Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 10, 2009

POSEY'S DELICATE SENSIBILITIES.... In March, Rep. Bill Posey, a far-right Republican freshman from Florida, introduced a bill to require presidential candidates to present a valid birth certificate before seeking national office. It was, of course, legislation driven entirely by ridiculous attacks on President Obama.

Posey was widely mocked for his foolishness, and even Posey's conservative colleagues declined to endorse his bill or sign on as co-sponsors. Most notably, Stephen Colbert mocked Posey, arguing that questions about the president's birthplace are about as legitimate as questions about the Florida Republican's background: "To quell the persistent rumors about Posey himself, I am demanding DNA tests to determine whether Florida congressmen are part alligator. I have had enough with the reckless whispering.... This is just something I've heard: Bill Posey's grandma, allegedly, [had relations with] an alligator."

Apparently, the freshman lawmaker isn't enjoying the ridicule.

Making national cable news can be a coup for a freshman congressman -- unless the show is the satirical Colbert Report and its anchor calls you "part alligator" while mocking one of your bills.

Such was the fallout when U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge, introduced legislation last month that would require all presidential candidates to submit a birth certificate when qualifying to run. Posey said the intent was to prevent a repeat of what happened last year, when fringe critics of then-candidate Barack Obama questioned his citizenship.

Instead, the bill fell flat -- it has yet to attract a co-sponsor -- and Posey took a beating from late-night comedy-show hosts and liberal media, who accused him of kowtowing to extremists in his party.

"I expected there would be some civil debate about it, but it wasn't civil," Posey said. "Just a bunch of name-calling and personal denigration. ... There is no reason to say that I'm the illegitimate grandson of an alligator."

He now says that he has "no reason to question" that Obama -- born in Hawaii to an African father and an 18-year-old American mother -- is a U.S. citizen. Initially, though, he told the Orlando Sentinel that he couldn't "swear on a stack of Bibles whether he [Obama] is or isn't [an American]."

How would you like to be this guy's press secretary?

Note to Posey: fewer people will mock you if you make fewer ridiculous moves. Just a helpful hint.

Steve Benen 11:10 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (28)

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Comments

Part gator indeed!!! That ole Colbert is a hoot, he otter get him a tv show.

Posted by: TulsaTime on April 10, 2009 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

Let that be a lesson to you, Billy. People who encourage you to do bad things aren't really your friends. Sure, it's fun to go out and spray graffiti on walls and such, but if you get caught your so-called friends will all run away and leave you standing there with a spray can in your hand to face the music.

The most important rule in life, Billy, is to treat other people the way your want to be treated.

Oh, and be sure to wear long sleeves to cover up the green scales.


Posted by: SteveT on April 10, 2009 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

"There is no reason to say that I'm the illegitimate grandson of an alligator."

...one of the best quotes ever.

Posted by: rob! on April 10, 2009 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

"Just a bunch of name-calling and personal denigration. ... There is no reason to say that I'm the illegitimate grandson of an alligator."

Posey's problem is not that he's thin-skinned. It's that he missed the point of the satire. Colbert wasn't saying, in essence, "I disagree with you, therefore you are part alligator." He was saying (and I apologize for spoiling the joke by explaining it) that just because somebody makes a ridiculous allegation about someone's ancestry doesn't mean we have to dwell on it.

Posted by: Grumpy on April 10, 2009 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Just a helpful hint.

No hints please...

Posted by: koreyel on April 10, 2009 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

I like that it's the "illegitimate" part he's focused on- you know, cause alligator/human marriages are banned.

Posted by: Personal Failure on April 10, 2009 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

> How would you like to be this guy's press secretary?

Not as bad as being Clown Car's (a.k.a. Octomon's) press person, but pretty bad.

Posted by: Andy on April 10, 2009 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe Posey will learn that there's no way you can win when you try and spar with satire. Only satire would suffice, which seems to be in very short supply with rageful Repubs. Perhaps he should call Jim Cramer for tips on how to respond to these types of attacks.

Posted by: buckyblue on April 10, 2009 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Where are the cries of protest from the alligators?

Posted by: gradysu on April 10, 2009 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Lots of people on other posts have stood up to Colbert's inexcusable denigration of our reptilian friends by suggesting that they may be related to Posey.

Also, I saw a comment by a Floridian who had actually called Posey's office and the person he spoke with thought the whole thing was a hoot.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on April 10, 2009 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

I expected there would be some civil debate about it, but it wasn't civil," Posey said. "Just a bunch of name-calling and personal denigration. ... There is no reason to say that I'm the illegitimate grandson of an alligator.

You feel victimized, everyone else gets to make fun of you. It's a win-win from here, you disingenuous fuck.

Posted by: Jay B. on April 10, 2009 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

I'd like Posey to prove he's not my son because I once had relations with a buffalo.

Posted by: Gtandalf on April 10, 2009 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Colbert was going easy on the guy. He could have told the truth that the grandmother's boyfriend was her brother. It's a redneck thing.

Posted by: Jason on April 10, 2009 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Posey may be thin-skinned--but that's why he'd make such a lovely handbag.

Posted by: gradysu on April 10, 2009 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

It's in the news now! We have to discuss it!

"Congressman Posey denies being "part alligator," right after the weather with Britnee. Britnee?"

Posted by: Cazart on April 10, 2009 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Gradysu: "Posey may be thin-skinned--but that's why he'd make such a lovely handbag.:

Soda. Out. My. Nose.

Posted by: mauro on April 10, 2009 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

"I expected there would be some civil debate about it, but it wasn't civil," Posey said. "Just a bunch of name-calling and personal denigration. ... There is no reason to say that I'm the illegitimate grandson of an alligator."

So he wanted to have "civil debate" about it...with comedians?

Posted by: Stetson Kennedy on April 10, 2009 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

It would be a joyous day if Posey and Colbert sat down for a "Better Know a District" session! Perhaps Colbert could convince Posey to wear an alligator suit...

Posted by: meander on April 10, 2009 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

I can not swear on a stack of Bibles that Posey is not the offspring of a homosexual relationship between two alligators.

Posted by: SadOldVet on April 10, 2009 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Stephen Colbert is a Southerner who was raised in South Carolina. Given the history of using "gator bait" as a derogatory term for black people, perhaps he knew that speculating about "gators" in Posey's family tree would get his dander up.

Posted by: jonp72 on April 10, 2009 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

"There is no reason to say that I'm the illegitimate grandson of an alligator."

He's right, you know--there was no reason to suggest that his grandmother and the alligator were not legitimately married. And anyway, "Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments."

Posted by: rea on April 10, 2009 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

"There is no reason to say that I'm the illegitimate grandson of an alligator."

Damned right. Afterall, for all we know, Posey's alligator ancestors were legally and rightfully married. No one can prove they weren't.

Posted by: DH Walker on April 10, 2009 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Generally when I say or do something stupid I become embarrassed. Because I don't like feeling stupid or exposing myself to ridicule I try to pause and think about what I say or do before I say or do it. The results are amazing.

Posted by: notateabagger on April 10, 2009 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

"There is no reason to say that I'm the illegitimate grandson of an alligator."

Well, there's the pleasure of hearing you deny it.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on April 10, 2009 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

How are you supposed to "present a birth certificate" if you're born in Hawaii? They won't let you have it.

Posted by: MillionthMonkey on April 10, 2009 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

And what's wrong with being part alligator? Use to be that some House members bragged about their gator ancestry:

"I'm that same David Crockett, fresh from the backwoods, half-horse, half-alligator, a little touched with the snapping turtle; can wade the Mississippi, leap the Ohio, ride upon a streak of lightning, and slip without a scratch down a honey locust [tree]."

Posted by: arkie on April 10, 2009 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

But he did not swear on a stack of bibles that he WASN'T part alligator, did he?

Posted by: Algernon on April 10, 2009 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

LBJ was said to have accused an opponent of his of being a pedophile or some such awful thing. LBJ's aides said But you know he isn't one. LBJ responded, I know he isn't one, but I want to hear him say that he isn't one.
I'm not part alligator indeed!

Posted by: dave b on April 10, 2009 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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