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THE NEXUS BETWEEN CONGRESSMAN CHRIS COLLINS AND DEXTER MANLEY

Late last night I received a passionate text from a well-meaning Democrat (No, Carl
Campanile, not Governor Cuomo) about Buffalo Congressman Chris Collins. "We
HAVE to do something about Congressman Collins. I mean he didn't read the health
care bill he just voted for!!"

At first blush, I'd have to agree that failing to read 200 pages of so-called "ground
breaking" legislation sounds like legislative malpractice, and it is almost impossible
for a republican House member to commit malpractice because the bar is so low.
This is especially true since Trumpcare was typed in font size and spaced in a way
that anybody's grandpa would love to read it.

I took a look at the Collins interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer where Collins admitted
he had not read the healthcare bill. And I was appalled.

Not at Collins, but at my Democratic friend for wanting to attack poor Chris Collins. I
think Chris Collins admitted on national television that he CAN'T READ.

I think that interview was a cry for help. I'm just thinking out loud here, but that
interview wasn't, in my view that he DIDN'T read the bill, like who cares, we
congress people do stupid things like that all the time get over it you reelect us 98%
of the time. No, that interview cried out that he doesn't know how to read.

What other logical explanation can there be for a decent, hardworking man of the
people who just voted to take away health care from 24 million people? That he
"relies" exclusively on staff, many of whom he doesn't know by name and who don't
even know where Hamburg is in the United States let alone that it is in his district!

I simply REFUSE to believe that about this guy Collins.


I have never met Collins and yet I was instantly drawn to him from this CNN
interview. He looked earnesteven for a republican. I would buy a car from him for
sure (and I'm not just talking about a lease). He seemed embarrassed by the fact
that he hadn't read the bill. Embarrassed in a way someone who clearly knew that a
responsible congress person naturally would have read such a bill. Maybe read it
twice for good measure. He even tried to throw others under the bus to give him
cover. "Others congressmembers didn't read the bill either," he said staring straight
into the camera. I teared up when I replayed that part of the interview. "This
terrible burden must be eating him up inside," I thought, and we Democrats are
about to excoriate him.

Here's a guy who has gotten so far without knowing how to read, a congressman
who did the bizarre thing of backing a bizarre guy for president and it worked! And
now, on national television his secret is almost unexpectedly revealed. How tragic.
Almost as tragic as the bill itself if enacted!

Looking at Collins on my TV, I believe that if he knew how to read he would have sat
down in that spacious congressional office of his, a Diet Coke or Pepsi by his side
(he looked in good shape!) and would have read that bill.

If you watch his Wolf Blitzer interview understanding that perhaps he can't READ the
interview is heart wrenching and takes on a different meaning.

Go back. Watch it. Imagine that Collins can't read. He is forced to admit on national
television that he had to rely on unelected staff to learn what was tucked inside
those 200 pages. As Collins tells us this he looks very uncomfortable.

I wanted to reach through my screen, hug him and tell him it's going to be ok.
What's even worse is he routinely votes to cut funding for literacy programs that
can help him (and others) with learning how to read.

Years ago there was another charming guy in DC who couldn't read and faked his
way through life until it finally caught up with him too: Dexter Manley. He played
football for the 'Skins. That disability caught up with him as well and caused him
great hardship.
Much like I think we caught Collins over this healthcare debacle.

Back then we didn't call Manley a moron. We didn't "go after him," as my
Democratic friend callously suggests we do here. We showed compassion. We
taught him to read. We advocated programs that promote literacy and eliminate
illiteracy. Because that eliminates ignorance. One big difference is his ignorance
only hurt himself.

But I believe if we taught this good man Collins to read what he's actually voting on
he probably would stop voting for it because this legislation is terrible for his
constituents, horrible for New York and a travesty for the nation.