"How dare you": House food fight erupts over Black Lives Matter and ... the marriage penalty?

As my good pal and Bearing Arms colleague Cam Edwards often laments, everything is stupid and it’s only getting worse. Earlier today, Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) rose to point out that a proposed increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) favors singles, which Grothman calls “a marriage penalty.” That’s a fair point, but for some reason Grothman then throws in a gratuitous reference to Black Lives Matter, thereby guaranteeing that this speech would get someone’s attention:

GROTHMAN: One of the things that hasn’t been mentioned yet, the increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit for single people has a marriage penalty in it. I bring it up because I know the strength Black Lives Matter had in this last election. I know it’s a group that doesn’t like the old-fashioned family. I’m disturbed that we have another program here in which we’re increasing the marriage penalty.

First off, what strength did BLM demonstrate in this past election? Republicans gained seats in the House, expanded their reach in state legislatures, and would have held serve in the Senate if they hadn’t squandered their advantages by needlessly undermining confidence in the voting system in Georgia. In a high-turnout election, that’s an amazingly good outcome for the GOP.

Besides, while BLM’s agenda was very clearly and explicitly antagonistic about the “nuclear family,” the EITC wasn’t part of that issue. BLM doesn’t want to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement” by offering a slight boost in tax benefits to single people. It’s a non-sequitur, a provocation that succeeded in getting a response from Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands).

Unfortunately, her non-sequitur managed to outdo Grothman’s by claiming that the Republican had said that blacks don’t like nuclear families:

PLASKETT: I hope my colleague from Wisconsin will not leave at this time, as he’s talked about Black Lives Matter. How dare you, how dare you say that Black Lives Matter — black people do not understand old-fashioned families? Despite some of the issues, some of the things that you have put forward that I’ve heard out of your mouth in the Oversight Committee, in your own district, we have been able to keep our families alive for over 400 years. And the assault on our families to not have black lives, or not even have black families. How dare you say that we are not interested in families in the black community? That is outrageous, that should be stricken down.

It would have been outrageous … if Grothman really claimed that black people don’t care about families. That’s not what he said, however; Grothman said that Black Lives Matter is “a group that doesn’t like the old-fashioned family.” And on that point, Grothman’s correct — even if it’s irrelevant to the policy issue at hand. Until BLM scrubbed its website in September of last year, this is what they had to say about “old-fashioned families,” as Grothman put it:

“We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.”

Plaskett commits rhetorical sleight-of-hand in this accusation — and clumsily at that — by substituting “Black Lives Matter” with “black people.” She knows full well that’s not what Grothman said, just as Grothman knows full well that this arcane point about a marriage penalty has nothing at all to do with Black Lives Matter. This exchange was all about getting attention rather than responsible governing, and the only remarkable thing about it is how unremarkable this kind of stuff has become on Capitol Hill.

It’s yet more stupidity in the service of self-promotion. And … it’s only getting worse. But at least we heard from a couple of politicians few know, so mission accomplished, I suppose.