You know who's terrible? Congressman Andy Harris, of Maryland, is terrible. Here's why!
Harris, a freshman House Republican, served in the Maryland Senate for thirteen years, where he spent much of his time posturing for national office. After establishing his culture war bonafides, he decided to run for Congress in 2008. He primaried the 18-year congressional veteran Wayne Gilchrest, one of the last moderate Republicans around. Gilchrest held some awful policy positions, in Harris' view: He wanted to end the Iraq war at some point in the future, and he didn't think the Chesapeake Bay should be converted into a sludge pit. Harris successfully defeated Gilchrest, but then lost the safe Republican seat in the general election to Democrat Frank Kratovil. This was in a district which John McCain won by 19 points.
Harris returned to the Maryland Senate but never really stopped campaigning for national office, and he was quick to attach himself to whatever useless wedge issue bullshit he could. Here's a delightful example. When the Maryland state government was in its final days of the 2009 legislative session, working quickly to reach a difficult budget compromise, Harris heard that some students in a club at the University of Maryland were planning to screen the big-budget porno Pirates II: Stagnetti's Revenge on campus, with some dumb college-y panel about sex and gender and whatever afterwards. You know, just the usual college kids watching nakey-people stuff. Harris, however, was so offended by this that he threatened to withhold the university's entire $424 million in state funding unless the screening was canceled. He was ultimately victorious, but not after annoying all of his colleagues and holding up a budget agreement.
Harris ultimately was able to ride the Tea Party wave to victory last year in his second congressional run. He almost instantly made a terrible name for himself, when he was caught whining about having to wait a couple of weeks for his sweet congressional health insurance policy to kick in during one of the new House Republican majority's first meetings.
And now Andy Harris is back in the news as one of the anti-compromise Tea Party Republican holdouts who humiliated Speaker John Boehner last night with his terrible demands. One of them, The Hill reports, was that Boehner's debt ceiling bill offered too much money for Pell Grants, the cheap program that gives poor people some money to go to college:
Legislation crafted by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to raise the debt limit by $900 billion would directly appropriate $9 billion for Pell Grants in 2012 and another $8 billion in 2013.
This has shocked some conservative House freshmen who say they were elected to cut spending, not increase it. Some House Republicans think of it as being akin to welfare.
"I really don't understand why we're increasing spending in a bill supposed to be cutting spending," said Rep. Andy Harris, a freshman Republican from Maryland. "It was negotiated without the input of a lot of members."
Andy Harris is terrible.
[Image via AP]