REP. JIM KERR: I don’t have the authority to take PERA away from you.
KIMBERLY BODIN: I, I know that you don’t. I know, I know that you don’t, but…
KERR: I know.
BODIN: but I know that you do have the desire.
KERR: I, uh, (laughter)
KERR: uh to make a statement like that is insulting.
BODIN: You know I’m not trying to insult you.
KERR: You did. You’ve insulted me.
BODIN: I’ve just tried to remind you that I’ve worked many years in my lifetime…
KERR: (pounds gavel, speaking at the same time) Lady, shut it, shut it. I’ve been very tolerant of you. Shut it.
BODIN: and I would like to retire.
KERR: I am the chair of this committee; all right? You are, you have, you were given every courtesy and then you insult me. And then not…
BODIN: I apologize, Sir…
KERR: Stop; stop! Not only do you insult me, but then you continue to insult me, and interrupt me. Now, I’m the chair of this committee. When I’m on the street I’m a regular guy. But I have to maintain a certain decorum here. Now, you don’t let me respond, that is rude. You insult me. That’s unacceptable. I’m done.
BODIN: Once again, I apologize.
KERR: Thank you.
First of all, we want to concede that the state employee in question, a Department of Corrections nurse who, it’s safe to say, takes plenty of crap on the job and knows how to give it right back, was probably a little out of line in taunting Rep. Kerr with a flip accusation. But she’s hardly the first snarky or otherwise tough witness Jim Kerr has encountered.
And we have to say, as a member of the party accused–rightly or wrongly–of waging a “war on women,” the words “lady, shut it” are a self-evident political tragedy. No matter how upset Rep. Kerr may have been by her half-joking suggestion that he has “the desire” to “take PERA away,” he just gave Democrats their whole campaign theme in one tidy sound bite.