Rep. Mo Brooks, R-AL, provided a reminder this week of why intellectually challenged politicians are best served by not trying to explain their votes.
Brooks was one of just 14 Republicans to oppose the overwhelmingly bipartisan bill that made Juneteenth a federal holiday this week. When he tried to explain why, it just made matters worse.
"The Huntsville congressman…said he had fiscal concerns about the bill, noting that adding a federal holiday would cost the country $1 billion in lost productivity by giving federal workers a day off.
"The cost should have been offset by eliminating one of the other holidays so that taxpayers don't once again have to foot the bill for paying millions of people not to work," he said.
Asked which federal holiday should be cut to add one that celebrates the end of slavery, Brooks said, "I have some thoughts, but I'm not going to volunteer a holiday and get a group of folks unnecessarily mad at me unless it was going to be a trade-off."
Unfortunately for Brooks, his home-district daily newspaper, the Athens (AL) News-Courier, raised a matter even closer to home:
"A spokesman for Brooks did not respond to questions asking if the congressman had similar concerns about the cost to state taxpayers for the multiple Confederacy-related holidays in Alabama," the News-Courier reported.
Showing why local journalism stills matters, the story included this civics lesson:
"Alabama is the last state to have a legal holiday set aside solely to commemorate the birth of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Mississippi marks Davis' birthday but includes it in the Memorial Day celebration. In Texas, Davis' birthday is part of "Confederate Heroes Day" while other Southern states, including Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee, have a holiday for Davis on the books but do not give employees a day off."Alabama and Mississippi are also the last two states to have a combined holiday in January in observation of the January birthdays of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and Confederate Army Gen. Robert E. Lee. Legislation introduced in Alabama this year to move Robert E. Lee Day to Columbus Day did not make it out of committee."