Jason Stanford, 1/9/2013 [Archive]

Forget Assault Weapons - Texas Congressman's Focus is on Hammers

Forget Assault Weapons — Texas Congressman's Focus is on Hammers

By Jason Stanford

I love Texas because of special snowflakes such as Louie Gohmert. In more urbane states where research universities vastly outnumber NFL teams, Gohmert would stick to writing angry letters to the editor about fluoride and fluorescent light bulbs and the dadgum president being born in Africa. Instead, Gohmert's a congressman. He gets to vote and sponsor bills on such weighty matters of state as fluoride and fluorescent light bulbs and the dadgum president being born in Africa.

Texans who trade in stories about "Uncle Louie" Gohmert have been doing land-rush business lately. One of the last acts of the 112nd Congress, the least-popular and least-effective in history, was to excise the word "lunatic" from federal law because no one believes the moon makes people crazy anymore, and the word insults those with mental illnesses. Only Gohmert stood in defense of lunatics.

"I don't have a problem with 'lunatic' being used in the federal law ... It really has application around this town," said Gohmert.

And when it came time to elect a House Speaker for the new congress, Rep. Gohmert voted for Allen West, a tea party hero who lost re-election. It takes a chicken-fried je ne sais quoi to vote for a guy to lead a legislative body who's no longer in the body.

We're not all like Gohmert here in Texas. Gohmert is actually one of our better ones. He was class president at Texas A&M University, a public university where they like to dress up and march around like soldiers even though it's not a military college, and tens of thousands of students practice cheering on Friday nights for Saturday football games.

Gohmert got his law degree at Baylor, which either goes to show that nobody is totally dumb or that just because someone's a lawyer doesn't mean they're smart. Then he got himself elected judge, and all would have been fine if Gov. Rick Perry had never appointed him chief justice of an appellate court. Consider this: At one time justice was in the hands of a man who thinks Al Qaeda is sneaking pregnant women into America to have terror babies. "Sober as a judge" is not a phrase we throw around lightly here.

Most Texans don't treasure Uncle Louie stories. We call these people "normal." But if you can't appreciate paranoid absurdity spilling over the gunwales of good sense, you'll sink into the sludge of political meanness. Texas offers an abundance of free-range comedy untamed by political correctness, sustaining those of us who huddle behind enemy lines while our Republican overlords pretend there is nothing strange at all about our governor jogging with a handgun loaded with hollow-point bullets to protect his daughter's puppy from snakes.

Even in this Orwellian bacchanal, Gohmert stands apart as a singular purveyor of "authentic frontier gibberish." Most of his material comes from appearances on Fox News, which is rapidly becoming the political comedy network.

Two days after the Newtown massacre, Gohmert told Chris Wallace he wanted to keep semi-automatic assault weapons legal "for the same reason George Washington said a free people should be an armed people," said Gohmert in his distinctively sincere cadence. "It ensures against the tyranny of the government."

Note to Gohmert: Al Qaeda has guns, but we have Seal Team Six. Osama bin Laden is dead. Taking up arms against our government doesn't keep you free. It makes you our enemy. And what Washington really said was, "A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined." (Politifact rated Gohmert's claim false.)

Gohmert later went on Dennis Miller's show to attack the very nomenclature of weaponry used for mass murders.

"I refuse to play the game of 'assault weapon,'" said Gohmert. "That's any weapon. It's a hammer. It's the machetes. In Rwanda that killed 800,000 people, an article that came out this week, the massive number that are killed with hammers." (Editors: That is a direct quote.)

This is not a political golden age of our republic. The leaders obstructing progress diminish us all, and they seem particularly shocked when history casts real-time judgments against them. Thank goodness we have Louie Gohmert to entertain us while his ilk makes a mockery of what Washington intended.


©Copyright 2013 Jason Stanford, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Jason Stanford is a nationally syndicated columnist, author and Democratic political consultant who lives in Texas. He can be reached at stanford@oppresearch.com and on Twitter @jasstanford.

This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.

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