Mr. Cope's Cave: Just When You Thought Your Legislature Couldn't Get Any Dumber...

by

As you may remember, early in the legislative session I launched a new continuing series dedicated to the proposition that many of the men and women who come to Boise every winter to decide the direction Idaho will take are, in truth, not intellectually qualified to empty spittoons—even if emptying spittoons was a job for which there was still a demand.

Now, it is my opinion that when it comes to choosing a name for a continuing series, it's best go with something unambiguous. I settled on "Just When You Thought Your Legislature Couldn't Get Any Dumber..." so that no reader might get confused and make the mistake of thinking I'm writing about smart people.

Certainly, when somebody in the Idaho Legislature does something smart, I will make every attempt to tell you about it. But it will not be included in the series "Just When You Thought Your Legislature Couldn't Get Any Dumber..." I'm reserving that space for people like Vito Barbieri, who this past week said something so damn dumb, it's hard for me to believe it came from the mouth of a grown man. This chapter is called...

Mommy, Where Do Babies Come From?

Surely you've already heard about it. It happened Monday during testimony on how much latitude should be given doctors who examine Idaho women from afar by means of something called telemedicine. Dr. Julie Madsen was testifying it would be a horrible idea to restrict abortion-inducing medication that might be prescribed by such a method, in that those same doctors often provide the only gynecological attention many women get, especially in rural areas where hospitals don't grow on trees.

Or over trees. You know, like they do in the North End.

Dr. Madsen was informing the House State Affairs Committee about the technical ability to conduct a colonoscopy from afar, explaining how the patient swallows a pill containing an eensy-weensy camera that relays images of its trip through the colon to a doctor who could be halfway around the planet. Barbieri, a Republican from some place called Dalton Gardens, asked why the same method couldn't be used for a gynecological exam.

At this point, I will pause for a few moments and allow that last sentence to sink in.

tick

tick

tick

tick

Yes. Vito Barbieri, one of the 105 individuals entrusted by a majority of voters in their home districts to introduce legislation, enact laws, cast his vote for or against matters crucial to Idahoans and our children and our future and the reputation of our state and... oh, just about everything that shapes and defines and determines what sort of place we all call home will be... that man asked a professional doctor why a woman who wanted, or needed, a gynecological exam could not swallow one of those camera capsules and have pictures taken of her reproductive organs as it worked its way out.

Perhaps he was thinking the digestive system and the uterus must be separate forks in a... like, a torso tube, huh?... which runs all the way from a person's mouth down to the crotchal area. You know... like how a slug of beer or a hunk of pot roast can end up in your windpipe if you're not careful?

Well, so why couldn't there be another junction down a little lower, with a sign post with arrows that point THIS WAY TO THE BOWELS and THAT WAY TO THE WOO-HOO PARTS? And maybe Mr. Barbieri was thinking that eensy-weensy camera comes with a steering mechanism, or even a tiny little pilot like Dennis Quaid in that movie Innerspace. Remember? Where Quaid sort of submarined his ship around Martin Short's innards?

Yeah. I bet that's what Barbieri thinks.

Oooooor... perhaps he was indeed asking a rhetorical, leading question, as he claims. Perhaps his intention really was to have Dr. Madsen confirm a remote gynecological examination could not possibly get the same close-up look at a uterus (and the fetus therein) that a remote colonoscopic exam can get.

Aside from the fact that such a rhetorical—and in that sense, scornful—question was dismissive of Dr. Madsen's expertise, testimony and opinion, I am willing to take Barbieri at his word—that he is not stupid enough to think what it sounded so convincingly like something he thinks when he asked it.

And perhaps Barbieri is justified in feeling all the ridicule and mockery that have been heaped on him nationwide is unfair. And that he should not be thought of as stupid, since none of those liberal media types, who simply used his own foolish words to make him seem so foolish, could see how clever he really was by tricking an opponent into making his point for him.

Yeah... perhaps that's the story.

But even were we to concede that he doesn't have a cartoonish understanding of the female anatomy, there is still ample reason to believe Vito Barbieri is an astounding dumbshit. We need look no further than his eagerness to tell Idaho women that he and his cohorts in the legislative majority should be allowed more authority over their medical and reproductive decisions than they.

And that's not only dumb... it's despicable.