Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite apparently does not have enough to do in Washington. Overnight, it seems, the Brooksville Republican has morphed into an instant expert on the U.S. Constitution. Acting on a wild idea her staff ran across on the Internet, she has concluded that President Barack Obama has to ask Congress for permission to accept the Nobel Peace Prize. She might as well have demanded that the president also send over his birth certificate.
Never mind that two other sitting presidents received the peace prize. Never mind that Obama already has pledged that the $1.4 million prize will go to charity. Never mind that actual constitutional scholars say she is off-base. Brown-Waite fired off a letter this week to the president, congratulating him and demanding that he seek permission from her and her colleagues to accept the award. This has nothing to do with the Constitution and everything to do with another ham-handed partisan attempt to grab headlines and embarrass Obama.
Of course, personal embarrassment is a foreign concept to Brown-Waite. She shamelessly characterized the House Democrats' health care reform effort by saying it "essentially said to America's seniors: 'Drop dead.' " She joined with other Republicans to vote against rebuking Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina for shouting "You lie!" during Obama's address to Congress and called him a good man. She defended her purchases of bank stocks while sitting on the House committee that oversees banks and while the federal government was approving the bank bailout program. Demanding that Obama seek congressional permission to accept the Nobel Peace Prize is a logical next step for her 2009 scrapbook.
The proper recommendation would be to suggest Brown-Waite concentrate on the real issues facing Congress and the country. The problem with that advice is that she is on the wrong side of pressing issues such as the economic recovery efforts, health care reform and climate change. So perhaps she can best serve Floridians by staying on the fringes of the national debate and sending the occasional letter to the White House, which the president can file in the appropriate receptacle.