Dell's Original Uncoverage Logo by Antonio F. Branco, Comically Incorrect

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Larsen Three: A Profound Disrespect for Their Country?

The Larsen Three: A Profound Disrespect for Their Country?

“Were it not for the ‘new media’, you would never know about this story. The lame-stream media wing of the Democrat party sees no value in reporting this month-long drinking binge by people who are being paid with taxpayer dollars to work for a congressman - not spend each day drinking and engaging in “debauchery”.”

By Guest Blogger Richard Falknor
“A new blog in the Pacific Northwest called the NW Daily Marker has just revealed a lamentable tale entitled “Tweets from Congressional Staffers Describe On-Job Drinking in Office of Congressman (Rick) Larsen (D-Wa).” (Thanks to Sound Politics for the heads-up.)

This is a story of three relatively well-paid (see foregoing Legistorm link) House of Representatives employees apparently with a strong sense of entitlement to a much more glamorous life.

Do we see the same narcissistic qualities here as in many in the OWS movement?

Did all three of Larsen Three believe they were serving in the office of a political figure whose talents were beneath the level they found appropriate to lead them?

They seemed to show no loyalty nor little interest in the people of the Second District of Washington — roughly the district once represented in the Congress by Scoop Jackson before he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1952.  (Henry M. Jackson is widely regarded as a profile in twentieth-century American wisdom and courage.)

Anyone who worked for Scoop Jackson (as your author did in the 1960s) knew not only his genuine dedication to the people of his constituency and his enjoyment of their company, but what he demanded of his staffers in serving them.

But the Tweeter Three episode is a portrayal of reverse evolution from the standards Scoop followed and insisted his staff follow to those of the Larsen office.

The NW Daily Marker’s writers spell out the actions attributed to the staffers of Representative Rick Larsen of Washington’s Second District:

“Over several months, according to online messages allegedly made by staffers with Democratic Congressman Rick Larsen, the D.C. office of Washington State’s 2nd District has been the setting of a staffers-gone-wild bash, a binge of embarrassing behavior including insults lobbed by legislative aides at the Congressman himself and accounts of on-the-job drinking, all broadcast for the world to see on via Twitter.

To be fair [surely the reportedly conservative Daily Marker is not seriously offering this in mitigation?], the office of a Congressman in the minority party is not typically the scene of frantic legislative action. Sure, there’s still work to be done servicing constituent requests, or stitching together the details of a minor piece of legislation to help the folks back in the district may be work. But unlike a couple of years ago when the Democrats were in charge, and aides would have been busy preparing a $3.5 trillion budget, or reading, analyzing, and fine-tuning 2,000-page bills to upend the world’s finest healthcare and financial services industries, apparently the current workload isn’t substantial enough to keep junior staffers attentions focused on professional matters.

NW Daily Marker learned of the succession of tweets made by three members of Larsen’s legislative staff – Seth Burroughs, legislative assistant (@therocketship1); Elizabeth Robblee, legislative assistant (@betsysbites); and Ben Byers, legislative correspondent (@byers_remorse) – messages dating from between August and early December of this year.”

The Daily Marker continues

“One of the more notable tweets was made on December 3rd by Burroughs in which he confides in Byers that he has ‘destroyed’ his official Blackberry smartphone device and remarks that ‘D2R is making its mark.’”

‘D2R’ is an acronym meaning ‘December to Remember,’ a phrase coined by the trio of staffers to define their attempt to spend the final month of the year in a state of perpetual debauchery. According to tweets made two days earlier, the D2R was initiated with a morning round of shots on the steps of the Cannon House Office Building before proceeding to drink all day in the office.”

Jerry Cornfield of HeraldNet (Everett, WA) reported

“Screenshots of tweets posted by the online journal show the trio kicked off the debauchery Dec. 1 with shots on the steps of the Cannon House Office Building in Washington. D.C., followed by drinking in the office throughout the day.

At one point, a tweet on Burroughs’ account said, ‘My coworker just took a shot of Jack crouching behind my desk. We have unabashedly given up on just about all things work related.’

Another tweet on Burroughs’ account also targeted Larsen, calling him an ‘idiot boss’ in a tweet sent out in November.
. . . . . . . .

Larsen’s staff totaled nine people before Thursday’s firings.
Burroughs and Robblee — two of the congressman’s three legislative assistants — worked on a range of policy matters, the spokesman said.

Robblee worked for U.S. Sen. Patty Murray before joining Larsen’s staff in June 2007. She earned $60,000 a year, according to Legistorm, an online database of congressional staff salaries.
Burroughs, who was hired in February 2007, earned $44,500 annually while Byers, who was hired in June 2009, stood to earn about $35,000 this year. Byers was the office’s lone legislative correspondent and dealt primarily with mail and requests from constituents, according to Thomas.”

The AP’s Manuel Valdes has a particularly  illuminating quote about the mindset of the best paid of these three House twitters –

“In her personal blog, Robblee in late November described being disillusioned with life in the nation’s capital, giving notice and planning to travel abroad.

‘The late nights, frustrating politics and often thankless work started to take their toll,’ Robblee wrote. ‘I was burnt out. And more and more I found myself spending spare moments at work reading food blogs, daydreaming about baking, and making grocery lists.’”

Capitol Hill positions are a privilege and a rare gift for serious young men and women.  Surely there are many other citizens of the Second District who would serve effectively and with honor (and probably for less money) on the staff of the House office representing that constituency.

The Larsen Three represent one more (but an especially distasteful) symptom of the failure of our bipartisan Political Class.”

Dell’s Bottom Line:  Were it not for the new media, you would never know about this story.  The lame-stream media wing of the Democrat party sees no value in reporting this month-long drinking binge by people who are being paid with taxpayer dollars to work for a congressman - not spend each day drinking and engaging in “debauchery”.  The fact that Representative Rick Larsen is a Democrat has everything to do with ignoring the story completely.

However, had these malcontents been members of a Republican Congressman’s staff, you would have been inundated with news stories on a daily basis...Complete with follow-up analysis by the talking heads, and perhaps an hour-long “special report” on those “drunk, right-wing fanatic, Bible clinging, gun-toting, Republican tea baggers”.

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