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It’s hard to believe that in all this excitement, I lost track of one of my favourite politicians, and now look what’s happened:

Yes, it is with a strange, somehow almost nostalgic mixture of regret and relief that I feel compelled to inform you, now, of an unfortunately non-mortal blow to the GOP Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives: Louie Gohmert is no more. He’s still alive, or at least no more brain-dead than he was, but that won’t do us pundits any good, because before the last mid-terms he vacated his sinecure in Congress and made an ill-starred run for Attorney General in his native Texas, falling flat on his face in the process. He didn’t even get the nomination. In the primary, he got a meagre 17% of the vote, and remember, this is the self-selected, stalwart, Texas MAGA vote we’re talking about, his people, so that’s gotta leave a mark. Perhaps, if the Comedy Gods favour us, he’ll emerge in some other public forum, I don’t know, maybe get himself a podcast/rant platform and give Alex Jones a little competition, or maybe wheedle his way into the Texas State Legislature, something like that. For now, we’ll be hearing nothing more from him, and that leaves me feeling a little at a loss, a little empty, and a little wistful. This guy was the tent pole of the chucklehead House MAGA contingent! That made him my reliable Plan B. Whenever I couldn’t think of something outrageous to write about, I only had to find out whatever it was that Louie just said, and I was off to the races.

He was a pioneer, you know. Before Marjorie Taylor-Greene, before Lauren Boebert, before Jim Jordan, before all the other moon bats – hell, before even Trump – Louie was out there, blazing the trail, combining for the first time within one human frame the truculence of a Newt Gingrich, the folksy, aw-shucks ignorance of a Sarah Palin, the opportunistic amorality of a Ted Cruz, and the sheer, gob-smacking bat-shittery of a Paul Gosar, all while introducing the genre of Insane Conspiracy Theory to mainstream political discourse. I maintain that mighty QAnon himself had nothing on this guy in his prime; he pulled an endless, interconnected chain of lunatic ideas out of his backside like they were link sausages, giving voice to thoughts that made parody not only irrelevant, but impossible. I’m telling you right now, what Donald didn’t learn about running for high office from the World Wrestling folks, he gleaned from watching the Great Gohmert’s game tapes.

Some highlights:

He introduced the notion of “terror babies”, suggesting that there was a sizeable fifth column of Muslim women infiltrating the United States in order to have babies which, by law, would thus be natural-born American citizens. The kids would then be taken back to whatever third world sandlots their mothers came from, trained from birth as terrorists, and re-introduced to the Murrican body politic, with no one being able to keep them out. Diabolical!

He was, naturally, a “birther”, insisting Obama was born in Kenya, and when that didn’t work, and Obama got in anyway, he sent letters to various US intelligence agencies and Inspectors General, demanding they look into the near certainty, based on what he was hearing, that the incoming administration was rife with members of the Muslim Brotherhood. This wasn’t just something he said to one of the professional hair-dos during one of his thousands of appearances on Fox News, mind you. It went out on official letterhead. He really seemed to believe it.

It was his considered view that apart from being ineligible for the presidency, Obama was, of course, comparable to Hitler.

Knowing, as he surely did, that the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun was a good guy (or gal!) with a gun, he said that the real problem when the Sandy Hook school massacre went down was that the school principal didn’t have an M-4 carbine somewhere handy in her office (the sort of sentiment he voiced after every mass shooting).

After the most recent slaughter of young children at Uvalde, he opined that “maybe if we heard more prayers from leaders of this country instead of taking God’s name in vain, we wouldn’t have the mass killings like we didn’t have before prayer was eliminated from schools”. (Wow! I mean, that’s just a classic, it’s peak GOP – c’mon, give it up, folks – he addressed the conversion of the nation’s elementary schools into charnel houses by pivoting to school prayer. A true Christian, our Louie!)

When COVID hit, he once again rose to the occasion by ridiculing the CDC while shouting endlessly about hydroxychloroquine, almost out-Trumping Donald.

He said homosexuality was equivalent to bestiality; accused Democrat Representative Eric Swalwell, whose district is in California’s Bay Area, of being responsible for the crime rates in cities like Austin, Chicago, and Phillie; reacted to the arrest of former Trump advisor (and fellow village idiot) Peter Navarro by yelping that “If you’re a Republican, you can’t even lie to Congress or lie to an FBI agent, or they’re coming after you”; equated the immigration influx at the border with the D-Day invasion; mused that gay members of the armed forces would just lay around all day “giving each other massages”, if allowed to serve openly; claimed that the CDC’s efforts to contain an Ebola outbreak were part of the “Democrats’ new war on women nurses”, who were being thrown under the bus somehow; and when, inevitably, he contracted COVID, he explained that it wasn’t owing to his refusal to obey House rules about wearing a mask, but just the opposite. See, having finally knuckled under and donned one of the ludicrous “face diapers”, he figured he caught COVID from the mask.

Not only that, he voted against making lynching a federal hate crime. (Suck it, Libtards!)

All that while constantly championing more tax cuts, railing against Woke bullying and political correctness, and taking swings at George Soros to boot. Never a misstep, this guy, just one tape-measure dinger after another. You want to talk about red meat for his constituents back in Texas? Listen, buddy, he served ’em whole f*@king cows.

Along the way, he earned the unofficial title of Dumbest Guy in Congress, a reputation he burnished whenever he spoke from the floor, or participated in committee hearings. About everybody’s favourite was that time (as readers might recall) he inquired of a member of the U.S. Forest Service whether her department could do something about supposed climate change by way of altering the orbit of the Earth, or Moon, or maybe both. This, perhaps, bears special emphasis: our Louie apparently believed it was within the capacity of an agency of the United States Government to alter the trajectory of our planet around the Sun, and of the Moon around our planet, and that it was somewhere inside the darkest recesses of the Bureau of Land Management that this awesome power was wielded (as I said at the time, not even NASA or the IRS?). “I’ll have to get back to you on that one”, said the non-plussed functionary on the other end of the Zoom call, following a lengthy pause. There are those who’ve suggested he was just goofin’ around, pulling everybody’s leg. Yeah, I don’t think so. Watch the tape. That’s him wearing his Serious Face:

Come 2020, as his Congressional career wound down, he was still swinging for the fences, a team player right to the end. He was one of the loudest voices hollering about voter fraud and Stop the Steal, joining the cabal of GOP stooges who voted against certifying the result of the 2020 election, and was deep enough into the skulduggery surrounding the January 6 insurrection that he thought it wise to ask Trump for a pardon, which he didn’t get, but you know, never hurts to ask.

It seems unfathomable, what with everything going so well, that for some reason he decided to move on to a new career back home. Why, oh why did you do it Louie? Why did you decide to leave Congress, where you were safe and warm? It wasn’t as if his seat was in jeopardy, not in the slightest, why, he’d already been elected to it seven times running, and looked good to become another of those legendary grey men who eventually have to be wheeled in on a gurney to vote for the latest tax break for the rich. God knows he had everything the folks back in his home district craved, from hatred of immigrants, to climate change denial, to opposition to abortion, to fierce antipathy towards the LGBTQ community, and, crucially, a bottomless devotion to unrestricted gun rights. Never was a Congressman better suited to represent his district.

They never would have voted him out.

Ah well. Maybe he grew weary of Washington, and the tiresome obligation to run for re-election every two frickin’ years, which these days meant you were never doing anything but campaigning and fund-raising. It’s a grind that wears them all down, bright lights and dim bulbs alike. Or perhaps he was looking for a stepping stone to the Governor’s mansion. Alas, when he made his run for the nomination for Texas AG, he came up against a Trump-endorsed incumbent, and Louie went down like a dark wizard vanquished by the apprentice to whom he’d taught all his most powerful spells and hexes. It was sad, really. Less than 20% of the vote. Fourth in a four-person primary. Christ. It didn’t have to end that way. You hate like hell to see it.

Oh, the one measure he sponsored in seven terms that made it into law? Curiously, it was nothing heinous or controversial, just a bill to make it easier for folks to get through to the dispatchers when dialling 9-1-1. Maybe he’d had a bad experience himself, trying to call for help one time. Whenever Republicans do anything halfway decent, it’s usually rooted in personal experience, absent which they simply can’t relate.

So that’s it. He’s gone. As a parting gesture he stood as the only member of the House of Representatives, the only one among 435 men and women of widely varying degrees of morality and intelligence, to vote against a bill suspending tariffs on imported baby formula in the midst of a national shortage.

We here at the Needlefish will do our part to keep Louie’s memory alive, and will continue to issue Gohmert Awards for particularly noteworthy instances of mendacity, flim-flammery, cruelty, and outright ass-holery. We may rest assured, after all he did to pave the way for a whole new generation of irrepressible nitwits that followed him into the House, that there’ll be no shortage of opportunities. His legacy lives on.

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