Birthers, militias, Tea Partiers — it’s hard to keep track of all the fringe groups that have popped up across the nation. But what to do when the extreme ideas of some of these groups bleed into the politics of public officeholders?
We’ve rounded up some of the right-wing House GOP members who may not have the national presence (or charisma) of a Michele Bachmann or a Steve King, but who certainly share their penchant for appealing to the outer limits of the political stratosphere…Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) has been very vocally opposed to trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City. He seems to believe it could lead U.S. troops to become more like cops, taking “forensic wagons” into battle, and using “latex gloves” to “take DNA and fingerprints.”
Gohmert also rambled about the “wide open” definition of sexual orientation on the House floor: “There are all kinds of perversions, what most of us would call perversions, some would say it sounds like fun, but most of us would say were perversions and there have been laws against them.”
Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) got some attention for yelling out “baby killer” while Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) was speaking on the House floor right before health care reform passed. Neugeubauer defended his outburst, saying he was calling the bill a baby killer, and not Stupak.
Speaking of babies, he is among those who co-sponsored the infamous “Birther Bill,” that would require presidential candidates to present their birth certificates to prove their eligibility for office.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) said the health care reform bill will allow Democrats to “finally lay the cornerstone of their Socialist utopia on the backs of the American people.”
He also downplayed reports that anti-health care protesters called out racial epithets at Congressional Black Caucus members: “When you use totalitarian tactics, people begin to act crazy.”
Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) has said that President Obama “has the three things that are necessary to establish an authoritarian government,” a national police force, gun control and control of the press. Continuing on this theme, he’s also said Obama’s nationalized the country more than Hugo Chavez has nationalized Venezuela, and called Nancy Pelosi a “domestic enem[y] of the Constitution.”
Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) has run into trouble with her Muslim constituents, waging a campaign against supposedly terrorist-linked Muslim interns’ supposed infiltration of Capitol Hill national security committees. This idea arose from a book called Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that’s Conspiring to Islamize America — for which Myrick wrote the foreword.
Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) once suggested that African-Americans are worse off now (because of legalized abortion) than they were during the time of slavery. “Far more black children,” he said. “Far more of the African-American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by the policies of slavery.”
Franks also argued that President Obama’s pro-choice stance shows he’s an “enemy of humanity,” though Franks later clarified that he actually meant unborn humanity.
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) introduced a bill that would bump Ulysses S. Grant from the $50 bill in favor of Ronald Reagan. He said of his bill: “Every generation needs its own heroes. One decade into the 21st century, it’s time to honor the last great president of the 20th and give President Reagan a place beside Presidents Roosevelt and Kennedy.”
Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), who also co-sponsored the “Birther Bill,” brushed aside Obama’s birth announcement in a local newspaper as irrelevant, saying it’s “like me sending out a birth announcement for one of my children.”
Poe also compared the White House party crashers to illegal immigrants, mocking the negative attention drawn by these “undocumented guests.” “Maybe they were just trying to feed their family,” he suggested sarcastically.
Editor’s Note: This post has been edited since it was first published.