POLITICO By: Roger Simon
Jerks. You know who you are. But why do there seem to be more of them around this year? Or did we always have the Joe Wilsons, and Alan Graysons, and John Ensigns and Kanye Wests and just not notice them as much?
We notice them now. They intrude upon our lives and must be labeled for what they are.
So others can have their Halls of Fame, we have the Hall of Jerks.
We are ignoring people who are jerks for a living - - the Glenn Becks, the Rush Limbaughs - - because their jerkiness is a provocation and a pose, a way of increasing ratings.
Instead, we are enshrining people who don’t actually believe they are jerks. But they are.
There are many kinds of jerks - - boors, creeps, doofusses - - and many definitions. As a starting point, one from the Urban Dictionary seems both poignant and apt.
A jerk, one contributor wrote, is a “person you really love that just doesn’t see how much you care for them, and yet, every so often actually treats you good, only to then act completely different from who they were when you first met them.”
Enter our first nominee.
1. JOHN EDWARDS. Mere infidelity does not get you in the Hall of Jerks. (We would be overrun.) No, you have to add something a little more slithery. Not even mere hypocrisy gets you in our hall, though Edwards does pin the hypocrisy needle to the wall.
Here is John Edwards on his high horse on Feb. 12, 1999, speaking about Bill Clinton and his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
“I think this president has shown a remarkable disrespect for his office, for the moral dimensions of leadership, for his friends, for his wife, for his precious daughter,” Edwards said. “It is breathtaking to me the level to which that disrespect has risen.”
But it was John Edwards who took our breath away, when he was dealing with his girlfriend Rielle Hunter. According to a story in The New York Times on Sept. 19, “Mr. Edwards once calmed an anxious Ms. Hunter by promising her that after his wife died, he would marry her in a rooftop ceremony in New York with an appearance by the Dave Matthews Band.”
As we said, it’s not the affair. It’s not even the hypocrisy. We just think that anybody who makes promises to his lover about what he is going to do “after his wife dies” is a special kind of jerk.
2. TOM DELAY. Didn’t this guy resign his House seat in disgrace after corruption allegations? And prior to that, wasn’t he unanimously admonished by the House Ethics Committee for creating “the appearance that donors were being provided with special access”? And isn’t he the guy who continues to ally himself with the disgraceful “birther” movement by replying “I have no idea” when asked if he thought Barack Obama was a citizen?
So why did we have to endure DeLay shaking his booty on “Dancing with the Stars”? We do not wish to see him in sequins and high heels on TV or off. And isn’t “Dancing with the Stars” on during family hour? Don’t we have an FCC to save us from such things?
This week, announcing he had stress fractures in both feet, DeLay decided to dance on - - just before he decided to drop out.
“I’m insane or stupid - - what?” he said. “I can’t figure out which.”
The envelope, please. Yep, it’s like we figured: a toss-up.
3. SHEILA JOHNSON. Think only men can be jerks? Ha! We wish. How else can you explain the behavior of Sheila Johnson, who made fun of Virginia gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds for stuttering?
Johnson, the billionaire co-founder of BET, who backs Deeds’ Republican opponent, Bob McDonnell, was addressing a group of supporters when she said: “We need someone who can really communicate. And Bob McDonnell can communicate. The other people that I talk to, and especially his op-op-op-op-op-op-opponent di-di-did this all through my interview with him. He could not articulate what needed to be done.”
Does Sheila Johnson wag her fingers in the faces of blind people? Does she pretend to have difficulty walking when she sees people with muscular dystrophy? Does she mock people in wheelchairs? We refuse to believe she was raised this way. We believe she developed this unpleasant character flaw on her own.
And when she apologized - - two weeks late and only after being caught - - she issued a classic non-apology apology. “I shouldn’t have done it in the manner in which I did, and for that I apologize for any offense he, or others, may have taken,” she said.
Hey, you don’t apologize for others taking offense. You apologize for being offensive.
4. DAVID LETTERMAN. We like David Letterman. We think he is very funny and smart and politically informed. He is also tall and rich and good looking and married to a lovely woman whom he dated for more than 20 years and who is the mother of his 5-year-old son.
So he has to hit on his employees to get dates?
We know he has been very funny about this on TV and has won over a lot of people who now view him as a victim. But we can’t help thinking: Did those women employees he hit on really feel they could say no to the boss? And isn’t that kind of a jerky thing to do?
So: The Top Ten Reasons David Letterman Should Stop Hitting on the Women Who Work for Him.
10. He is too old.
9. They are too young.
8. The difference between what he did and sexual harassment is … what exactly?
7. He is a role model for millions of Americans who have insomnia.
6. Even Bill Clinton would have told him not to. (Well, maybe not.)
5. He is in danger of becoming a stupid human trick.
4. Drew Barrymore will never flash him again.
3. He is going to end up with more troubles than a monkey on a rock.
2. Sarah Palin will never put him on the ticket now.
1. He will make the Hall of Jerks.
So that’s our freshman class. But we have a feeling we missed a few. Or more than a few. Nominations are now open.