Activism

Republican Figureheads Who Resemble Your High School Bully

By Kate Harveston

High school bullies have it tough these days. What used to be considered a simple fact of life or even a coming-of-age, character-building modern-day gauntlet for teens has actually become a favorite target of the progressive movement. Nonetheless, efforts to improve quality of life for high schoolers have been largely successful, but what about when bullying takes place in more mature audiences? Like Congress.

Like the class bully, Congressmen frequently choose not to attend class, working only 133 days every year. That’s a sweet deal considering their six-figure salaries. But the real offense comes when the statesmen of our country commit very literal acts of bullying.

As frightening as Al Franken can be, he and his liberal pals just can’t hang with the fun-loving, gun-toting GOP when it comes to pushing people around. The same party that organized to champion emancipation has suffered from sporadic instances of skullduggery in recent years. Here are a few examples of the old-boys at their finest, slipping into high school bully mode.

Chris Christie Doesn’t Care If You’re Late

How do you feel about traffic jams? You wouldn’t feel offended if one rotund New Jersey Republican felt it was appropriate to ruin your day by staging one over the George Washington Bridge on the first day of the school year, would you?

That’s exactly what the aides to former hero of Hurricane Sandy, Chris Christie, did. During the morning of September 9, 2013, two Christie cronies colluded with the bridge manager to funnel all traffic across the popular bridge down to two lanes. Local authorities received zero notification.

The result was a precarious and even dangerous situation, with four lanes of traffic merging into one and little messaging posted to the public. One person even died of cardiac arrest because medical personnel couldn’t reach her through the back-up.

What could motivate Christie to pull the strings on such a nefarious deed? An investigation into the scandal eventually concluded his administration took action as a means of punishing a local Democrat who failed to support him in primaries. Thanks for dragging the public into your Jersey Shore feud, Chris.

Greg Gianforte and the Pre-Election Powerbomb

High school bullies don’t always stoop so low as to resort to physical violence, but, unfortunately, it does happen. Gianforte, recent winner of a special election for House representative in Montana, might want to take some cues from the local high school because he missed the part where you pull a guy’s shirt over his head before assaulting him.

Frustrated by the attention he was receiving from the media, Gianforte allegedly grabbed and threw Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs hard enough to break the journalist’s glasses. Since he’s over 18, Gianforte can very well be convicted of a crime, but with many votes already cast, Gianforte won the House position before the legal system had time to process his misdemeanor assault charge.

It’s just like a bully to practice WWE moves on those around him. We shouldn’t be surprised, though. Gianforte received an endorsement directly from our nation’s head bully and man-sized 50/50 bar, Donald Trump. Trump shoved aside a foreign dignitary during his trip abroad to demonstrate solidarity with Gianforte’s caveman antics and reassure the GOP he hasn’t lost a step.

Kyle Tasker Takes New Hampshire’s Drug Problem Personally

No bully worth his stolen lunch money is going to let you get through school thinking you had more fun than them. Bullies always made it to the best parties, and what party is complete without party favors?

Don’t worry, Kyle Tasker of New Hampshire can totally score you the goods. The former state representative knows a few ladies your age, too. If you’re in high school.

Tasker was arrested in 2016 on drug possession charges for hallucinogenic mushrooms, marijuana and the synthetic opioid Suboxone. The case is a sad example of the heroin and opioid epidemic that has cut a swath through the nation, including more than 400 drug-related deaths in New Hampshire in 2016.

Many people, both in high school and in the “real world,” will tend to assume that there’s a particular stereotype in place when it comes to drug users. Tasker’s story, however, is a good reminder that even the elite are not immune to the dangers of drug use.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Tasker was also charged with intent to commit sexual assault against a minor. The politician contacted a police officer posing as a fourteen-year-old over Facebook messenger in a move so perverted that, frankly, it makes your high school bully look good. Tasker has left his seat in the state house since the charges were brought and struck a plea deal in the case.

Not All Republicans Are Bullies

It would be unfair to paint the entire Republican Party based on the actions of Christie, Gianforte and Tasker. Really, most of them are only guilty of being a little old-fashioned. Stereotyping the entire party is akin to some of the practices that we hate the most, like assuming that all foreigners are terrorists or all women are too irresponsible to be trusted with full bodily autonomy.

Jokes aside, though, the GOP should pay attention to its role models. The more they weed out some of these loose-cannon politicians, the better off the party will be in the long-run (as well as our country, considering who’s primarily in charge as of late). Politicians like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan are perhaps a start — he can probably do more pushups than anyone else in Congress, and recognizes the stodginess of his fellow Republicans because he was born after we landed on the Moon.

We can do much better than even that, though. Heck, John Kasich comes to mind — he was in the running for the presidential nomination. Sadly, he was eliminated when his submissive nature was exposed in a series of debates where Kasich remained markedly level-headed. Could a second attempt be in his future? It will take a lot of pushing and shoving.

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