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“The Village Idiots”: The 13 Craziest, Most Offensive Things Said By Politicians In 2013

Unfortunately, it wasn’t easy limiting this year’s list to just 13 statements but here are the craziest and most offensive things said by American politicians this year:

13. “He’s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline.”

— Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R), quoted by the Bangor Daily News, on Democratic rival Troy Jackson (D) who he said has a “black heart” and should go back in the woods “and let someone with a brain come down here and do some good work.”

12. “Mankind has existed for a pretty long time without anyone ever having to give a sex-ed lesson to anybody. And now we feel like, oh gosh, people are too stupid unless we force them to sit and listen to instructions. It’s just incredible.”

— Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), quoted by Right Wing Watch, adding that it all reminded him of the Soviet Union.

11. “I am the senator. You are the citizen. You need to be quiet.”

— North Carolina State Senator Tommy Tucker (R), quoted by the Raleigh News and Observer, to Goldsboro News-Argus publisher Hal Tanner who was opposing legislation to change public notice requirements for local government.

10. “I wonder how many Boston liberals spent the night cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 with a hi-capacity magazine?”

— Arkansas State Rep. Nate Bell (R), on Twitter.

9. “This administration has so many Muslim brotherhood members that have influence that they just are making wrong decisions for America.”

— Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), in an interview with WND Radio, explaining what he sees as President Obama’s downplaying of the threat of radical Islam.

8. “More background checks? Dandy idea, Mr. President. Should’ve started with yours.”

— Sarah Palin, quoted by the New York Times, speaking to CPAC about President Obama’s gun control proposals.

7. “A holstered gun is not a deadly weapon… But anything can be used as a deadly weapon. A credit card can be used to cut somebody’s throat.”

— New Hampshire state Rep. Dan Dumaine (R), quoted by the Concord Monitor, opposing a move to ban guns for the chamber floor.

6. “In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out.”

— Texas State Rep. Jody Laubenberg (R), quoted by the AP, arguing that a bill restricting abortion needed no exemptions for case of rape.

5. “Assault weapons is a misused term used by suburban soccer moms who do not understand what is being discussed here.”

— Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (R), quoted by the Missouri News Horizon, on efforts to ban assault weapons.

4. “First of all, the kid’s going to grow up in Gracie Mansion. So I’m going to say, ‘Kid, don’t complain.'”

— Anthony Weiner (D), quoted by the Staten Island Advance, on what he’ll eventually tell his now 18-month old son about the sexting scandal that ended his congressional career.

3. “I’m not gay. So I’m not going to marry one.”

— Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), quoted by Politico, when asked if his views on gay marriage were changing.

2. “He’s partly right on that.”

— Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Georgia), an OB-GYN, quoted by the Marietta Daily Journal, on former Rep. Todd Akn’s (R-MO) “legitimate rape” comments.

1. “Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful. They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to believe that they could feel pain?”

— Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), quoted by Salon, suggested a fetus might masturbate.

By: Taegan Goddard, The Cloakroom, The Week, December 27, 2013

January 2, 2014 Posted by | Politics, Republicans | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“The Poison Of Ideology”: Republicans Have Even More Pain In Store For Their Base In Poor White Real America

Rick Santorum is right. Not far right, crazy right, piously right or, on most issues, never right. He is all of those things. But under the rubric that even a blind pig can find an acorn every now and then, the moral scourge of the Republican Party is on to something — a greater truth.

Earlier this summer, Santorum said Republicans look like the party of plutocrats, stiffing working people and the poor. The 2012 convention, he noted, was a parade of one-percenters, masters of the universe and company owners.

“But not a single — not a single — factory worker went out there,” he said. “Not a single janitor, waitress or person who worked in that company! We didn’t care about them.”

They still don’t care, and the darkening events of what looks to be an autumn of catastrophic failure by a Congress stuffed with extremists will prove Santorum’s point ever more.

Late Thursday, despite pleas from Catholic bishops and evangelicals, the Republican-dominated House passed a bill that would deprive 3.8 million people of assistance to buy food next year. By coincidence, this is almost the exact amount of people who have managed to remain just above the poverty line because of that very aid, the Census Bureau reported a few days ago.

A Republican majority that refuses to govern on other issues found the votes to shove nearly 4 million people back into poverty, joining 46.5 million at a desperation line that has failed to improve since the dawn of the Great Recession. It’s a heartless bill, aimed to hurt. Republicans don’t see it that way, of course. They think too many of their fellow citizens are cheats and loafers, dining out on lobster.

Certainly there are frauds among the one in seven Americans getting help from the program formerly known as food stamps. But who are the others, the easy-to-ignore millions who will feel real pain with these cuts? As it turns out, most of them live in Red State, Real People America. Among the 254 counties where food stamp use doubled during the economic collapse, Mitt Romney won 213 of them, Bloomberg News reported. Half of Owsley County, Ky., is receiving federal food aid. Half.

You can’t get any more Team Red than Owsley County; it is 98 percent white, 81 percent Republican, per the 2012 presidential election. And that hardscrabble region has the distinction of being the poorest in the nation, with the lowest household income of any county in the United States, the Census Bureau found in 2010.

Since nearly half of Owsley’s residents also live below the poverty line, it would seem logical that the congressman who represents the area, Hal Rogers, a Republican, would be interested in, say, boosting income for poor working folks. But Rogers joined every single Republican in the House earlier this year in voting down a plan to raise the minimum wage over the next two years to $10.10 an hour.

The argument holding back higher pay — a theory that Republicans accept without challenge — is that raising wages for the poorest workers would be bad for companies, and bad for hiring.

But experience debunks this convenient political shelter. Washington State has the highest state-mandated minimum wage in the country, $9.19 an hour, and an unemployment rate that has been running below the national average. It’s not all Starbucks, Amazon and Microsoft in Seattle, either. In the pine-forested sliver of eastern Washington, a high-wage state bumps right up against low-wage Idaho. Fast-food outlets flourish in Washington, the owners have said, because they can retain workers longer, while Idaho struggles to find qualified people to hold entry-level jobs.

Costco, they of the golf-cart-size containers of gummy bears, has long paid wages and benefits well above the industry average for big-box stores, and it hasn’t hurt the bottom line. The stock is up 79 percent over the last five years. Costco, to its credit, is urging Congress to raise the minimum wage. But that’s one big business Republicans will not listen to, because it breaks with the heartless credo of the new G.O.P.

The movement for higher minimum pay is raging through the states just now, with ballot initiatives and legislation plans. The people, in this case, will have to circumvent a Congress bent on actively trying to hurt the poor.

Republicans have more pain in store for their base in poor white America. Shutting down government, for one, will cause a ripple effect that will be hardest on those living paycheck-to-paycheck. The biggest obsession, the Moby-Dick of the right wing, is making sure millions of people do not have access to affordable health care. This week, Republicans drew the line for any doubters: they will wreck lives to blow up the health care law.

You have to wonder where this animus for those in the economic basement comes from. It’s too easy to say Republicans hate the poor. Limousine liberals can seem just as insensitive. And if Republicans were offering some genuinely creative approaches to helping the 26 million Americans who self-identified as “lower class” in a recent survey, they would deserve a listen. Tax cuts, the party’s solution to everything, do nothing for people who pay no federal income tax.

What’s at work here is the poison of ideology. Underlying the food assistance fight is the idea that the poor are lazy, and deserve their fate — the Ayn Rand philosophy. You don’t see this same reasoning applied to those Red State agricultural-industrialists living high off farm subsidies, and that’s why Republicans have separated the two major recipient groups of federal food aid. Subsidized cotton growers cannot possibly be equated with someone trying to stretch macaroni into three meals.

But Republican House leaders do have some empathy — for themselves. National Review reported this week that Representative Phil Gingrey, a hard-right conservative who wants to be the next senator from Georgia, complained in a private meeting about being “stuck here making $172,000 a year.” To say the least, he doesn’t yet qualify for food assistance.

 

By: Timothy Egan, The New York Times, September 19, 2013

September 20, 2013 Posted by | Poverty, Republicans | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“The Conservative Petri Dish”: How Republicans Roll In Georgia

If, as I have often suggested, Kansas and North Carolina are currently operating as sort of right-wing policy “laboratories” thanks to the highly-focused ideological nature of their Republican state legislative majorities, then my own home state of Georgia might be viewed as sort of a petri dish, where wingnuts don’t necessarily wield great power but do exert an immoderating influence on the GOP.

This is most obvious in terms of the politics of abortion. Real political junkies among you may recall that in 2010, a tight gubernatorial primary runoff between Nathan Deal and Karen Handel was by most accounts significantly affected by the exceptional hostility directed towards Handel by Georgia Right To Life, which did not take kindly to her opposition to legislation restricting embryo production at IV fertility clinics. That may seem ironic to those familiar with Handel’s later fame as the RTL martyr of a failed effort to eliminate ties between the Komen Foundation and Planned Parenthood. But antichoicers have different standards of purity in Georgia.

That became evident again this week when Georgia RTL broke with the National Right To Life Committee to oppose the “fetal pain” abortion bill on the House floor, as reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Daniel Malloy:

[T]he message of the last-minute flurry from GRTL was clear, as it urged its supporters to call their member of Congress to request a no vote on the “hijacked” bill.

“What they’ve done is target a particular class of children, those conceived in rape and incest,” [GRTL spox Suzanne] Ward said. “While Georgia Right to Life has the utmost sympathy for those victims, we can’t justify murder in those circumstances.”

And surprise, surprise, one of the co-sponsors of the original House bill, Rep. Paul Broun, denounced the bill and voted against it, carrying with him another Georgia colleague, Rep. Rob Woodall.

Broun, has you might recall, is running for the U.S. Senate in 2014, as is Karen Handel, and as are two other House Republicans from Georgia (Jack Kingston and Phil Gingrey) who went along with national RTL groups and voted for the “fetal pain” bill. Malloy figures Broun’s maneuver will earn him the GRTL endorsement later in the cycle.

As I’ve suggested for a while, whether or not Broun wins the GOP Senate nomination, he’s driving the whole field in a decidedly starboard direction. Perhaps it’s a coincidence, but on the same day that he risked the opprobrium of GRTL by voting for an unconstitutional abortion ban that didn’t go far enough, Phil Gingrey made a speech on the House floor suggesting that schools hold classes instructing kids on “traditional gender roles.”

That’s how Republicans roll down in Georgia.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly Political Animal, June 19, 2013

June 22, 2013 Posted by | Abortion, Republicans | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“America’s Scariest Doctors”: Meet The GOP Doctors Caucus Where Fetal Masturbation Is Just The Tip Of The Iceberg

The phrase “fetal masturbation” made an unlikely appearance in the political discourse Wednesday, thanks to a Republican congressman who said the country needs a 20-week abortion ban because he’s seen sonograms that show male fetuses “feel pleasure” when they “have their hand between their legs.”

The science on whether fetuses can feel pain (let alone masturbate) is pretty dubious, which is something one might expect the congressman, Texas Rep. Michael Burgess, to know, considering the fact that he’s an OB-GYN and a proud member of the GOP Doctors Caucus. But a look at the caucus’s roster reveals he has plenty of company from other lawmakers with controversial thoughts on science and women’s health.

Caucus chairman Rep. Phil Gingrey, also an OB-GYN, defended Rep. Todd Akin’s infamous comments about rape and abortion last year. Saying that Akin was “partly right” that a women’s body can shut down an unwanted pregnancy due to rape, Gingrey added that a 15-year-old girl who gets pregnant might accuse her boyfriend of rape because she’s embarrassed, so “that’s what he meant when he said legitimate rape versus nonlegitimate rape.”

Then there’s Rep. Tom Price, who, when asked what women who can’t afford birth control should do in the absence of insurance coverage, replied “there’s not one woman” who lacks access. “Bring me one woman who has been left behind,” he said, “There’s not one.” A Hart Research survey found that about one in three female voters have struggled to afford the medicine at some point, including 55 percent of young women.

Virtually all of the caucus’s members support defunding Planned Parenthood, even though doing so would be devastating for women’s health issues that have nothing to do with abortion. Co-chair Rep. Diane Black pledged, “I will not rest until we put a stop to Planned Parenthood’s blatant abuse of taxpayer dollars.”

Others have profound respect for science. Co-chairman Rep. Phil Roe thinks there are “many questions surrounding the science” of climate change. While Rep. Paul Broun, who still makes house calls, thinks evolution and the Big Bang are “lies straight from the pit of Hell.”

Then there’s Rep. Scott DesJarlais, a pro-life conservative who “had an affair with a patient and later pressured her to get an abortion.” Later, the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners found DesJarlais had slept with two female patients in violation of a state law that prohibits “unprofessional conduct.” He was forced to pay a small fine. (He also slept with three co-workers.)

Or Rep. Charles Boustany, who was “has been the defendant in at least three malpractice suits over his two decade career,” according to Politico. (He maintains a medical license in Louisiana under no restrictions and his staff said the suits are common.)

Rep. Ron Paul was a member of the caucus as well before leaving the Congress. And while his son, Sen. Rand Paul, is not a member of the caucus because he’s in the upper chamber, some have raise questions about his war on board certification for his ophthalmology practice.

The GOP Doctors Caucus helped lead the fight against Obamacare, so voters should rest assured that if they had their way to repeal the law, they’d be in good hands.

 

By: Alex Seitz-Wald, Salon, June 20, 2013

June 22, 2013 Posted by | GOP | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Growing Opposition”: More GOP Lawmakers Balk At Chained CPI

At least officially, the White House’s offer for some kind of grand debt-reduction deal is still on the table. To the chagrin of the left, President Obama is prepared to accept the “reforms” Republicans asked for in social-insurance programs, in exchange for concessions on tax revenue.

GOP lawmakers, true to form, continue to reject the idea of compromise, and to date, have not pointed to any concessions they’re willing to even entertain. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) acknowledged yesterday what everyone already knew — there will be no deal.

But of particular interest is the growing Republican opposition to the one thing they said they really wanted as part of a possible compromise.

Two House Republicans have told constituents they oppose proposed cuts to Social Security and veterans benefits by reducing the cost of living adjustment, according to letters they sent to constituents. President Barack Obama included the plan, known as chained CPI, in his annual budget, but specified that he was only offering it as a concession to entice Republicans into a compromise. For Reps. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) and Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), however, the concession is itself objectionable.

Note, we’re not just talking about two random House Republicans. Immediately after Obama said he’s willing to give GOP lawmakers what they asked for, when Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee who’ll oversee his party’s 2014 midterm efforts, accused President Obama of waging “a shocking attack on seniors.”

Then Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) said he’s “not a fan” of the policy. Rep. James Lankford (Okla.), the chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, called chained CPI “draconian.” Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) said of the policy, “It’s not my plan… This is the president’s plan.” Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), a House Ways and Means Committee member, added, “I’m very sensitive to the fact that you’re impacting current seniors in particular. It’s something I’m very hesitant to jump up and down and support.”

Let’s be clear about the chain of events:

1. Congressional Republicans demand that the White House put chained CPI on the table as part of budget talks.

2. President Obama reluctantly agrees to put chained CPI on the table as part of budget talks.

3. Congressional Republicans criticize the chained CPI policy they said they wanted.

To reiterate a point from a month ago, it’s only fair to mention that plenty of congressional Republicans, including members of the GOP leadership, have welcomed Obama’s offer — while refusing to point to any comparable concessions they’d accept, of course — so this isn’t a party-wide phenomenon.

But we’re well past the point of Greg Walden acting as a solo hack, condemning a policy he supports because he thinks it might boost the GOP in the 2014 midterms. There’s a sizable contingent of congressional Republicans who have publicly criticized the exact same policy congressional Republicans said they wanted Obama to accept.

Shouldn’t that affect the larger discussion rather dramatically?

Remember, the White House doesn’t actually like chained-CPI. Obama freely admits he doesn’t want this policy, and only offered it because Republicans are such enthusiastic supporters of the idea. From the president’s perspective, he and his team are going to have to tolerate some measures they don’t like if there’s going to be a bipartisan compromise in which both sides accept concessions they would otherwise reject.

But that was before GOP lawmakers called this policy — the one Republicans demanded — a “shocking attack on seniors” and a “draconian” policy.

So, given all of this, can someone remind me what’s stopping the president from simply walking away from the idea he doesn’t like anyway? At this point, Obama could hardly be blamed for declaring, “I thought Republicans wanted this policy, but if they consider this a draconian attack on seniors that they cannot support, I’ll gladly drop the idea and we discuss something else.”

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, May 8, 2013

May 9, 2013 Posted by | Politics, Social Security | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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