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Have you ever been unexpectedly honored with a special award? If so, you know how thrilled I was to get a call all the way from Washington DC, telling me that I had been chosen to receive the Congressional Order of Merit.
Wow! Not only was I thrilled… but also a bit surprised, since I’ve been such a frequent critic of our congress critters, including the Democrats now in charge. Oh well, I thought, maybe they have a sense of humor about it all, or maybe they actually respect honest criticism.
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Then came the biggest surprise. The caller informed me that she was from the office of Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, and that he had selected me for the honor. Now, this blew my socks off and almost caused my brain to explode, because I have been on this guy’s case like a jackhammer on concrete. Cole, you see, is a right-wing Republican and a servile servant of corporate elites. Good heavens, I even campaigned for his opponent in the last election!
Still, I guess even he could have a change of heart, so who was I to reject his gracious outreach? Would there be a ceremony, I inquired? Should I rent a tux? No, I was told. It seems that I had been chosen because of my small business leadership, and the only thing I had to do to receive my Order of Merit was to send $500 to the honorable representative.
It turns out that Cole, who was a political consultant before going to Congress and still runs a PR/telemarketing firm, chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee – the fund-raising arm for GOP house members. So my big award was not just for me – but for anyone who’ll pony-up bucks for Cole’s party. That definitely dampened my sense of honor.
Chances are he’ll call you, too. As one fellow said after getting six hectoring money calls from Cole, “Pardon me for saying this, but the guy is a cockroach.”
“Congressional Order of Merit – For A Price,” www.sciencefriday.com, July 11, 2007
“Congressional Order of Merit,” www.wikipedia.org, November 2007
“Tom Cole,” www.wikipedia.org, November 2007
“Tom Cole: congressman, telemarketer and email spammer,” www.okiedoke.com, June 5, 2007
“Tom Reynolds and Tom Cole: spamming & Scamming” www.granolabox.com, September 8, 2007