Sunday, August 24, 2008

Stephanie Tubbs Jones (1949 - 2008)

"I, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a representative from Ohio, and Ms. Boxer, a Senator from California, object to the counting of the electoral votes of the State of Ohio on the ground that they were not, under all of the known circumstances, regularly given," declared US House Rep Stephanie Tubbs Jones on January 6, 2005. "I, thank God, that I have a Senator joining me in this objection. I appreciate Senator Boxer's willingness to listen to the plight of hundreds and even thousands of Ohio voters that for a variety of reasons were denied the right to vote. Unfortunately objecting to the electoral votes from Ohio is the only immediate avenue to bring these issues to light. While some have called our cause foolish I can assure you that my parents, Mary and Andrew Tubbs did not raise any fools and as a lawyer, former judge and prosecutor, I am duty bound to follow the law and apply the law to the facts as I find them. It is on behalf of those millions of Americans who believe in and value our democratic process and the right to vote that I put forth this objection today. If they are willing stand at the polls for countless hours in the rain as many did in Ohio, then I can surely stand up for them here in the halls of Congress."

With that declaration, with two women standing together, what should have happened in 2001 happened in 2005. You'll note it was Stephanie Tubbs Jones who stood up in 2005 and not Nancy Pelosi (we'll get back to her) just as it was women like US House Rep Maxine Waters standing up in 2001 and not Nancy Pelosi.

Tubbs Jones was born September 10, 1949 and died last Wednesday at the age of 58. First elected in the November 1998 elections, she had become the chair of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct almost two years ago. Five times she was elected to represent Ohio's eleventh district and the lowest percentage of the vote she ever garnered was 76%.

Most of us writing this were fortunate enough to meet Rep Tubbs Jones and we knew we'd have to do something to note her passing. We planned to run a photo and Senator Hillary Clinton's comments and leave it at that.

But it's never that easy.

And people like Speaker of the House Pelosi ensure that it never will be.


The photo you see is from Tubbs Jones' Congressional website. Or was.

It was posted at The Common Ills Thursday morning and we figured we'd download it and switch it over to Flickr on Saturday.

We couldn't.

We couldn't because Stephanie Tubbs Jones' website has been scrubbed.

The woman died Wednesday night. Mid-day Thursday, the notoriously back-stabbing Pelosi gave the order that the website would be taken down. Stephanie Tubbs Jones has not even been buried but Pelosi was already bound and determined to erase her.

Pelosi has a widely known 'issue' with African-American members of the House. For example, she conducted a lengthy war on then US House Rep Cynthia McKinney (now running for president). When McKinney won back her seat in 2004 (after losing in 2002), Pelosi refused to allow her to have the seniority that's always granted to members who return to Congress. Instead the six-term McKinney was 'awarded' (by Pelosi) the stature of a freshman. Currently, though he could stand up to her, Pelosi has brow-beat Rep John Conyers to the point that he seems a far cry from the representative he was even two years ago.

Pelosi's a vindictive, mean-spirited person. (But no one's ever supposed to note that or the opposition research done to secure her post as then-Minority House Leader.) She wasn't thrilled that the photo with Hillary got attention and she wasn't about to let it garner any more attention. She is said to have defended her decision by stating it was bad for Barack for the website to remain. (That comes from a House member who always knows what's what in Congress as well as two staffers -- one working for Pelosi.)

That's why those currently attempting to visit Stephanie Tubbs Jones' website find instead a "CURRENT VACANCIES" page.

That's why a cursory press release ("OFFICES OF THE ELEVENTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT OF OHIO TO REMAIN OPEN TO SERVE AND ASSIST CONSTITUENTS") notes Tubbs Jones died ("The Washington, D.C. office and the district offices of the Honorable Stephanie Tubbs Jones will continue to serve the people of the Eleventh Congressional District of Ohio under the supervision of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Representative Tubbs Jones died August 20, 2008.") and quickly moves on (for five paragraphs) to Clerk of the House with no mention of how long Tubbs Jones served or even a "she will be missed."

There's a word for Nancy Pelosi and, as Barabra Bush might say, it rhymes with rich.

Stephanie Tubbs Jones supported Hillary Clinton's run for the presidency and that really pissed off Pelosi. It appears to have pissed a number of people.

Take The Progressive. In 2005, Matthew Rothschild ("A Historic Day") could insincerely scribble, "But praise to Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Representative John Conyers for leading this battle." What follows is Rothschild praising John Conyers for two paragraphs and never getting around to noting Stephanie Tubbs Jones who, unlike Conyers, sponsored the resolution. Kind of an interesting way to note a 'historic day' -- throwing a one sentence shout-out to the person in the House responsible.

Maybe that's why it's not at all surprising that Matthew Rothschild managed to write an online piece the day after her death that didn't mention her ("Why Obama Is Slipping") as well as one the next day on the very pressing issue of t-shirts ("Bush Lied T-Shirt") but never got around to noting Stephanie Tubbs Jones' passing.

The Nation wasn't any better. John Nichols contributed "Stephanie Tubbs Jones: Champion of Electoral Justice" and . . . That was it. Three pieces posted to the magazine's blog The Notion after she died, but not one could 'note' that. (There was time to note a Jamaican track star -- maybe The Nation is published in Jamaica!) Katrinket vanden Heuvel, who really needs to shore up her thread-bare pro-woman credentials, elected to instead write nothing about Stephanie Tubbs Jones, not even a single sentence. [Click here for what Katty did do.]

And what of this century's Charlotte Rae, so eager to play den mother to the push-up bra set? Not a word from Katha Pollitt who apparently tired herself out imaging she was Elizabeth Edwards and going to town (August 9th) on Rielle Hunter for everything from her name to the choices Rielle, a single woman, made in partners. While spewing at Rielle in what only a demented mind could think was 'sisterly' love, she went soft on John Edwards. (She went soft -- again -- on Gail Collins but catty, ugly girls stick together.) Yes, our so-called leading 'feminist' had not a damn word to say about Tubbs Jones.

Why all the silence? Why did Pelosi think she could kill Tubbs Jones website before the woman was even buried? Because she was a woman.

Forget her race, race only matters when it's a man. Haven't you been paying attention to all of Amy Goodman's stories? Give Goody an African-American man and she's got a week's worth of breathless panting. An African-American woman? Eh, she'll get to it if she feels like it. (And she rarely feels like it.)

For those paying attention, Stephanie Tubbs Jones' life mattered because she fought for what she believed in. For those paying attention, she didn't matter to a number of 'left' 'voices' because (a) she was a woman, (b) she was an African-American woman (the first elected to the US Congress from Ohio) and (c) because she supported Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. By contrast, a little while ago, you would have thought the Pope had come to DC to read Teddy Kennedy's last rites the way they all couldn't shut up about him. But he is (a) a man, (b) a White man and (c) a Barack supporter.

We'll close with the "Statement of Former President William J. Clinton, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton on the Passing of Chairwoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones:"

There are few words to express the shock we feel at this time. Our deepest condolences are with Stephanie's son, Mervyn, her family, and her many loved ones, friends, and supporters.
Stephanie's friendship meant the world to us, a friendship that deepened through every trial and challenge. We could always count on her to be a shoulder on which to lean, an ear to bend, a voice to reassure. Over the course of many years, with many ups and many downs, Stephanie was right by our side-unwavering, indefatigable.
It was that fighting spirit-safely stowed behind her disarming smile, backed by so much integrity and fiery intelligence-that allowed Stephanie to rise from modest beginnings, to succeed in public service, to become a one-woman force for progress in our country.
All of us who were lucky to know her and love her can only hope now to live like her-to be as passionate, loyal, hard charging, and joyful in life's pursuits.
Stephanie was one of a kind. We will miss our friend always.

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