Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the wildest attacks, conspiracy theories, and other loony behavior from the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:
5: Iowa House Republicans
Photo: Scott* via Flickr.com
Ever since the Iowa Supreme Court’s unanimous 2009 ruling that same-sex marriage is legal in the state, Iowa conservatives have worked tirelessly to undo the decision. With no legal leg to stand on, right-wing activists have turned to the political system, successfully removing three of the seven justices through ballot challenges, then unsuccessfully trying to pressure the rest to resign, or impeach them.
With those efforts failing, Republicans in Iowa’s state legislature have come up with a new plan: cutting their pay until they quit.
The Iowa City Gazette reports that the right-wingers’ amendment to House File 120 would lower the salaries of the four justices who were part of the decision legalizing same-sex marriage, while leaving the salaries of the other three unchanged.
“It’s not the merits of what they said in that decision,” Rep. Dwayne Alons told the Gazette, presumably with a straight face. Rather, he’s just trying to stop “an encroaching wave” of judicial decisions with which he disagrees.
“It’s our responsibility to maintain the balance of power,” Rep. Tom Shaw concurred, doubtless without any sense of irony.
If the amendment to scale justices’ salaries based on their perceived liberalism somehow passes through the House, it will almost certainly be swiftly struck down by the same court system it targets.
4: U.S. House Republicans
House Republicans are also acting insane on the federal level, testing the classic definition of insanity by doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the “thing” in question is repealing Obamacare.
The Hill reports that GOP freshmen are pushing for the House to hold a 37th vote on repealing the landmark health care law, apparently out of jealousy of their colleagues who have already tried and failed to do away with the law.
“The guys who have been up here the last two years, we can go home and say, ‘Listen, we voted 36 different times to repeal or replace Obamacare.’ Tell me what the new guys are supposed to say?” second-term Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) asked.
Rep. Trey Radel concurred. “I want a chance as a freshman to do that, even if it’s just symbolic.”
That Radel recognizes that the vote is purely symbolic is telling. Even though he knows that the bill won’t be repealed, and he should be able to tell from the 2012 elections that it won’t help his party at the polls, he still demands a vote anyway. Based on the 2012 campaign, it’s possible that they genuinely don’t have any other ideas.
3: Ray Canterbury
When then-presidential candidate Newt Gingrich revealed that his latest “big idea” was repealing child labor laws and putting students to work as janitors, his plan was primarily met with a combination of scorn and derision. But to Ray Canterbury, a Republican member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, the proposal was no laughing matter.
Canterbury took Gingrich’s plan one step further with his argument against the Feed to Achieve Act, which would create a public-private partnership to provide free breakfast and lunch for all West Virginia students, from kindergarten through high-school seniors.
According to Canterbury, however, “there is no such thing as a free lunch” — so those kindergarteners should have to labor for their meals.
“I think it would be a good idea if perhaps we had the kids work for their lunches: trash to be taken out, hallways to be swept, lawns to be mowed, make them earn it,” Canterbury said.
“If they [students] miss a lunch or they miss a meal they might not, in that class that afternoon, learn to add, they may not learn to diagram a sentence, but they’ll learn a more important lesson,” he added.
While Canterbury’s proposal may seem stupid and offensive, it does have at least one supporter: Fox News, which is now asking viewers to weigh in on the Dickensian plan.
2: Pat Robertson
700 Club host Pat Robertson’s daily rant was even more untethered to reality than usual Thursday, when he claimed that Planned Parenthood actually inspired Adolf Hitler to murder millions in the Holocaust.
Margaret Sanger “was the one who set the stage for Adolf Hitler…he copied her,” Robertson insisted, citing Google as his evidence.
“What they said was, they said ‘what we’ve got to do in order to get the black people in America to have abortions, we have to have some noted black leader who will come out for Planned Parenthood and we’ll give him the Margaret Sanger Award and therefore he will be our poster boy showing the black people they should have abortions,” Robertson added.”It was strictly genocide.”
Right Wing Watch has video of Robertson’s claim.
As Right Wing Watch points out, both PolitiFact and The Washington Post debunked the claim when it was previously put forth by noted truth-teller Herman Cain. But if nothing else, Robertson has become the latest example that Godwin’s Law applies to the right wing, as well as the internet.
1: Glenn Beck and Stella Tremblay
Yet again, Glenn Beck claims at least a share of the number one spot on the list, this time for his crazy, libelous claims about the Boston Marathon bombing. For the past week, Beck has relentlessly claimed that a Saudi victim of the attack is actually an al Qaeda operative who recruited the Tsarnaev brothers to carry out the bombing — a fact that the Obama administration has, naturally, covered up. Although Beck’s latest conspiracy is easily debunked — even by a guest on his own show — he is sticking with it, insisting that the cover-up “is so far beyond Benghazi” that it’s criminal, and an irreversible turning point in American history.
What sets this story apart from all of Beck’s other wild conspiracies is the fact that an elected official has bought into it. As Steve Benen notes on his MaddowBlog, New Hampshire representative Stella Tremblay (R-Auburn) has voiced her agreement with Beck, posting on his Facebook page that events have unfolded “just as you said would happen.”
“The Boston Marathon was a Black Ops ‘terrorist’ attack. One suspect killed, the other one will be too before they even have a chance to speak. Drones and now ‘terrorist’ attacks by our own Government. Sad day, but a ‘wake up’ to all of us,” the elected official wrote. Tremblay went on to cite conspiracy nut Alex Jones as another clairvoyant who, like Beck, knows the truth about the federal government’s evil deeds.
Reached by phone to clarify her remarks, Tremblay told a local paper that “she had suspicions of some kind of plot involving Secretary of State John Kerry, Saudi nationals, and ‘black ops’ soldiers at the scene of the marathon.”
As Benen concluded: “Say hello to the Glenn Beck wing of the Republican Party.”