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Shutdown Showdown

Rep. Neugebauer tries to shame park ranger

By Brandon Watson, 10:42AM, Thu. Oct. 3, 2013

Shutdown Showdown

Houston, we have a problem. And Austin and Dallas and Lubbock and Midland. We keep throwing errant multi-balls into the congressional pinball machine while our entire democracy tilts.

The latest Texas maverick to roll into the drain is Rep. Randy Neugebauer. Last heard yelling "baby killer" to Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak, Neugebauer was on hand for yesterday's GOP carnival at the Washington World War II Memorial. While there, Texas' 19th district representative took a moment to admonish a park ranger for granting WWII veterans entrance onto the grounds.

"How could a decison to bend the shutdown rules for our nation's veterans be considered a bad thing? Isn't the GOP the party of "mission accomplished" and "get 'er done?" The problem for Neugebauer was that she was not letting anyone else in.

How do you look at them and...how do you deny them access?," the congressman said, as if the lone park ranger were staging a very selective one-woman government coup.

"It's difficult," replied the surprised ranger.

"Well, it should be difficult," huffed Neugebauer, doing his best to sound like Dom DeLuise in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. In Neugebauer's world, everything should be difficult – paying mortgage payments, following your conscience, cooking ramen noodles. If Dorothea Lange doesn't want to photograph your misery, you are doing it wrong.

Although the employee offered a timid apology for her egregious misdeed, Neugebauer was not through with his tirade. "The Park Service should be ashamed of themselves," the congressman scorned.

Before onlookers rushed to her defense, the ranger simply responded, "I'm not ashamed."

It was the latest attempt to redirect blame for the government shutdown to anyone but the "suicide caucus" who caused the whole affair. Nevermind any hardship brought about by unyielding conservatives, the real tragedy of this shutdown is that Randy Neugebauer and his tiny pocket flag can't get a photo-op at the memorial for a war he never fought in.

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