OK, I started the week by declaring Ask A.B. a "Michael Jackson Free Zone," but this is now worth a post ...

Let me get this straight — as the party struggles to defend the stimulus program amid staggering job loss and more ominous economic news, and to hold a coalition together on healthcare as the public plan threatens to derail reform, Democrats are going to put up a fight about Michael Jackson?


Rep. Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeThe Hill's 12:30 Report We will fight for our DREAMers Bipartisan duo offer criminal justice reform legislation MORE (D-Texas) went to Jackson's memorial Tuesday and went overboard. She brought a framed copy of a resolution she has written that declares Jackson was an American legend, musical icon and world humanitarian. But wait — also that he is "someone who will be honored forever and forever and forever and forever." Four forevers.

Jackson Lee promised at the Staples Center that the resolution would be debated on the House floor. Fully aware that it faces opposition from Republicans as well as Democrats, Lee dismissed critics by saying they "don't understand the hearts of entertainers." To brush off Jackson's own troubles with the law, stemming from other people's children sleeping in his bed, Jackson Lee said, "We understand the Constitution. We understand laws and we know that people are innocent until proven otherwise. That's what the Constitution stands for."

Lee has one co-sponsor for her legislation, and Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.), who last week posted a YouTube video describing Jackson as a "pervert," a "child molester" and a "pedophile," will be leading the charge against the resolution, should it hit the floor.

I urge you to read the entire account in The Hill in which civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) criticizes King's criticism of Jackson. According to the story, King's YouTube video has been seen more than 70,000 times.

King is unrepentant, and his further remarks are here: “Too many people in public life have made fools of themselves by talking about Michael Jackson as if he’s some kind of hero — there’s nothing good about this guy. He may have been a good singer, did some dancing, but the bottom line is: Would you let your child or grandchild be in the same room as Michael Jackson?”

And he added, "He did violate young boys, he did put them in terribly inappropriate positions, and that's a terrible signal we're sending as society that we're somehow condoning that behavior, and you are condoning it when you give him this type of, when we give him this type of regal coverage and, you know, millions of people fighting to get to his mega-memorial."

At the Staples Center blockbuster memorial, Jackson Lee not only promised action on the resolution but made mention of the moment of silence the House of Representatives held for Jackson on June 25.

The story in The Hill notes that Rep. John YarmuthJohn YarmuthTax reform sprint leaves little time for funding fight Democrats split over priorities for end-of-year battle House adopts Senate budget, takes step toward tax reform MORE (D-Ky.) walked out of the moment of silence, telling L.A. radio host John Ziegler that he was "nauseated by it. ... The cloakroom was pretty well-packed. I think there were a lot of people who were disgusted by it."

An interesting sidenote is Jackson Lee's habit of inserting herself at funerals, according to this piece in the Houston Chronicle last year. Jackson Lee's funeral strategy is described thusly: "One job of aides is to cull the obituaries. One told friends of taking her to five funerals in one day, and of hating to have to ask the families if they would allow her to speak. The request pleased some, he said, but angered others. But her willingness to go to funerals and virtually any other kind of public gathering in her district impresses a lot of voters and gives her great name identification, making her a formidable opponent."

Is it time for the Democrats to take this on?

returns Tuesday, July 14. Please join my weekly video Q&A by sending your questions and comments to
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