Doug Lamborn should be thrown out with the bathwater

U.S. Representative Doug Lamborn is proud of himself -- and he should be. After all, the Colorado Springs Republican has scaled new heights of stupidity in the halls of Congress, and that's not an easy task.

Last week, Lamborn, chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, freaked out over a photo of a five-year-old girl bathing in dirty orange water.

The photo was e-mailed to Lamborn -- the tar baby-lovin', State of the Union-skippin' former Shmuck of the Week -- by Maria Gunnoe, a West Virginia activist who opposes mountaintop-removal coal mining because of its environmental impact.

And any parent who has ever given their kid a bath would tell you that the photo truly is shocking -- and heartbreaking: The water is disgusting.

But that's not what upset Lamborn. No, he was more concerned that the photo -- taken by a photo-journalist -- showed a naked five-year-old in a bath than he was about the fact that the child was taking said bath in rust-colored muck. (Click here to see our original post on this story and the photo.)

And although he didn't actually see it himself -- his staffers alerted him to it -- he reported Gunnoe, who was later questioned by U.S. Capitol Police for an hour.

Lamborn was likely also concerned that an area mining company was about to lose its permit to reopen a mine -- the same kind of mine that Gunnoe believes causes water pollution like what was in the photo.

Indecent, indeed.

Gunnoe has asked for apology, but Lamborn told the Denver Post that one won't be forthcoming. "I'm not going to issue an apology, and I don't think the staff members involved are going to issue an apology," he said. "I think this woman should consider what type of materials she brings to hearings. Maybe that's something she wants to consider. That's for her to think about."

And perhaps Lamborn should think about his responsibilities at hearings as well -- one of them being to protect children from companies that will force them to bathe in water that will leave them dirtier than when they got in.

More from our Shmuck of the Week archive: "Gaylord may be the biggest shmuck, but how many shmucks believed the dream?"

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes