The 5 Most Garbage Democrats In Congress
A few months ago, we released an abbreviated list of the 250 shittiest Republicans in Congress. Rightfully, some commenters wondered when we'd publish a similar list criticizing the flabbiest of donkey butts in congressional seats. Unfortunately, the truth is that there simply aren't enough dumb, duplicitous, or downright dirty Democrats to fill such a- just kidding. The Blue Wave has so many turds floating in it that we can't figure out why the right bothers to make up liberal scandals when it could simply clap its hands and repeat these names ...
Gregory Meeks Is Cartoonishly Corrupt
Gregory Meeks, representative for New York's 5th congressional district, isn't merely a crooked politician. He's a Disney Channel version of a crooked politician, so blatantly corrupt that even a band of scrappy preteens could figure out his schemes.
Meeks is a badly written Dickensian character, a shameless huckster who hides behind a flimsy veneer of humility. He tries to convince people he's "a bridge builder" (just like George Parker, before he tried selling them one), and the kind of poor civil servant who only has a few thousand dollars in the bank. The problem is that he says that from behind the half-rolled-down window of the Lexus he's driving to his million-dollar house -- a house he quite innocently bought at a $400,000 discount from a guy who coincidentally contributed to and received money from him in his capacity as a congressperson. And when he's not at his mansion, Meeks uses his campaign and political action committee funds jet-setting to luxury hotels in places like Monte Carlo and the Virgin Islands -- missions he deems vital for his political office as representative of Queens, New York.
But the list is far from complete. He also stands accused of funneling thousands of dollars of campaign money through a company owned by his chief of staff's wife (literally named Patsy) and "losing" over 95% of the charity money he collected for Hurricane Katrina victims. But the most ballsy of all had to be when he went to Caracas to chat with Hugo Chavez about maybe jailing the enemy of a donor. Meek's level of grift is so staggering that the head of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has put the congressman on their yearly '"politicians to watch go to white-collar prison" list, adding: "Given the breadth of his misdeeds, it is surprising Rep. Meeks hasn't found himself in handcuffs already."
So why hasn't he been caught and sent to Scooby-Doo villain jail yet? As you may have noticed over the past six months, it's real hard to hold federal-level politicians accountable in this country. That's not going to get easier, since Meeks has become Queens County Democratic Party chairman, making him the head of the "Queens machine," which rivals the old Tammany Hall in both political favor-trading and thick New York accents. So until the Department of Justice is run by a Democrat who won't mind teaching middle school civics after their next election, Meeks will be free to continue with his dastardly schemes, which we can only assume will culminate in him dressing up as the damned specter of Mr. Met and haunting an ailing amusement park for insurance money.
Collin Peterson Screws The Planet On Behalf Of Farmers
It sure seems like the climate crisis has split American politics straight down party lines, with Democrats with the 99% of scientists who've declared it a global crisis and Republicans, as always, with the 1%. But whoever believes that hasn't met Representative Collin Peterson of Minnesota, who would set the world on fire himself if it would get his farmers a warmer harvest season.
Peterson is one of the last members of the "Blue Dog Coalition," which sounds like a D.C. garage band made up entirely of dudes in Birkenstocks, but is actually a faction of Dems who are fiscally conservative and socially apathetic -- the kind of Democrats whom Republicans vote for when they want their bi daughter to show up for Thanksgiving. And never having a progressive thought in his head is exactly how Collins manages to stay in office as a Democrat while representing one of the thickest parts of Minnesota's Trump-friendly farm belt. In fact, Collins leans more Republican than some Republicans, being one of only three Democrats who voted against impeachment and one of two who put their names under a letter asking the Supreme Court to pretty please reconsider revoking abortion rights.
But Peterson's blackest mark is a sooty one, as he's the only establishment Democrat still firmly in the climate denial camp, the kind of guy who doesn't believe in global warming because "we've just had the biggest floods and coldest winters we've ever had." As the House Agriculture Chairman, Collins is constantly pushing green deals onto the back burner (the coal one he leaves running all day), pretending farmers are being victimized by green activists and running a scorched-earth policy on climate legislation. No really, his solution for solving the wildfire crisis is to destroy every inch of wilderness to protect his precious farms.
And if you're wondering how many bridges Peterson is willing to flood for his constituents, this is a man who helped pass a bill to cut aid for starving Yemeni children so he could get his hands on farming funds quicker. Real salt of the earth, this guy.
Related: 5 Huge (And Under-Reported) Problems With Trump's Cabinet
Tim Ryan Courts The "Yoga Vote" By Legitimizing Anti-Vaxxers
Next to supporting big government and being cool with minorities (while still keeping your car doors locked while driving downtown), championing healthcare is one of the defining traits of being a mainstream Democrat. And nobody cares more about health than Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio's 13th congressional district. You might even say he's a bit of a health nut -- emphasis on the "nut," as he's spent significant clout signal-boosting the kind of health bloggers who think vaccines cause autism.
Ryan is the political equivalent of a divorced dad who just got an age-inappropriate girlfriend. Once a conservative blue-collar guy who loved his guns and hated women's bodies, he has become obsessed with healthy living in his late 30s. Setting aside Rust Belt politics, the congressman has shifted to proposing healthy eating bills and promoting fitness and mindfulness. Through this, he is trying to court the "yoga vote" -- that is, college-educated white women who read health blogs, have unironically bought vagina stones from Goop, and most importantly, feel, like, really bad for voting for Trump in disturbingly high numbers. Ryan believed that with the help of his Downward Dog Democrats, he could challenge Nancy Pelosi's leadership, and even briefly ran to be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2020.
But Ryan has gone so deep into this lifestyle that he has had run-ins with its seedy-yet-taut underbelly. While it's important to note that his stance as an elected official is still pro-vaccination, this hasn't stopped him from helping spread the message of anti-vaxxers. People like Vani Hari, aka the Food Babe, the kind of science skeptic who thinks that everything contains hidden toxins because she found out her favorite nutrition bar had 41 grams of sugar. Hari has often been accused of being an anti-science fearmonger, going so far as calling people who get flu shots "lemmings" and claiming that vaccinating kids causes autism.
Ryan also palls around with Dr. Mark Hyman, who's not only a vaccine skeptic, but also not a fan water fluoridation, claiming fluoride is a neurotoxin that damages children's brains. That's about as scientifically sound as saying that putting fluoride in water is bad because it prevents witches from floating. Despite this, Ryan has abetted Hyman's hysteria, going on panels with him and even introducing the quack to the Irish prime minister during an official state visit.
Ryan's also publicly praised his Food Babe, writing a blurb for her book Food Babe Way: Break Free From The Hidden Toxins In Your Food, And Lose Weight, Look Years Younger, And Get Healthy In Just 21 Days. He also dedicated several pages to her work in his own book, The Real Food Revolution: Healthy Eating, Green Groceries, And The Return Of The American Family Farm. (Jesus Christ, for people who count calories, they sure don't cut back on titles.) Sadly, after failing to get Democratic voters fired up for his leadership bids, Ryan seems to have slid back into a more familiarly moderate Democrat persona: bashing Bernie Sanders on Fox News. Oh, Ryan. What would Gwyneth Paltrow say?
Related: The Real Problem With The GOP We're Too Distracted To Notice
Bob Menendez Will Be Your Bestest Friend (For Campaign Donations)
Senator Robert "Bob" Menendez is the Platonic ideal of a corrupt politician. Nice and straightforwardly, in return for campaign contributions, he'll become your pal.
Menendez is rich in friendship -- and money, since all of his friends turn out to be big donors. And like best buds, sometimes Menendez helps them out, like with moving, or dropping them off at the airport, or using his influence as chief Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to halt the extradition of two bankers who embezzled over $660 million from Ecuador.
Menendez's bestie is Salomon Melgen, a millionaire eye doctor from Florida (the Glaucoma State), who has showered him with donations, vacations, and heartfelt gifts of up to a million dollars. In return, Melgen has never asked for anything. Well, except for getting Menendez to secure visas for his many girlfriends, and for the senator to pressure the Dominican Republic government into giving the good doctor some sweet port security contracts. But who among us hasn't strongarmed another nation for their BFF?
But it turns out the guy whose name is one letter from being an anagram for "Mengele" can be pretty evil. He is currently doing 17 years of hard time for defrauding Medicare to the tune of $73 million -- a conviction Senator Menendez not-so-subtly tried to overturn by aggressively lobbying several healthcare officials, including the secretary of Health and Human Services. It was this blatant act of corruption that finally earned the senator what we now know is the harshest, most gruesome punishment the Democratic Party inflicts upon its members: a stern talking-to.
Still, Menendez was so obviously on the take that he was the first senator in over three decades to be indicted on corruption charges in 2015, with prosecutors asserting that he "sold his soul for a lifestyle he couldn't afford." But as his own supporters put it, the senator is equal parts "awful" and "slippery," so with no tangible evidence, the trial ended in a hung jury.
Yet even in 2018, despite his widely known scandals, New Jersey voters elected Senator Menendez over his Republican opponent, Bob Hugin, who became immensely unpopular after allying himself with President Trump. After all, if there's one thing people from New Jersey hate more than a crooked politician, it's some asshole from New York telling them what to do. (An asshole New Yorker who managed to destroy Atlantic City, no less.) Somehow still in power and out of jail, Senator Menendez is currently working on a new Iran deal with Republican senator Lindsey Graham, trying to rekindle the friendship between the two nations. Maybe he can get Ali Khamenei some passports for his girlfriends?
Related: Republicans Are Blaming Gun Violence On Video Games (Again)
Cheri Bustos Has Declared War On Leftists
New Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Cheri Bustos isn't on this list because she's a shitty Democrat. The representative from Illinois' 17th congressional district has impressively won election after election in her staunchly pro-Trump district, and we know how much those guys hate voting for women. No, Cheri's here because she's shitty to Democrats. Or at least, the Democrats who are taking jobs from other Democrats.
D-quintuple-CB believes her main job is to maintain the status quo. And she does it with gusto. In that capacity, Bustos observed a worrying trend during the 2018 election: Several Democratic dinosaurs were being bumped off not by Republicans, but Democratic challengers. Progressive go-getters like Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (the lawmaker, not the body pillow in Ben Shapiro's bunk bed) were firing voters up. While you'd think that a Democratic win is a Democratic win to the person in charge of getting blue butts in seats, Bustos feels otherwise. And she's trying to correct this the way any rich white woman who'd voluntarily shorten her name from Cheryl to Cheri would -- by threatening to get people fired.
Long an unofficial mob tactic for the DCCC, Bustos made it official Democratic Party policy to blackball any Democratic consultants and vendors who dare work for Democratic primary challengers, cutting off their biggest source of income. In retaliation, progressives barred the Party's access to its greatest source of labor: young people with too much time on their hands. As with any leftist squabble, the feud quickly went public when the drama shifted to social media. Ocasio-Cortez and others called for a boycott of the DCCC, with most chapters of the College Democrats quickly following suit. And while Bustos intended to get rid of internal strife, analysts fear the decision could finally ignite a Democratic Party civil war, which may be the tamest thing we can think of that includes the words "party" and "war."
And for getting through that petty snooze fest of insipid Democratic infighting, here's a treat for you: The chair's effectiveness at suppressing new Democratic options will soon be put to the test when she has to defend her seat against primary challenger Spanky Edwards. That's right, the fight for the Democratic Party's future will see someone called Cheri Bustos get down and dirty with someone called Spanky Edwards. They don't even have to change the names for the porn parody.
This article is only one of many reasons Cedric is on the No Fly List. To find out more, do follow him on Twitter.
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