Roy Exum: Is Scott DesJarlais Crazy?

Saturday, August 18, 2012 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Scott Desjarlais, who has just finished his freshman term as a member of arguably the worst Congress in United States history, is so eager for campaign bucks he will “dance with the devil” next Thursday night. DesJarlais, a Republican physician from Jasper, is running for re-election on Nov. 6 against a former Democratic state senator from Winchester, Eric Stewart, but DesJarlais obviously could care less where his campaign money comes from.

According to his opponents, DesJarais has a history of “being bought and paid for by Washington lobbyists” but now comes word the daring doctor is getting intimately cozy with the dirty side of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry.

At a time when there has never been as much animosity towards those who abuse and sadistically sore horses, it has been revealed that DesJarlais has already confronted United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on behalf of the now-vilified “Big Lick” horse industry.

DesJarlais can’t help but realize public perception of those who wantonly abuse animals for monetary gain is no longer acceptable in today’s society and, as a health professional, Scott must know that America’s top two equine veterinarian groups have already demanded in a joint announcement this summer that sweeping changes are needed to eliminate stacks, performance devices and other items that imperil the horse and hide wide-spread cheating.

But DesJarlais, in a clear affront to most of those he serves in the state’s Fourth Congressional District, has taken up the banner for a staggering Shelbyville crowd and – in fact – will raise campaign funds next week with a gala reception during the 74th Annual National Walking Horse Celebration in Shelbyville, which is considered by law-enforcement officials as the epicenter for Tennessee Walking Horse abuse.

David Howard, considered the czar of the “Big Lick” crowd in the walking horse world, “outed” DesJarlais this week when he wrote, “Congressman Scott DesJarlais represents Tennessee Fourth Congressional District which includes Shelbyville, TN. and he has spent a great deal of time recently familiarizing himself with the industry and its challenges.

“He has taken time to meet with members of TWSHO and has reached out to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. He will be observing the inspections and visiting the Celebration on Thursday evening, August 23.

“(DesJarlais) has taken time out from his campaign to help the industry and a fundraiser will be held for him Thursday, August 23 from 5:30-6:30 in the Calsonic Conference Room. This is an opportunity for us to show our appreciation and help re-elect a conservative congressman in November.”

Whew! Either DesJarlais is crazy or he is desperate for cash because any politician who sides with the “Big Lick” segment of the industry after a scathing video of horses being brutally attacked in May could well be committing suicide in the November election. What is this guy thinking?

DesJarlais has already been called down earlier this year. State Democratic leaders claimed his “level of hypocrisy was pathetic” when, just five days after he obtained campaign contributions from a nuclear energy company, he urged the government to “free up funds” for a certain project, according to a Chattanooga Times Free Press article on the Marion County politician.

The article says, “On March 14, 2011, USEC's political action committee sent $1,000 to DesJarlais' re-election campaign. Two months later, the congressman signed a letter asking White House officials to "make rapid completion" of a loan guarantee for the company's ‘American Centrifuge’ project.”

The newspaper also reported, “On Oct. 31, 2011, USEC's PAC sent another $1,000 to DesJarlais. Five days after the check arrived, the congressman signed a separate letter urging the Department of Energy to ‘take administrative action now to free up funds for USEC.”

Now Walking Horse advocates fear DesJarlais will use his political influence to roughen up the Department of Agriculture for demanding this summer that all judging and fines be equal in the heavily-tainted horse industry. David Howard’s TWHSHO already has a lawsuit pending with the government and the USDA has taken steps to decertify the Shelbyville organization for its refusal to accept the mandates.

Does Scott DesJarlais have any clue whatsoever of what he is doing?

For DesJarlais to jump into such a fray is patiently absurd. Five men have pleaded guilty in Federal Court this year to violations of the federal Horse Protection Act and – what’s this? -- just 18 days before scurrilous trainer and video star performer Jackie McConnell is to be sentenced by Federal Judge Sandy Mattice, Rep. DesJarlais will be in Shelbyville stuffing his pockets.

Scott DesJarlais is a medical doctor. His business is stopping pain and torment. And while his realm is limited to human beings, how can someone so eager to heal abide defenseless animals being subjected to unspeakable cruelties. Scott DesJarlais’ behavior is beyond comprehension.

royexum@aol.com

 


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