In the past few days, Republican U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite has been called everything from dirty and disloyal to underhanded and dishonest.
And that's just by members of her own party.
But in looking at the big picture, Brown-Waite's latest actions probably mark a fitting end to a congressional career highlighted by extremism, hypocrisy — and even talk of digging up corpses.
First, though, a look at her elections scam.
Brown-Waite set things in motion by loudly declaring that she was seeking re-election in the 5th District, which includes portions of Polk and Lake counties.
As a result, a number of respected Republicans — including Sen. Mike Fasano and Public Service Commissioner Nancy Argenziano — decided not to run. They did so out of loyalty to the party and respect for Brown-Waite's strength as an incumbent.
Only Ginny had a con in store.
She wanted to hand the seat to her chosen heir, Hernando County Sheriff Richard Nugent — without any tough GOP competition. (One other lesser-known Republican had filed earlier.)
So she secretly advised Nugent to file for office. He did so. Then, moments after the qualifying deadline expired, Brown-Waite unveiled her scheme — that she was retiring and that it was too late for anyone else to try to take her place.
Take that, democracy.
It was quite a coup for a woman who loves to drape herself in the American flag.
Not only had Brown-Waite managed to deny her constituents a more competitive field, but she also had betrayed leaders of her own party who had made the fatal mistake of trusting Brown-Waite and her word.
She cited health reasons for her decision to retire. But health reasons can't excuse the shenanigans — or the timing in which it all took place.
Argenziano called Brown-Waite's ploy "insidiously designed."
Said Fasano: "I've never seen a Republican go from being so widely supported to so widely disdained so quickly."
But this is what Brown-Waite has become.
A woman who used to demonstrate character and independence became better known for hacky hypocrisy and wacky extremism.
Back when "freedom fries" and France-bashing was all the rage, for example, Brown-Waite suggested digging up the bodies of American soldiers in French cemeteries, shipping the corpses back to the U.S. and reburying them in "patriotic soil."
Ginny Brown-Waite leaves sorry legacy
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