Ginny Brown-Waite leaves sorry legacy

In the past few days, Republican U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite has been called everything from dirty and disloyal to underhanded and dishonest.

And that's just by members of her own party.

They're right.

But in looking at the big picture, Brown-Waite's latest actions probably mark a fitting end to a congressional career highlighted by extremism, hypocrisy — and even talk of digging up corpses.

First, though, a look at her elections scam.

Brown-Waite set things in motion by loudly declaring that she was seeking re-election in the 5th District, which includes portions of Polk and Lake counties.

As a result, a number of respected Republicans — including Sen. Mike Fasano and Public Service Commissioner Nancy Argenziano — decided not to run. They did so out of loyalty to the party and respect for Brown-Waite's strength as an incumbent.

Only Ginny had a con in store.

She wanted to hand the seat to her chosen heir, Hernando County Sheriff Richard Nugent — without any tough GOP competition. (One other lesser-known Republican had filed earlier.)

So she secretly advised Nugent to file for office. He did so. Then, moments after the qualifying deadline expired, Brown-Waite unveiled her scheme — that she was retiring and that it was too late for anyone else to try to take her place.

Take that, democracy.

It was quite a coup for a woman who loves to drape herself in the American flag.

Not only had Brown-Waite managed to deny her constituents a more competitive field, but she also had betrayed leaders of her own party who had made the fatal mistake of trusting Brown-Waite and her word.

She cited health reasons for her decision to retire. But health reasons can't excuse the shenanigans — or the timing in which it all took place.

Argenziano called Brown-Waite's ploy "insidiously designed."

Said Fasano: "I've never seen a Republican go from being so widely supported to so widely disdained so quickly."

But this is what Brown-Waite has become.

A woman who used to demonstrate character and independence became better known for hacky hypocrisy and wacky extremism.

Back when "freedom fries" and France-bashing was all the rage, for example, Brown-Waite suggested digging up the bodies of American soldiers in French cemeteries, shipping the corpses back to the U.S. and reburying them in "patriotic soil."

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