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Jack Kingston is Like an Unemployed Teacher: No Class

You heard it here first . . . unless, of course, you previously heard it from Doug, Jason, Jmac, MaconDawg, Orson, Paul, Sunday Morning Quarterback, or . . . well, O.K., you probably didn't hear it here first.

Anyway, Congressman Jack Kingston was the only member of the U.S. House of Representatives to vote against a resolution saluting Florida for winning the national championship. Congressman Kingston, a University of Georgia alumnus who represents part of South Georgia in Congress, delivered a poke in the eye to the Gators, which I support in principle . . . but nothing I know about Congressman Kingston suggests that the word principle has much to do with his low conduct of his high office.

Dude, if I could bring myself to vote the Gators No. 1, you could, too!

Take, for instance, one of the changes that accompanied the transition of the U.S. House of Representatives from Republican to Democratic control. During 2006, when all 435 House seats were up for election, the working week for Congressmen ran from late Tuesday to Thursday afternoon. Commencing in 2007, the conduct of legislative business was to begin at 6:30 p.m. on Monday and to conclude around 2:00 p.m. on Friday.

Here is what Congressman Kingston had to say about that:

Keeping us here eats away at families. Marriages suffer. The Democrats could care less about families - that's what this says.

I am by no means a defender of the Democratic Party. I am so conservative that, once, an old family friend (who, literally, is a card-carrying Democrat) introduced me with the words: "Kyle's a traditionalist. 'Conservative' isn't even the word for it."

I am more than willing to criticize the Democrats' policies on many issues, but asking Congressmen to shorten their weekends to a scant 76 hours and 30 minutes is not evidence of a lack of concern for the working man's ability to spend quality time with the fam.

By the way, does anyone seriously believe that, when Congressmen return home to their districts for the weekend, they're spending their time tossing the ball around in the back yard with their kids?

What bugged me about Congressman Kingston's line was the fact that the change of legislative scheduling had nothing to do with partisan politics; it had to do with the difference between an election year and a non-election year. What bugged me was the certainty---which I defy anyone to deny---that, had this scheduling change occurred while the House was in transition from Democratic to Republican control instead of the other way around, Congressman Kingston's characterization of the longer work week would have sounded something like this:

Keeping us here on the job, doing the work that the American people sent us here to do, involves sacrifices, but we're not afraid of rolling up our sleeves and putting in the extra hours. The Republicans care about the work ethic - that's what this says.

In sum, I like the way Jack Kingston votes some of the time and I dislike the way he votes some of the time, but he is a politician, first, last, and always, whose every public act is a calculated move and an exercise in spin control.

If the U.S. Congress has nothing better to do than pass resolutions honoring college football teams, they should spare us such wasted effort, adjourn until they come across some actual business to conduct, and save us the expense of having the legislature in session for no apparent reason. If they insist upon squandering precious time and my tax dollars on empty gestures, though, they should at least treat them like the symbolic ephemera that they are rather than make themselves look silly by taking bold stands on meaningless non-issues.

If these are the sorts of matters on which Representative Kingston wants to stake out firm positions, maybe he should consider becoming a Grammy voter instead of a Congressman.

Jack Kingston's vote wasn't a proud act, it was a petty one. It made Bulldog Nation look cheap when one of our great state's U.S. representatives cast a Congressional vote solely for the sake of being small. What's more, no one thinks Jack Kingston did it because he's a loyal Georgia fan . . . he did it to curry the favor of loyal Georgia fans. There's a big difference between being a Bulldog and wanting to be perceived as a Bulldog.

When a fellow uses a lofty public office that ought to be dignified and respectable to make the University of Georgia and its fans and alumni appear childish for his own personal aggrandizement, that fellow is a first-class chump. Congratulations, Jack Kingston; you managed to distinguish yourself as the most uniquely complete jerk in the U.S. House of Representatives . . . and that is saying something.

When, two years from now, the entire Florida delegation votes against the House resolution honoring the 2008 national champion Georgia Bulldogs, you'll have Jack Kingston to blame.

Go 'Dawgs!