The idiocy has been flying fast and furious this week (and speaking of idiocy, that label applies to everyone who's still trying to turn Fast and Furious into a scandal--particularly when it's primarily people opposed to any sort of gun control, attacking as a disastrous failure a program intended to limit the flow of guns into the hands of criminals; in other words, a program they would have opposed from the start and would want to fail. And when it did fail, because anti-gun control forces got some federal prosecutors too scared to actually file charges against the gun shop owners illegally selling weapons, which meant weapons got into the hands of criminals, those same anti-gun control folks became incensed at the failure. Yes, idiocy and hypocrisy often go hand-in-hand).
But this week's winner didn't achieve that exalted state because of his pro-gun death activism (which, as of right now, should become the operative term, instead of "anti-gun control"). No, Republican legislator Bob Marshall's measure to ensure continuing gun deaths in Virginia looks like it's going to die on the House floor. Del. Marshall, instead, wins the honor because of a different piece of legislation he has proposed, which would establish in Virginia a new state currency, and which, according to the Washington Post, "sailed through the House of Delegates with a two-to-one majority."
Marshall's reasoning? The Post explains: "Much of the anger is directed at the Federal Reserve, which controls the nation’s supply of money. Since the financial crisis, the Fed has pumped trillions of dollars into the economy to help avert what Chairman Ben S. Bernanke believed could have been the next Great Depression. Critics worry the Fed won’t ever stop. Marshall believes that the result could resemble the Weimar Republic of Germany after World War I: a worthless currency, skyrocketing inflation and a crumbling government."
What's crumbling isn't the government or the economy--which, unless congressional Republicans manage to inflict a fatal wound, is well on the way to full recovery--but what little remains of Marshall's functioning brain cells.
Photograph from the Washington Post
Marshall is notorious for beliefs so far out of the mainstream that you have to wonder whether his district includes a lot of people voting from insane asylums. As he wrote in a Tweet a while back, "Suicidal deficits, enemies lists, abortion, euthanize seniors, health care that kills capitalism ... 'Live and let die,' Obama theme song!" Don't even try to analyze the grammar, just enjoy the glimpse into a truly deranged mind. Marshall is also infamous for comparing the Obama stimulus package (remember that one? The one that turned around our economic freefall and started the recovery?) to slavery ("That is as much a chain of slavery around our children. … It is as much a chain as ankle bracelets were as to African-Americans in the 1860s in this state. It’s just invisible. But it is a chain of death that we’re not going to escape.") and declaring that disabled children are "God's punishment" to women who aborted their first pregnancy.
Yes, Del. Marshall really is that heinous. But this week's award isn't for the sum total of his idiocy, impressive as that might be. It's for his misguided belief that Virginia's unconstitutional currency would be somehow more secure than that of the United States of America--and he shares it with his fellow delegates, who voted two-to-one in favor of the bill. And just to be generous, let's say he also shares it with everyone who voted him into office, and anyone who--having seen the true measure of his idiocy--ever votes for him again.
As an aside, Virginia's Bob Marshall doesn't deserve to wear the same name as the real Bob Marshall, one of America's great conservationists.
Speaking of conservationists, runners-up this week include everyone who's still denying climate change. Remember the Great Lakes? Yeah, me too. And speaking of Idaho, which neighbors Montana, where the Bob Marshall Wildnerness is, another runner-up is Idaho state senator John Goedde (R)--frighteningly, chairman of that legislative body's Education Committee--who has introduced a bill requiring every Idaho high school student to read and pass a test on one of the worst novels ever written, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, as a graduation requirement. Speaking of the environment, also in the runner-up category are the geniuses on Fox & Friends, who told their sadly deluded viewers that the American solar energy industry is failing and the reason Germany's is so much healthier than ours is that Germany gets so much more sun than we do (both are demonstrably false). There's no easy segue from that to our fourth runner-up, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R/OH), who is at the same time third in line to the presidency and deeply, disturbingly clueless about how government works.
And because someone last week suggested that not everyone is an idiot (a fact I happily acknowledge), I've decided to try to include in each week's post an example of smart people doing good things. This week, a shout-out to the Duke University students who staged a rally to protest a fraternity "party" that was really a racist, anti-Asian celebration that would have made the Klan proud (if the concept of pride could be applied to people who hide their faces under hoods). Duke's administration and the Kappa Sigma leadership failed the university community, but the students themselves came through.
And because we picked on the Virginia House of Delegates in the Bob Marshall segment, let's also have a special shout-out to the Speaker of that body, William Howell (R), who did the right thing this week and saved his state from itself.
In case you've just joined us, here are the previous installments in America's Biggest Idiot: Week One (Part 1 and Part 2), Week Two, and Week Three. The only real ground rule is that the winners and runners-up have to be people who can actually have an effect, for better or worse, on the country or a significant piece of it. Miley Cyrus doesn't count, and neither does pro-gun death crusader Bruce Willis. Neither does a reprehensible waste of skin named Bill Donohue, although he comes closer.