Step aside, Louie Gohmert and Michele Bachmann. I believe we have no choice but to crown the new chairperson of the House of Representatives' Crazy Caucus. Incidentally, the crown is more like the creepy wire mask worn by Hannibal Lecter. You know, to prevent spitting and biting.
It's easy to qualify for Crazy Caucus membership. All you have to do is to repeatedly pop off with remarks that not only confound sanity, reason and rationality, but the remarks also have to make us wonder how the hell you qualified to be one of the elite 535 members of the U.S. Congress tasked with authoring and voting upon laws that impact the most powerful nation in the world and its 300 million citizens. Oh, and it's a Republican-only club that includes the aforementioned Michele Bachmann and current chairperson Louie Gohmert, along with Steve King, Paul Broun, Scott DesJarlais, Virginia Foxx and Jack Kingston. Allen West and Joe Walsh are former "emeritus" members, but there's always a chance they'll make it back to Congress somehow.
And that brings us to the crowning of Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) as the wearer of the crown (mask). I'll get into specifics after some brief background.
Blackburn has a long history of ridiculous statements. The first time I noticed her was back in 2009 when she said about healthcare reform, "There is no test case out there that they can point to, no pilot project they can point to where a government-controlled health care system has brought down the cost, increased the access, taken care of those with pre-existing and chronic conditions, allowed portability, dealt with malpractice reform." No case -- except for nearly all industrialized nations and Mitt Romney's state of Massachusetts.
More recently, Blackburn brazenly parroted Alex Jones pro-gun talking points and seriously considered the notion that the president was lying when he said he's shot skeet at Camp David. Both of these incidents catapulted her into the Crazy Caucus in the first place, and with the most meteoric rise to the top of the crazy heap, Blackburn has attained the leadership post with the following statement about why she voted against the Violence Against Women Act:
When you start to make this about other things it becomes an “against violence act” and not a targeted focus act that there is there to address the issue of violence against women. [...]
I didn’t like the way it was expanded to include other different groups. What you need is something that is focused specifically to help the shelters and to help out law enforcement, who is trying to work with the crimes that have been committed against women and helping them to stand up.
That's right, she said she voted against the bill because it would've protected LGBT couples, Native American women and undocumented women who are victims of domestic violence. In other words, women in certain demographic or racial categories don't deserve the same protections under the law, so she refused to allow anyone to receive special protections. Regarding Native Americans, ThinkProgress pointed out:
Additionally, the reauthorized VAWA includes provisions to prevent serial rapists and similar abusers from preying on Native American women. If Blackburn considers Native American women a “different group,” then it’s one she should be most concerned about: Three out of every five Native American women has been assaulted by an intimate partner.
Not only are Blackburn's no-vote and subsequent remarks misogynistic (women can be misogynists, too), homophobic and racist against arguably the most decimated ethnic group on the continent, but her statement is also the same thin, tired argument that gets wheeled out every time hate crime-style laws come up for debate. The argument claims that no group should receive special protections against certain types of crime -- instead, we ought to rely upon existing crime prevention and law enforcement. But women, members of the LGBT community and racial minorities are too often victims of special varieties of crime specifically because the assailants attacked them out of a violent and sociopathic hatred of who the victims are, and therefore the victims require special law enforcement protections and outreach beyond what the law currently provides.
But I'm admittedly dealing in logic, fairness and sanity in the face of the new chairperson of the House Crazy Caucus. There isn't any logic, fairness or sanity to found there. Blackburn would rather pander to the darkest, most twisted instincts of the Republican far-right. After all, if there wasn't money and votes in being crazy, there wouldn't be a Crazy Caucus.