The past couple of weeks have been positively dreadful ones for Texas Representative Randy Neugebauer, one of the firebrand congressional Republicans and Ted Cruz acolytes who advocated a government shutdown in a futile, misguided attempt to defund the Affordable Care Act. Millions of Americans — Democrats, moderate Republicans, and Independents — are now excoriating him and his like-minded colleagues for the shutdown.
Neugebauer's most pressing problem is of a much more personal nature, though. As Politico reported on October 3, Neugebauer was at the National War World II Memorial on Wednesday when park rangers began putting up barricades as a result of the shutdown. The representative became angry at seeing such a sad sight. How did he deal with this anger? He did so by furiously berating a shy-looking, apparently low-level worker who was just performing her job.
The altercation was caught on camera, and the images went viral. The incident is shaping up to be a major debacle for Neugebauer. Numerous major media outlets — such as The Huffington Post, Slate, and International Business Times — have reported on the incident. His Facebook page appears to be exploding, with many people writing in to demand his resignation.
That's far from the worst of it. His latest controversy has re-energized critics who maintain that, years ago, he may have engaged in malfeasance. According to the Houston Chronicle, in 2009, Neugebauer asked the Federal Elections Commission if his re-election campaign could pay him for the use of his yacht for fund raising events. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal assessed the situation more bluntly, stating that he "filed to use a yacht (owned by a family-run LLC) with campaign funds." This newspaper added fuel to the fire by alleging that Neugebauer and his staff were using "some Internet hired guns" to suppress this less-than-flattering story online. This story has now been revived.
These are not capital crimes, obviously. However, these reports (if true) paint the congressman as being sleazy, greedy, cheap, utterly unprofessional, and enormously insensitive. Many Texans now lack health insurance and live in poverty. Meanwhile, it appears that Neugebauer spends much of his time on his expensive boat, palling around with well-heeled associates.
Long-suffering Texans deserve better politicians serving them. Voters there made a mistake in sending him to Washington D.C. Hopefully, they won't make this mistake again.