Without much fanfare, former Rep. James Traficant (D-Ohio) died two weeks ago at age 73 following a tractor accident on his farm. In 2009, he was released from prison after serving a seven year sentence for bribery, tax evasion, and racketeering. But despite the criminal history and the ridiculous hair, Traficant's enduring legacy will be, or at least should be, his hilarious 60-second "beam me up" speeches on the floor of the House of Representatives, as well as his wildly defiant pro se representation at his congressional expulsion hearing.
Behold, Jim Traficant's greatest hits:
House floor speech on the Vagina Monologues, October 5, 2000:
Broadway has announced a new play called Vaginal Monologues (sic). The promo states that Vaginal Monologues (sic) uses humor and drama to explore such things as sexual fantasies, orgasms, pelvic examinations and rape. Now if that is not enough to entice your condominium, this vaginal virtuoso is being billed as theater at its finest.
Unbelievable. What's next? Rectal Diaries? Men are dropping like flies in America from prostate cancer and Broadway is promoting vaginal titillation.
Beam me up! I advise all New York men to sleep on their stomachs, and I yield back all the STDs on the East Coast.
House floor speech on St. Louis alderman's decision to urinate during a filibuster, July 20, 2001:
Mr. Speaker, politicians have always been known for gas, but a St. Louis alderman had to make an important decision. In the midst of a heated debate, she had to urinate. Now if that is not enough to threaten a filibuster, the Member said, and I quote, "Rather than leave the Chamber, my staff surrounded me with blankets,'' and ladies and gentlemen, the rest is history. The woman did void.
Unbelievable. What's next? Chamber port-a-potties? How about window urinals? Beam me up! I yield back the fact that when taxpayers say politics stink they're not talking about the Roto-Rooter man.
House floor speech on jobs, April 23, 1996:
Mr. Speaker, Medicare trust funds lost another $4 billion. Payroll contributions keep going down. Maybe it's the type of jobs that are being created.
Check this out: How about a handkerchief folder, a drawstring knotter, a hooker inspector, a pantyhose crotch closer machine operator supervisor, a muff winder, a fur blower, a wizzer operator, a brassiere cup molder fitter.
Evidently, Mr. Speaker, when American workers become muff winding brassieras fitters, and fur blowing wizzer operators, the Medicare trust fund will continue to lose money. Maybe we better take a look at the issue and also take a look at these jobs that do not pay a whole lot of money.
How about a dreawstring knotter? That is really a goal in life.
Congressional expulsion hearing, 2002:
I want you to disregard all the opposing counsel has said. I think they're delusionary (sic); I think they've had something funny for lunch in their meal. I think they should be handcuffed to a chain-link fence, flogged, and all of their hearsay evidence should be thrown the hell out. And if they lie again, I'm gonna go over and kick 'em in the crotch. Thank you very much.
Greatest hits compilation courtesy of Roll Call:
They just don't make congressmen like this anymore.