23 August 2013

Rep. Kerry Bentivolio’s Plan to Avoid Being a Laughingstock

Rep. Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan provided this week’s example of OIP Derangement Syndrome. As quoted by Buzzfeed and elsewhere, Bentivolio responded to a question about presidential impeachment at a Birmingham Bloomfield Republican Club meeting by saying:
If I could write that bill and submit it, it would be a dream come true. I feel your pain and I know. I stood twelve feet away from the guy and listened to him. I couldn’t stand being there, but because he is president I have to respect the office. . . .

I went back to my office and I’ve had lawyers come in. These are lawyers, PhDs in history, and I said, “Tell me how I can impeach the president of the United States.”

Until we have evidence, you’re going to become a laughingstock if you’ve submitted the bill to impeach the president…
OIP Derangement Syndrome usually begins with a visceral feeling of dislike about seeing Barack Obama as President. That feeling is clear in the way Bentivolio emphasizes “pain,” how he “stood 12 feet away from the guy” and “couldn’t stand being there.” Physical proximity is not a factor in rationally disagreeing with someone else’s political ideas.

Many people with OIP Derangement Syndrome seek out an acceptable reason for that visceral feeling, an excuse to tell themselves and others. Bentivolio’s dislike is so strong that he dreams of writing a bill to impeach the President, which would suggest that he needs to find very strong reasons.

But the representative is still working on that last part. He’s ready to unseat a twice-elected President, but he doesn’t have “evidence.” For rational people, collecting evidence precedes making an important decision. For Bentivolio and others with OIP Derangement Syndrome, the desired conclusion comes first, then the attempt to justify it.

As a member of Congress, Bentivolio is actually a fluke. The Republican who represented that district in Michigan botched his reelection in 2012, leaving Bentivolio as the only party candidate on the ballot. He started as a “Tea Party” candidate trying to keep the congressman from moving to the left and ended up as congressman himself.

It’s unclear when Bentivolio started to develop his current political drive. According to Human Events, he was “a local volunteer in Republican campaigns going back to Ronald Reagan in 1980.” Yet the story he told National Review put more weight on a running into Tea Party protesters:
One weekend, as he drove around in a rented car, he noticed a group of what appeared to be Revolutionary War reenactors. Intrigued, he pulled over.

“People told me they were the Tea Party, and I said, ‘You’re supposed to be in Boston!’” he says with a laugh. “And I said, ‘Well, what do you mean by that?’ ‘It stands for Taxed Enough Already.’ I said, ‘Well that’s a good idea!’”
Such Tea Party demonstrations were a 2009 reaction to the election of President Barack Obama.

Bentivolio was, among other things, a schoolteacher, and by the 2011-12 year he had developed a bad reputation for talking “constantly in class about political stuff,” as reported in the Detroit Free Press.

But he also acted in a friend’s amateur movie called The President Goes to Heaven, released in 2011, about a Bush-like President faking an attack on New York skyscrapers. And there was an odd moment in his campaign when he and his brother traded accusations of mental instability. So we may well see more news from Rep. Bentivolio, once he concludes his important campaign against traffic cameras in the District of Columbia.

1 comment:

Birmingham (MI) High School, 1958 said...

I am appalled by the remarks of Mr. Bentivolio, and reading the _Free Press_ article continued my discouragement. But I do wonder if he realizes how much he looks like Sam the Eagle.