Oregon House Expels Rep. Mike Nearman For Invalid 'Hall Pass'
The Oregon House of Representatives voted almost unanimously yesterday to expel state Rep. Mike Nearman, the Republican lawmaker who allowed violent "protesters" into the state Capitol building last December while the building was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was the first time any member of the state Lege has been expelled.
The expulsion came less than a week after Oregon Public Broadcasting posted video showing Nearman telling an audience in December that if demonstrators called his cell phone number, maybe a door might be opened for them, somehow. Nearman called the plan "Operation Hall Pass," because if there's one thing these dipshits love more than ignoring laws they don't like, it's making cute jokes about how clever they are.
Nearman was tossed out of the legislature on a 59-1 vote, and yes, dear readers, he did indeed vote to keep him in his seat, not because he wanted to remain in the state House, but as a matter of principle. The principle that he should remain in the House, in particular.
When Nearman ran his amusing little operation to let protesters swarm into the state Capitol on December 21, Oregon was in the middle of one of its worst outbreaks of the virus, with upwards of 1,100 new cases being diagnosed daily. Although the Capitol was closed, the special legislative session on dealing with the pandemic was broadcast on TV. Witnesses could testify via video or telephone.
But Nearman contended that the Capitol shutdown was illegal, and to prove it, he let some protesters into the building so they could have a dialogue with state troopers guarding the legislature. There was a frank exchange of views as police attempted to push the mob back and the patriotic citizens retorted with bear spray, and the protesters also expressed their love of the First Amendment by assaulting some journalists.
The video, which was livestreamed the week before the Capitol breach, showed Nearman cleverly saying that he didn't know anything about this "Operation Hall Pass," then giving out a cell number which he described as just some random numbers with no particular significance. See how he wasn't doing anything wrong? Oh, what a wag!
There might be some person's number which might be [his cell phone number], but that is just random numbers... that's not anybody's actual cell phone. And if you say, 'I'm at the West entrance' during the session and text to that number there, that somebody might exit that door while you're standing there.
Mind you, that's just a possibility, it's not like he was telling people how they could infiltrate the building, because that would be wrong. The best denials are always the ones you make while you're doing the conspiracy on video.
The Oregonian reports that on Monday, Nearman told a conservative radio host that his audience for that speech had consisted mostly of "blue-haired old ladies," but the paper goes on to point out that "That did not accurately describe the group that showed up at the Capitol and entered the door Nearman opened." Why, it's almost as if those journalists didn't take Nearman at his word!
Rather, the demonstrators included the right-wing, Vancouver-based group Patriot Prayer known for street brawls, people wearing clothing with Three Percenters militia logos and a Confederate flag hat and people armed with rifles and wearing military gear.
They were no doubt looking for some nice blue-haired old ladies to escort to the House gallery to do citizenship things.
Nearman was given unlimited time to make his case for not being expelled, but kept his remarks short, insisting that "the citizens of Oregon should be able to instruct their legislators."
And indeed, Democratic Rep. Julie Fahey confirmed that the mob outside the Capitol had some instructions for her, which included chanting up at her office window such exhortations as "enemies of the state," "traitors" and "we hate you." Technically, none of those is an instruction since they're not phrased as an imperative, but They the People's wishes seemed fairly clear.
Rep. Anna Williams, also a Democrat, didn't speak during the debate yesterday, but did tweet a description of the nice allies of Mr. Nearman who dropped by to petition for redress of nearly endless grievances:
On December 21st, a man with a bullhorn was standing below my office window shouting, "We're coming for you!" as a group of people carrying semi-automatic weapons was looking into my and my colleagues' office windows. Rep. Mike Nearman invited them into the Capitol.
Also too, in a committee meeting prior to the vote on expulsion, Republican state Rep. Daniel Bonham said that Nearman had shown "terrible judgement" in opening the door for the mob, but added, bizarrely, that "When Mike Nearman says that he wanted to let people into the building to engage in the process, I believe that's what he wanted to do." We suppose lynching state legislators as traitors could be seen as a "process," since it would have to be done in a particular order.
Bonham also said he was very disappointed that people who condemned Nearman hadn't also spoken out against anarchist rioters who had destroyed property in Portland last year, although strictly speaking, those folks hadn't actually tried to invade the state Capitol in Salem, a whole different city. Nonetheless, Bonham did join his colleagues in voting to expel Nearman.
During the expulsion vote, Willamette Week reports, a small crowd of about 40 demonstrators gathered outside the Capitol and shouted "Traitors! Traitors! Traitors!" while watching the proceedings on video. Mr. Nearman, however, was a bit busy, and was unable to meet them to let them into the building.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.