Last night I watched the wonderful (though dated) Mister Roberts on DVD where James Cagney‘s Captain Morton (with a thick New England accent) helps us understood another mean-spirited New Englander, the unhappy Barney Frank.Â Cagney, resentful of “college guys” who pushed him around when he was growing up, takes it out on his crew, bullying them, saying he knows “how to take care of smart boys:”
I hate your guts, you smart college guys! I’ve been seeing your kind around since I was ten years old… working as a busboy. “Oh busboy, it seems my friend has thrown up on the table. Clean up that mess, boy, will’ya?” And then when I went to sea as a steward… people poking at you with umbrellas. “Oh, boy!”, “You, boy!”, “Careful with that luggage, boy!” And I took it. I took it for years! But I don’t have to take it any more.
As I’ve suggested before, it seems that in bullying corporate executives and Republicans, Barney’s venting inner demons which built up in his psyche when he was bullied in grade school.
But, just as their are sanctions for the schoolyard bully, it seems there are also sanctions for his congressional counterpart.Â Yesterday, when he accused Republicans who criticized of suffering from “psychological disorder,” may have violated the rules of the House.Â His behavior reminded me of that of his former Bay State colleague, though he had less grounds for his insults than did Tip O’Neill nearly a quarter-century ago.
In May 1984, then-Georgia Congressman Newt Gingrich faulted
. . . Democrats for believing â€œAmerica does nothing right.â€ [Then-]House Speaker Tip O’Neill (D-Mass.) called Gingrich’s attack â€œthe lowest thing I’ve ever seen in my 32 years in Congress.â€ But Gingrich and an ally, then-Rep. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), demanded that O’Neill’s attack on Gingrich be struck from the record and it was, marking the first time since 1798 that a speaker had been rebuked in such as way.
Turns out members of Congress “are forbidden from making personal attacks on one another.“Â Now, saying your fellow Congressman suffer from a “psychological disorder” certainly sounds like an insult to me.
Seems an investigation is in order.