We're only a few days into the first full TWiA of the new year, and already there's been so much to talk about that we're having to do a special mid-week edition. Maybe things will quiet down between now and Friday, and that one will be short.
Then again, maybe not.
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This Week in Please Oh Please
The new, all-Republican 114th Congress reported for duty this week. Some conservatives in the House didn't want to let Rep. John Boehner (R/OH) keep the Speaker's chair. As much as we've enjoyed watching Boehner flail around like a fish on a dock, we were thrilled with the people who so generously offered their services to replace him: Louie Gohmert (R/TX), who brings his own special brand of Gomer to the Hill, and Ted Yoho (R/FL), who personifies the yahoos in the House.
A Gohmert's greatest hits list would fill a month's worth of TWiA, so we'll just offer up a couple of his recent ideas, including the theory that President Obama was intentionally bringing all those Central American children into the country to turn them into illegal Democratic voters. Gohmert also has strong feelings about why gay people shouldn't serve in the military. "I've had people say, 'Hey, you know, there's nothing wrong with gays in the military. Look at the Greeks. Well, you know, they did have people come along who they loved that was the same sex and would give them massages before they went into battle. But you know what, it's a different kind of fighting, it's a different kind of war and if you're sitting around getting massages all day ready to go into a big, planned battle, then you're not going to last very long. It's guerrilla fighting. You are going to be ultimately vulnerable to terrorism and if that's what you start doing in the military like the Greeks did ... as people have said, 'Louie, you have got to understand, you don't even know your history.' Oh yes I do. I know exactly. It's not a good idea."
We have to go all the way back to 2012 for Gohmert's theory of caribou reproduction, but it's worth the trip. “So when they [caribou] want to go on a date, they invite each other to head over to the pipeline. It’s apparently the equivalent of being wined and dined. So my real concern now...if oil stops running through the pipeline...do we need a study to see how adversely the caribou would be affected if that warm oil ever quit flowing?”
All we know for sure is that with Gohmert on the case, your asparagus would be safe from aspersions.
Yoho is not quite as...let's say, "colorful," because it's nicer than "mentally deficient," as Gohmert, but he's not too far behind. He thinks only property owners should be allowed to vote, and he called early voting by absentee ballot "a travesty." An audience member at that 2012 speech spoke about an insane conspiracy theory surrounding the Bilderberg Group and asked, "What do you think our chances are in the next two years of being able to vote?” Yoho's reasoned response was, "That’s a scary question and that’s one of the reasons I’m running for Congress, because I fear for this country. I grew up believing in the American dream, I’m a product of the American dream, no one gave my wife and I anything…we worked our tail off and we didn’t expect anything from the government. If we don’t do anything in two and a half years, it’s a scary thought, if you start reading some of the stuff I’ve been reading, you’re like, this is all by designs, it sounds like a conspiracy.”
A few little points. here. 1) That was 2012. In 2014, people not only voted, but they voted to send Yoho back to Congress. 2) There's some major hypocrisy at work in a discussion of the possibility that people might lose their right to vote at the same appearance where he advocated limiting the right to vote to property owners. 3) As for this? "I’m a product of the American dream, no one gave my wife and I anything…we worked our tail off and we didn’t expect anything from the government." That's only remotely true if you exclude food stamps and public schools and universities, police and fire protection, the US military, roads and bridges, and etc. from "anything." 4) And also, if you read the stuff Yoho has been reading, you're wasting your time and probably destroying brain cells.
Ted Yoho or Louie Gohmert as Speaker? The jokes write themselves.
An hour before the vote, a third candidate offered himself up, Rep. Daniel Webster (Whig/MA) (sorry, wrong one--R/FL. This Webster had to run against a Florida Whig candiate in 2010, though). In the Florida legislature, Webster had tried to pass a bill instituting covenant marriage. He and his wife homeschooled six children; Webster remains connected to the Institute in Basic Life Principles, the religious organization that provided his homeschooling curriculum. The institute's founder, Bill Gothard, installed his brother Steve as administrative director. When Steve had to quit after his multiple affairs with institute secretaries came to light, Bill resigned as well--only to come back three weeks later and pick up the reins for himself. Bill had to resign again last year, after it was revealed that he had sexually harassed multiple employees, and failed to report child sex abuse in his organization. Sounds like these guys have basic life principles all figured out, doesn't it? One has to wonder (and fear) what was in the curriculum they provided.
In the end, Webster got twelve votes (some of the members might have thought they were voting for the original Daniel Webster--this is no pack of geniuses we're talking about), while Gohmert only got three and Yoho two. The Republican caucus has let us all down. Can we have a do-over?
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The new Senate includes 54 Republicans and 46 Democrats. Those 46 Democrats earned 20 million more votes, between them, than those 54 Republicans. Small states have far more power in the Senate than big ones, and as the small states in the country's middle keep emptying out, as people flee toward the coasts, that disparity will only become more pronounced.
(Below the fold: Inequality, health, heroes, Huckabee, numbers gone rogue, bears, and more. Keep reading!)