneys general negotiate the settlement--even though the new law requires her involvement. It then reminds us of the biggest reason for his myopia--he was "carrying water for Wall Street interests that are his biggest financial supporters."

The Observer then goes out of its way to point out Warren's credentials.

Warren least of all deserves these attacks. As an academic she sounded some of the first warnings about abusive financial dealings, deregulation problems and rising consumer debt issues. More than a decade ago she began calling attention to a looming financial disaster and began pushing for reforms. As special adviser, she has been hard at work on strategies to educate consumers and to protect them from abuses by financial agencies.

In January, she brought in Holly Petraeus, wife of Gen. David Petraeus, who in the past has been mentioned as a GOP presidential candidate, as head of the consumer bureau's efforts to curb financial abuses against military families. Holly Petraeus headed a Better Business Bureau on consumer issues for military families.

Warren recognizes that consumer protections have no party label.

About the only quibble I have with this piece is the Observer's characterization of McHenry's behavior as lack of respect for his constituents, and its request that the voters in NC-10 make him see the error of his ways. You have to remember, districts as insanely Republican as McHenry's (R+17!) eat this kind of stuff up. To the great majority of the folks McHenry represents in Gastonia, Hickory and Morganton, he was just putting that pointy-headed Massachusetts librul Warren in her place. Never mind that most of his constituents got screwed up and down when the financial crisis hit--this is a classic "God, gays and guns" district. And in all likelihood, he's going to grow old in this seat. For this reason, McHenry is not only Exhibit A of the lack of civility in Washington. He's exhibit A of what happens when politicians are allowed to effectively choose their constituents.