I have a soft spot for losers and comically idiotic people. That’s especially true when they are blissfully unaware of what they are doing and when what they are doing is in no way mean. And so, I do not present Representative Curt Clawson to laugh at but rather with. But laugh you should, because this is like something straight out of Monty Python.
Clawson just got into the House, having replaced Trey Radel who was forced to resign because he was arrested for cocaine possession. Now he’s a Tea Party guy, and a businessman who I’m sure will tell you, “I did build that!” And I’m sure in the future I will have many bad things to say about him because he probably does hold the vilest of opinions. But yesterday, there he was, the newest person on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. And testifying before him were Nisha Biswal from the State Department and Arun Kumar from the Commerce Department. But Clawson was confused; he thought they were representatives from India.
Now, it is true that they are both Indian-Americans. Indeed Kumar clearly was not born in this country. But Biswal just as clearly was, based upon her casual American accent. But Clawson was actually very sweet. He waxed about how much he loved India. According to John Hudson of Foreign Policy, “During the hearing, he repeatedly touted his deep knowledge of the Indian subcontinent and his favorite Bollywood movies.” I just want to hug him!
The interesting thing though, is that no one contradicted him. But when the ranking Democrat, Eliot Engel, got to speak, he pointedly said to the two administration officials, “Thank you both for your service to our country, it’s very much appreciated.” But the best part is when Clawson asked Biswal if India would be as open to capital flows as the US is to capital from from them. She responded, “I think your question is to the Indian government. We certainly share your sentiment, and we certainly will advocate that on behalf of the US.” Clawson was not at all moved from his delusion. He smiled and said, “Okay, we’ll see some progress!”
There is, of course, the possibility that he’s drunk. He certainly looks it. I don’t mean really drunk, but just far enough gone that the world seems like a damned fine place. And if he was drunk, I don’t think it takes away from the beauty of the moment. (If you don’t know what I mean, watch this skit from That Mitchel and Webb Look, The Inebriati.)
More seriously, however, it does show just how clueless rich people are. They so cut themselves off from the rest of the nation, they don’t know that it isn’t 1820 anymore. It reminds me of an episode of the television show MASH where some tribunal is taking place and the judge says to the prosecuting officer who is African American, “But first: a song!” The judge is so out of it that he thinks the officer is a minstrel.
Today, Clawson released a statement apologizing, “I made a mistake in speaking before being fully briefed and I apologize. I’m a quick study, but in this case I shot an air ball.” Clawson played basketball at Purdue University from 1981 to 1984. Go Boilermakers!
H/T: Ed Kilgore