Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 29, 2009

GOING OVER THE EDGE.... Rep. Trent Franks (R) of Arizona has been moving fairly aggressively lately towards the edge of the right-wing cliff. By agreeing to appear at an extremist conference in St. Louis over the weekend, Franks further cemented his position as one of the caucus' most unhinged members.

But if there are any lingering doubts, consider the fact that the Arizona congressman labeled President Obama an "enemy of humanity" at the event.

"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."

Remember, he thinks the president is "insane."

At the same event, Franks said Obama "acts un-American," and "doesn't want people to see" his birth certificate.

Wow.

Steve Benen 1:05 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (41)

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Comments

the dude must have stayed out too long in that arizona heat.

you wonder what would happen if a democrat had something like that about a republican president.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on September 29, 2009 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

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,

Of course, denying medical care to immigrant infants or to pregnant illegal immigrants is just fine. No image of God there.

Of course, killing infants while bombing the shit out of Iraq is also fine. No image of God there.

Posted by: ZH on September 29, 2009 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

is he gonna run for president? Pretty please?

Posted by: Allan Snyder on September 29, 2009 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

this guy is a traitor who has betrayed the commander-in-chief of his country in a time of war.

Posted by: neill on September 29, 2009 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

ZH: Of course not, everyone knows the image of God only appears in little American babies. Silly.

On a serious note, this is more code for calling Obama the Anti-Christ. "Enemy of Humanity"? Come on.

Posted by: Singularity on September 29, 2009 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

I think if I were Obama, I'd start using this kind of thing against the Republicans. Not by going out of my way to point it out, but when someone asks me about "bipartisanship" I'd say something offhand like "Look, last weekend a Republican member of Congress called me an 'enemy of humanity' so obviously no matter what I do there are some people in that party who are never going to support me on anything, but I have been working with blah blah blah..."

This sort of thing is going to keep happening until someone starts drawing attention to it and using it to paint the Republicans as a dangerously unhinged parties. The press certainly isn't going to do it, so if Democrats want to fight it they need to start pointing it out.

Posted by: Adam Smith (yes, really) on September 29, 2009 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Once again, blame the voters in his district. Rep. Franks is an embarrassment to civil society, let alone civil discourse! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on September 29, 2009 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like he's gunning for the GOP nomination in 2012.

Posted by: bikelib on September 29, 2009 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure but my guess is that this asshole Franks is probably diametrically opposed to dealing with global warming which in all reality makes him a real enemy of mankind.

Posted by: Gandalf on September 29, 2009 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

If you accept orthodox Christian Biblical interpretation, his conclusions make some sense.

Within the confines of devout Christian belief, he is entirely sane.

To dismiss him so puts a large swath of humanity outside the reach of Democrats and others that might soften their opposition by pointing out that the Constitution forbids government enforcement of those Christian premises they rely on.

Those not bent on creating a Christian theocracy can then discuss common ground such as making abortion so rare as to be a footnote in the agenda of good Christians.

That is, if every abortion were to save the health of the mother because all unwanted pregnancies were avoided, they could move on to converting gays.

But one step at a time, yes?

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on September 29, 2009 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

"Once again, blame the voters in his district."

I wonder, if, eventually, there will be fallout in the districts of these people. This has gone beyond conservative, even arch -conservative, rhetoric and has become a complete surrender to a very dangerous lunatic fringe. At what point will people from these districts begin to feel uneasy with the company they're keeping?

There will be an act of violence. It's not "if" but "when." In the aftermath, idiots like Franks and Bachmann may find themselves hung out to dry. They'll be poison. Once you cover yourself in the stink they're wallowing in it's impossible to wash it off.

Posted by: SaintZak on September 29, 2009 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Come to think of it, I've never seen any president's birth certificate. For all we know, we've been ruled by Kenyans for 200+ years.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on September 29, 2009 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Canada, France? Here we come! This country is crazy, it's people most dumb!

Posted by: TGTrollop on September 29, 2009 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Godwin alert.

First you demonize your opponent, deny his humanity, call him an enemy of all people, and then nothing anyone does to him in response is out of bounds.

There is language very similar to this in Mein Kampf and various Third Reich literature.

Posted by: shortstop on September 29, 2009 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Time to fight back, I'd say. The congress should give him an office in Union Station, and defund all projects in his district. Make sure his constituents understand the cost of voting for such fools.

Posted by: Michael Carpet on September 29, 2009 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Has anyone seen Trent Franks' birth certificate? Are we sure he was born on this planet?

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on September 29, 2009 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

If you accept orthodox Christian Biblical interpretation, his conclusions make some sense.

Well, no. Most mainstream Christian churches accept abortion as a necessary evil. It's the fringier places (like, sadly, my own Roman Catholic Church*) that are going around declaring that abortion is the worstest thing in the entire world.

Franks represents a minority, extremist position shared by very few Americans. Why are we supposed to conform our abortion laws to what a tiny minority of the country wants? Especially when the most vocal of them will never even have to think about an abortion, because they don't have uteruses?

* My church has been spending its time trying to block 11-year-old rape victims from getting abortions, so I think calling them "fringe" is being kind.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on September 29, 2009 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

> and "doesn't want people to see" his birth certificate.

Well. This is objectively true. If Omaba wanted people to see it, he'd show it to them. But I guess that stating such obviousness makes me an insane racist.

Posted by: am on September 29, 2009 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

There is language very similar to this in Mein Kampf and various Third Reich literature.
Posted by: shortstop on September 29, 2009 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Typical that a liberal would be so intimately familiar with Nazi socialist literature. Do you keep it at your bedside so you can fall asleep to it and dream about how to subvert democracy?

Posted by: Mlke K on September 29, 2009 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

Arizona from A to Z

Today's NYT: Health Care Overhaul and Mandatory Coverage Stir States’ Rights Claims

In more than a dozen statehouses across the country, a small but growing group of lawmakers are pressing for state constitutional amendments that would outlaw a crucial element of the health care plans under discussion in Washington: the requirement that nearly everyone buy insurance or pay a penalty.
So far, the notion has been presented in at least 10 states (though it has already been rejected or left behind in committees in some of them), and lawmakers in four other states have said they will soon offer similar measures in what has grown into a coordinated effort at resistance. (Arizona, which has placed the amendment on its ballot in 2010, seems the furthest along.)

To understand AZ conjure up two images: Kyl and McCain.
Then sniff the air. You smell that?
Ugh and yuck: the dirty old hateful white man smell: Worst. Demographic. Ever.

Posted by: koreyel on September 29, 2009 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Well. This is objectively true. If Omaba wanted people to see it, he'd show it to them.

By, say, posting it on the Internet? That ought to make them happy, right?

Not necessarily racist; none too swift, though.

Posted by: Jon on September 29, 2009 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

I'm comfortable with saying that George W. Bush was an enemy of humanity. Does that put me "over the edge" and is that far beyond the pale of acceptable civil discourse?

Posted by: Keith M Ellis on September 29, 2009 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Keith, you can anyone anything, as long as you'd do it to their face, which this guy does not have the guts to do. Obama should invite him for a friendly beer to show him for what he is.

Posted by: Bob M on September 29, 2009 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Where are Franks' Democratic "colleagues"? They don't have to call him - and others like him - out on the House Floor, but there's NO reason they cannot comment to the press about the lunacies being spouted by the Republicans.

In another thread, someone commented - very wisely - that Obama should use some of the rhetoric being said against him as proof that Republicans Don't Want To Be Bi-partisan. The Dem congressmen should do the same.

The only thing I don't like about my fellow Dems is our lack of gumption when pressed.

Posted by: phoebes-in-santa fe on September 29, 2009 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

I notice w/o surprise that Franks was educated at W. Cleon Skousen's National Center for Constitutional Studies.

Posted by: K on September 29, 2009 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

So Obama is "an enemy of humanity" who pays for "the killing of unborn children." Elsewhere, we hear that hes indoctrinating our children and recruiting them into the "Obama Youth," a domestic paramilitary police and propaganda outfit. He's going to set up "death panels" to kill our grandparents. He controls the vast majority of the print and broadcast media. He fixes elections by funneling money to ACORN. He hates America, and white people, and loves tyrants and dictators. And we keep hearing that there are "parallels" to Nazi Germany and Hitler.

But no, no, no, conservatives are not advocating violence!

Posted by: some guy on September 29, 2009 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

What exactly does Rep Trent Franks think humanity should do with an 'enemy of humanity'?

Posted by: SRW1 on September 29, 2009 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

"What exactly does Rep Trent Franks think humanity should do with an 'enemy of humanity'?"

Well, obviously, we wait a year, until next November, and then we very peacefully... vote out some of Obama's comrades. Then we wait another two years, until 2012, and peacefully vote out Obama himself.

Because even though Obama is already threatening to destroy America-- and, through his disastrous foreign policy, the free world-- in his first 9 months, we can surely postpone his (peaceful!) eviction from power for another 3 years or so.

Posted by: some guy on September 29, 2009 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

To understand where Franks is coming from, you have to understand the district he represents. Arizona's 2d district is largely northeast Maricopa County (Peoria/Glendale) and Mohave County. The former is where Arizona's (in)famous Governor Evan Mecham hailed from ("Don't ever ask me for a true statement again!"), the latter is filled with the sort of sociopaths who live out in the desert because they cannot stand even the sight of other living creatures. It's no coincidence that it's one of the places Tim McVeigh lived (in Kingman) before he bombed the Murrah building.

In other words- Franks is entirely representative of his constituents.

Posted by: bucky on September 29, 2009 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K. at 2:10: Wow. Just wow.

Posted by: bikelib on September 29, 2009 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K. at 2:10: Wow. Just wow.

Sorry. I'm still drunk from last night.

Posted by: Mlke K -- don't ban me, bro! on September 29, 2009 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Start besieging CNN, MSNBC, Fox (yes), NBC, CBS, ABC and AP, and Letterman, Leno, O'Brien, Kimmel, and Fallon, with angry demands that this guy get driven from office for that kind of dangerous diatribe. That is not a "Whoops I'm sorry matter," and Obama will be irresponsible to treat it that way." The guy needs to be forced to quit, period

Posted by: urban legend on September 29, 2009 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Yay! My representative! But bucky had it right, he does represent (most of) his constituents. And in all honesty, if you had to reserve a piece of this country for the most rabid rightwingers, this would be a really good choice. It's a sh*thole.

Posted by: biff3000 on September 29, 2009 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly, I think that we progressives enjoy the melodrama of reacting to increasingly strident and crazy stuff coming from the Republicans and the right wing. The crazier the better. More hits on the blogs, more interesting comments. And it sets up getting ever more of it because it gives 'em what they want which is attention and notoriety AND big bonus, we help amplify and spread the vicious crap too by quoting it chapter and verse and then making angry comments about it.

Downside for us is that we are rolling in hate and craziness. And we are the people who care about public discourse, logic and rationality. It makes our public discourse and our sense of national community into a fragmented set of highly charged, oppositional factions.

Not saying the fault started on this side. But it is real that we perpetuate it for our own ends. Also true that the nation as a whole, our politics, and ultimately WE will all pay the price. Hard to get anything hard done when we are at each other's throats, screaming names and shaking fists at each other...

Oh, I know, and I expect to hear that I am being crazy and a fool to think that if we stopped it, they would. I know that is not the case and dont have great alternative solution.

Still, I see and hear the echo of the same horrible accusations and scary talk reverbing on both sides through repetition and angry retorts and its just bringing us all down -- all of us.

Is this the substitue for the old time newspapers? Blogs where yes, information is shared, but also bitter lies and exagerrations made by the "other", recriminations and just plain crazy talk in a huge hate filled echo chamber. Well if this is all we can expect to evolve in the future, we are in for a world of deep hurt. People will turn blogs off eventually too. Also.

Posted by: Elie on September 29, 2009 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

I was so PO'd when I read what he said that I called his office even though I don't live in Arizona. I think a statement like this from an elected official is despicable and I told them as much.

Posted by: maggie on September 29, 2009 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

biff-

I used to live in Bullhead City, the "heart" of Mohave County. To call that town a shithole is an insult to shitholes all over the world.

Posted by: bucky on September 29, 2009 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Yawwwnnn.... relax, it will all come out in the wash.

Posted by: Sleepy1 on September 30, 2009 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

N-E-F-A-R-I-O-U-S

Isn't that an interesting word? Nefarious. I really like the sound of that word. Say it with me, ne*far*i*ous. Now wasn't that special? You betcha! ;)

Posted by: Sleepy1 on September 30, 2009 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

Badly done, Mr. Benin. You need to understand the difference between doing "insane things" and thinking the president is insane.

Would you accept the idea that any stupid thing you write makes you a stupid person?

ZH had the very best of it, his implication is direct, and sadly, probably accurate.

Posted by: mere mortal on September 30, 2009 at 3:12 AM | PERMALINK

What I find remarkable is the speed with which Republicans are racing to jump of the cliff of Limbaugh's and Beck's right. Or perhaps, Bachmann, Foxx, Wilson, et al. were simply in the closet and now feel emboldened. The Dominionists must feel gratified.

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