Unhinged Republicans—In Their Own Words

Is this mic on? Quotes from Congress’ most outrageously outspoken conservatives.

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A collection of quotes from Republican members of the 111th Congress weighing in on the important issues of the day: how health care reform will kill you; the nation’s descent into socialism, Nazism (or both); and why caribou like to mate next to oil pipelines:

Health Care Scaremongering

“Last week Democrats released a health care bill which essentially said to America’s seniors: Drop dead.” —Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Fla.)

“One in five people have to die because they went to socialized medicine!…I would hate to think that among five women, one of ’em is gonna die because we go to socialized care.” —Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)

The Republicans’ health care plan “is pro-life because it will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government.” —Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.)

“We’ve been battling this socialist health care, the nationalization of health care, that is going to absolutely kill senior citizens. They’ll put them on lists and force them to die early because they won’t get the treatment as early as they need.” —Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)

“You have every right to fear. You shouldn’t have counseling at the end of life….We should not have a government program that determines if you’re going to pull the plug on grandma.” —Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)

At a town hall meeting in August, Rep. Wally Herger (R-Calif.) described health care reform as a “threat to our democracy.” After a member of the audience volunteered, “I am a proud right-wing terrorist,” Herger replied, “Amen, God bless you. There is a great American.”

 “This is the best health care system in the world. We don’t wait in line…We will stand in a line sometimes for a concert or for a ball game when we’re trying to cram 50,000 or 100,000 people through those gates in a short period of time for a definitive time when something starts. That’s about the only time that Americans stand in line.” —Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)

“They’re going to save money by rationing care, getting you in a long line. Places like Canada, United Kingdom, and Europe. People die when they’re in line.”—Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)

“That’s exactly what’s going on in Canada and Great Britain today. They don’t have the appreciation of life, as we do in our society, evidently…A lot of people are gonna die, this program of ‘government option’ is being touted as being this panacea, the savior of allowing people to have quality health care at an affordable price—is gonna kill people.” —Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) 

“When people have a cold in say England or Canada, they call a doctor. But when they have cancer or diabetes they call a travel agent and want to come to america because we still have the best system in the world… Honestly, I’m scared. I’m scared for my two little babies that are turning a year old in a few days and I think the American people should be scared to see government take over health care.” —Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.)

“It’s cruel and inhuman to ask the Canadians to give up on their access to good health care here in the United States of America…Let me conclude by simply saying that this Obamacare is cruel and inhuman to Canadians.” —Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)

“The problems we currently face with our health care system would be nothing compared to the crisis we would face should government bureaucrats begin dictating what treatments we can and cannot have…It is dangerous for America to replace our current health care system by diving headlong into socialized medicine.” —Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.)

“There are no Americans who don’t have healthcare. Everybody in this country has access to healthcare.” —Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.)

At a town hall meeting in August, a distraught woman told Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) that her husband’s insurance wouldn’t cover treatment for a brain injury. Coburn replied, “The idea that the government is the solution to our problems is an inaccurate, a very inaccurate statement”—and told her to contact his office. 

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) decried government-run medical care while describing how he’d had a heart attack on Capitol Hill: “I was lucky that  was in the basement of the Capitol and there was a doctor with an EKG machine literally between myself and where that door is. That was pure luck. And I’m also lucky that because I’m a congressman there was an ambulance outside the Capitol.” 

“I hope when we go back in after Labor Day that we will step back, start over, and think about the incremental adjustments we need to make in the world’s finest healthcare.” —Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) 

“This is the abortion industry bailout bill of 2009.  It will cause hundreds of thousands per year additional abortions because it will market it, provide new venues, new abortion clinics and public subsidies, public funds will be paying for abortions.” —Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) 

“The goal of this legislation has been clear from the beginning.  To pass a public option that will serve as a gateway to single payer, government-controlled health care…Once the government is the only option, it will inevitably have to ration care.” —Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) 

“I would rather stop this socialization of health care because once the government pays for your health care, they have every right to tell you what you eat, what you drink, how you exercise, where you live.” —Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)

 “What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing…We will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn’t pass…Right now, we are looking at reaching down the throat and ripping the guts out of freedom. And we may never be able to restore it if we don’t man up and take this one on.” —Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.)

Obama Hysteria

In March, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said that if Obama were elected, Al Qaeda would be “dancing in the streets…If they don’t dance in the streets, I will come and apologize to you and everybody in America.” 

“I’m very concerned that he may have anti-American views. That’s what the American people are concerned about.” —Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.)

“The way to look at the reasons Obama doesn’t place his hand over his heart when the national anthem is playing, or wear an American flag pin is primarily because he is not willful or spiteful, but because it just doesn’t occur to him because it’s not the way he’s been raised. American patriotism is not imprinted on his mind or in his heart, because he wasn’t raised as an American.” —Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)

“I don’t know why President Obama is obsessed with turning terrorists loose in America…Barack Obama is disarming America…Those of you who think like I do hope this country can hang on another 16 months.” —Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.)

“Republicans are struggling right now to find the great white hope. I suggest to any of you who are concerned about that, who are Republican, there are some great young Republican minds in Washington.” —Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.)

“He [Obama] has the three things that are necessary to establish an authoritarian government…And so we need to be ever-vigilant, because freedom is precious…They’re trying to develop an environment where they can take over. We’ve seen that historically.” —Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) 

“[Obama is] the star of ACORN, the lead, chief organizer.” —Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) 

On Obama’s national service program: “It’s under the guise of quote ‘volunteerism’…I believe that there is a very strong chance that we will see that young people will be put into mandatory service. And the real concerns is that there are provisions for what I would call reeducation camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go to work in some of these politically correct forums.” —Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)

“Well, we just heard last week that the federal government now under the Obama administration is calling for a reordering of America’s food supply. What’s that going to mean? Now will the White House decide how many calories we consume, or what types of food we consume?” —Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)

“The people in our country, they don’t care who the voice is, they just want someone, they want to know that someone is speaking out for them against what will certainly bring about the destruction of our great country if we continue to go down the Obama path.” —Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)

“Obama’s first act as president of any consequence, in the middle of a financial meltdown, was to send taxpayers’ money overseas to pay for the killing of unborn children in other countries…There’s almost nothing that you should be surprised at after that. We shouldn’t be shocked that he does all these other insane things. A president that has lost his way that badly, that has no ability to see the image of God in these little fellow human beings, if he can’t do that right, then he has no place in any station of government and we need to realize that he is an enemy of humanity.” —Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) 

“We’re almost reaching a revolution in this country.” —Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.)

Flirting With the Birthers

After writing the so-called “birther bill” (which would require presidential campaigns to present  candidate’s birth certificates) Rep. Bill Posey (Illinois) says it was not about Obama: “I don’t want to tackle it head on with him.” However, he added, “The only people that I know who are afraid to take drug tests are the people who use drugs.” —Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fl.)  

“What I don’t know is why the President can’t produce a birth certificate. I don’t know anybody else that can’t produce one. And I think that’s a legitimate question.” —Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)

“There are probably very few Republicans in the House more disappointed in Barack Obama for his position of promoting abortion on demand, for standing by and letting jihad gain traction in the world and for undermining our constitution and turning us into a socialist nation. That being said, he’s a citizen of the United States of America.” —Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.)  

“Barack Obama could solve this problem and make the birthers, you know, back off, by simply showing us his long-form birth certificate. That’d solve the problem. There’s some other issue, I don’t know what it is, that he doesn’t want people to see the birth certificate on.” —Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.)

On the birthers: “They have a point…I don’t discourage it…But I’m going to pursue defeating [Obama] on things that I think are very destructive to America.” —Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.)


Red Baiting

On the stimulus package: “This steamroller of socialism is being shoved down our throats, and it will strangle our economy. This porkulous bill has a few decent provisions in it, but it’s mostly filled with mystery meat. Rancid meat.” —Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.)

“The question is, did we elect a President because we wanted to have a social democracy system? When Americans cast their vote for Barack Obama and they cast it for the Democratic Congress, did they also intend that this country should adopt social democracy, that lesser form of Marxism?” —Rep. John Carter (R-Texas)

Asked by the Washington Times if the Democratic Party should be renamed the “Democratic-Socialist Party,” Rep. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said, “It would probably be harmful to rename the party, but it wouldn’t be harmful to say there’s a big trend toward socialism with this budget…Whenever the government does more, there’s less for the private sector, that’s a movement toward socialism.”

“Now, I don’t know the distinctions between communism, socialism, and progressivism. I would think we’ll get all kinds of definitions and the nuances will emerge if we can have an intense debate about this. But there are a lot of similar philosophies within those ideologies.”—Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)

“This administration and the liberal leadership in this Congress is going down the same road that Hugo Chavez has taken the Venezuelans…Now where is that train going to take us? We’ve got a clear picture of that, too. All we have to do is look in Cuba, look in the Soviet-controlled Soviet …That’s exactly where we’re heading in America today if we continue down this road, this steamroller of socialism , this high-speed train that’s going to drive us off the economic cliff.” —Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.)

“It is killing this country to move so quickly towards socialism…. I learned a great lesson on exactly why socialism never works. Not only did it not work for the New Testament church, and eventually Apostle Paul had to issue an order that if you don’t work, you don’t eat, it didn’t work for the Pilgrims. They had too many people starve to death the first year; so they went to private property and it flourished.” —Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)

“If there’s a push for a socialist society where the foundations of individual rights and liberties are undermined and everybody is thrown together living collectively off one pot of resources earned by everyone, this is one of the goals they have to go to—same-sex marriage, because it has to plow through marriage in order to get to their goal.”—Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) 

 “When you take a lurch to the left you end up in a totalitarian dictatorship. There is no freedom to the left. It’s always to our side of the aisle.” —Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)

“I’m just trying to bring attention to the fact that we may—may not, I hope not—but we may have a problem with that type of philosophy of radical socialism or Marxism.” —Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.)

Nazi Baiting

On Obama’s proposed “national security force”: “That’s exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany and it’s exactly what the Soviet Union did. When he’s proposing to have a national security force that’s answering to him, that is as strong as the U.S. military, he’s showing me signs of being Marxist…You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany. I’m not comparing him to Adolf Hitler. What I’m saying is there is the potential of going down that road.” —Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.)   

“Following the progressivism of Wilson were communism, fascism and Nazism. All believed in the state and tried to marginalize religion…All believed in the minimum wage, state control of private property for the public good, unionization and environmentalism. And they believed in eugenics to purify the gene pool…And with the Obama administration, just as in Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy and Wilson’s America, the leaders of major corporations are falling in line.” —Rep. John Linder (R-Ga.)

“We have now national socialism in America.” —Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), talking about the federal takeover of GM 

“These are kids in Germany in 1923, and they’re stacking what looks like bricks. What they are, in fact, stacking is their currency…That’s just how bad inflation can be, and we all know the end of that story. It ended up into Nazi Germany.” —Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), displaying a photo on the House floor

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) went on conspiracy monger Alex Jones’ radio show to discuss Obama. “Look at Hitler,” said Jones. Gohmert replied, “Absolutely. Boy that’s the best example, maybe the best example…You just referred to that point in history where this stuff has been done before. It was done in the 1930s and its not the only place its been done. It has been done throughout history.”


Climate Cluelessness

“I believe that the earth’s climate is changing, but I think it’s changing for natural variation reasons. And I think mankind has been adopting, or adapting to climate as long as man has walked the earth. When it rains, we find shelter. When it’s hot, we get shade. When it’s cold, we find a warm place to stay.” —Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) 

“Carbon dioxide, Mister Speaker, is a natural byproduct of nature. Carbon dioxide is natural. It occurs in Earth. It is a part of the regular lifecycle of Earth. In fact, life on planet Earth can’t even exist without carbon dioxide. So necessary is it to human life, to animal life, to plant life, to the oceans, to the vegetation that’s on the Earth, to the, to the fowl that—that flies in the air, we need to have carbon dioxide as part of the fundamental life cycle of Earth.” —Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)

“If we decrease the use of carbon dioxide, are we not taking away plant food from the atmosphere?…So all our good intentions could be for vain. In fact, we could be doing the opposite of what the people who want to save the world are saying.” —Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) 

“The idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical….Every cow in the world, you know, when they do what they do, you’ve got more carbon dioxide.” —Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio)

“We have to have all energy all the time, not a simple focus on a single kind of energy, not a lockout of petroleum because some people say that it produces more CO2. I’ll not argue the science of that, but this myopic belief that we can limit the emissions of CO2s and that somehow or another we can set the thermostat of the Earth is simply false. The premise of the science is wrong…When you have a huge policy like cap-and-trade that’s built upon a flawed premise such as CO2 emissions by the United States have dramatically increased the temperature on the planet and if we significantly reduce the CO2 emissions in the United States it will turn the Earth’s thermostat down, it’s a false scientific premise, Mr. Speaker.” —Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)

“Scientists all over this world say that the idea of human induced global climate change is one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated out of the scientific community. It is a hoax. There is no scientific consensus…We need to be good stewards of our environment, but this is not it, it’s a hoax!” —Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.)

“We have been hearing that by 20 years ago we were up to under 12,000 polar bears in the whole world, and now we know there are over 25,000 polar bears in the world. They’re doing pretty well. I’m pleased the polar bears are doing well…Hopefully, we won’t have to open up additional [hunting] seasons, that they will moderate their behavior. But we also saw with the caribou and people talking about how terrible it is to produce oil in Alaska. And we heard that if they ever put that pipeline up to Prudhoe Bay, it would kill off the last 2,900 caribou that were in the area, that we just couldn’t do that. It would destroy their mating habits. Turns out, caribou now, when they want to go on dates, invite each other to go to the pipeline on cold winter nights because that oil is warm going through the pipeline and it makes them amorous. And now we’re up to 30,000 caribou in that herd. So it turns out man and caribou and polar bears can do just fine.” —Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)

“Wind is God’s way of balancing heat…Wouldn’t it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up?…You stop something, you can’t transfer that heat, and the heat goes up. It’s just something to think about.” —Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) 

“More and more, with each month that goes by, more scientists agree with me…We are winning.” —Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.)

Some of the 111th Congress’ Most Pointless Bills

The College Football Playoff Act, sponsored by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.): Would prohibit the promotion of a post-season NCAA Division I football game as a national championship game “unless such game is the culmination of a fair and equitable playoff system.” (In December 2008, Barton unveiled a bill to force the NCAA to institute a playoff system. Now, the conservative Republican has a new bill to limit the use of the phrase “national championship game.”)

Camera Phone Predator Alert Act, sponsored by Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.): Would require all camera phones to make a sound when a photo is taken. 

Bill to require presidential campaigns to present the candidate’s birth certificate, a.k.a. the “birther bill,” sponsored by Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.) 

Broadcaster Freedom Act, sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) and Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.): Would prevent the (imaginary) return of the Fairness Doctrine. 

Resolution proposing a constitutional amendment to prevent the president from adopting a foreign currency (such as the nonexistent Amero), sponsored by Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.)

Resolution proposing the repeal of the 16th Amendment, sponsored by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa): Would eliminate the federal income tax

CHURCH (Congressional Hope for Uniform Recognition of Christian Heritage) Act, sponsored by Rep. Louis Golmert (R-Tex.)  

PLEDGE (Pledge Language is English Declaration and Government Endorsement) Act, sponsored by Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) 

SAC (Sunset All Czars) Act, sponsored by Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) 



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