Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 13, 2010

LOUIE GOHMERT'S FREAK-OUT ON CNN.... Following up on an item from yesterday, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) has taken an active role in making a case against the 14th Amendment with an argument even most conservatives avoid: the dreaded "terrorist baby" threat.

Gohmert started pushing the argument in June, insisting that pregnant terrorists plan to come to American soil, have babies, and "20, 30 years down the road," these home-grown terrorists will "help destroy our way of life." This wasn't just some fantasy he cooked up, Gohmert argued. He claimed to have received important information from "a retired FBI agent" who told him national security officials believe "terrorist cells overseas" have "figured out how to game our system" when it comes to birthright citizenship.

On Wednesday, CNN's Anderson Cooper talked on the air to Tom Fuentes, who served as the FBI's assistant director in the office of international operations from 2004 to 2008. Fuentes explained that the crazy theory has no basis in reality, and there's simply never been any evidence that terrorists are pursuing such a strategy. Indeed, it wouldn't be necessary, since terrorists can already recruit willing participants. A statement from the FBI to CNN confirmed that allegations of "terror-baby" plots are unfounded.

Anderson Cooper gave Gohmert a chance to make his case on CNN last night, presenting any substance he has to bolster the theory. You'll just have to watch the clip to believe it.

I usually like to offer readers who can't watch clips from their work computers at least a partial transcript, but this one's awfully tough to capture. CNN published a transcript -- such as it was -- which should offer at least some sense of what transpired.

To sum it up, Cooper asked for some evidence to support the assertions Gohmert has been making -- in the media, on the House floor, etc. Gohmert responded by shouting a lot, and having something of a breakdown.

I give Cooper a lot of credit for handling this like a pro. He kept his cool, tried to conduct a serious interview, and wasn't rattled when Gohmert lost his mind. But there just wasn't much he could do with the right-wing Texan. You'll just have to watch to see what I mean.

Postscript: Just as an aside, I can't help but wonder what kind of influential position the House Republican leadership will give Gohmert if they take back the House majority.

Steve Benen 2:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (44)

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Comments

This man is completely crazy. Anderson is far more patient than I could ever be.

Posted by: ashton on August 13, 2010 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

And, these are the people who are running our country! And the public seems to love them, too. America is doomed.

Posted by: walldon on August 13, 2010 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

The better question to ask is how the hell our national discourse has fallen so far that the national news media is actually devoting time to this silly made up story. While I'll give credit to Cooper for handling the immediate situation like a pro, the fact that even entertained this argument let alone treated it like something that should be dicussed at the national level is a disgrace.

Posted by: thorin-1 on August 13, 2010 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

He keeps saying that on 9/10 there were no credible reports of a pending attack, but there were multiple reports from a couple different American agencies that, in the words of our then-great leader, "cover[ed] [their] ass" and were ignored.

I agree, ashton, Anderson is far more patient that I would ever have been with such an obvious moron.

And, Steve, you're right: No transcript could ever capture the lunacy that is this clip.

Posted by: pParkerT on August 13, 2010 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

While it is ridiculous for the media to treat tales like Gohmert's seriously, it is also a good thing for the media to:

  • Force idiots like Gohmert to try to defend their insanity.
  • Give idiots like Gohmert a platform on which they can display what unhinged fuckin' idiots they are.

I say, as long as the GOP insists on saying stupid shit, then the media should put them on the air and force them to defend themselves. Then it might start to dawn on the vast, uninvolved mass of Americans that, whatever shortcoming the Democrats might have, they're really the only game in town if you have any interest in trying to make America a better place.

Posted by: David Bailey on August 13, 2010 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

and wasn't rattled when Gohmert lost his mind.

What mind? In all seriousness, Gohmert is one of the most unhinged, truly batshit insane people up there. There was a time when deranged people like him were either ranting on streetcorners or, more likely, were locked up for much-needed psychiatric treatment.

Twenty bucks says Andy wrapped up his shift and headed down to the nearest bar for a couple of strong drinks.

Posted by: electrolite on August 13, 2010 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Gohmert's absolutely right. Only, he's not telling the whole story: In fact, those will be little terrorist gay and lesbian babies.

Thought you'd like to know ...

Posted by: K in VA on August 13, 2010 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

"....because they figured out how stupid we are being in this country."

No, Louie, they figured out how stupid YOU are.

Posted by: Homer on August 13, 2010 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Speaker of the House Gohmert, and Majority Leader Bachmann, coming soon!

Posted by: Zorro on August 13, 2010 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

PS: I bet Gohmert is re-elected in a landslide this fall.

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on August 13, 2010 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

I see it 180 degrees from Mr. Bailey's view. Depending on the venue, I think these nutjobs GAIN support when we give them air time to expose their lunacy. There is no better example than Sister Sarah.

In our intensely partisan political culture, the ability to piss off your opposition increases your popularity with your base.

Posted by: wishIwuz2j on August 13, 2010 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure if the GOP taker over the House that this goober will be named the Minister of Silly Walks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqhlQfXUk7w

Posted by: BillFromPA on August 13, 2010 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Good golly, the poor man is as nutty as squirrel poop!

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on August 13, 2010 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

In our intensely partisan political culture, the ability to piss off your opposition increases your popularity with your base.
Posted by: wishIwuz2j

But shouldn't it cost you votes with undecided voters, and rev up the base of the other side as well: patriotic duty to save country from the crazies? And therefore be a net loss?

If Sarah hadn't been interviewed by CBS, SNL wouldn't have had a script, and she might not have been exposed.

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on August 13, 2010 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

At one point he says

'Do you honestly believe and Islamic terrorist who's trying to destroy this country is dumber than a Chinese entrepreneur?'

Why, yes, in fact, I actually do think that.

Posted by: cld on August 13, 2010 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

There can only be one explanation for Gomer and that's mad cow desease.

Posted by: Gandalf on August 13, 2010 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

If you can withstand the firehose of stupid coming from Gohmert, his entire argument boils down to "it's true because it could be". In other words, exactly the same argument used by every crackpot conspiracy theorist in history.

Or, put another way: for many conservatives, "could work as an episode of 24" is exactly the same thing as reality.

Posted by: DH Walker on August 13, 2010 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

this is hilarious. i'm sure his constituents are proud!

Posted by: mudwall jackson on August 13, 2010 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Given the history of the corporate media's promotion of speculative fiction I suspect Ghomert expected them to embrace him, lionize him, and give him the Newt treatment.

I would feel sorry for him if he were just another frightened white man. But he is not. He has a vote and he represents lots and lots of frightened white men who want to exercised the proper control over those pregnant women. Nothing more dangerous than an improperly supervised pregnant woman. Criminy!

Posted by: thebewilderness on August 13, 2010 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Really, Gohmert was a Judge? He says so a couple of times. What kind of judge?

If he ever sent anyone to jail, they've got a good basis for appeal now;>

Posted by: martin on August 13, 2010 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Someone recently told me that Texans describe their state as the one where everything is bigger.

To which I add: Especially the a**holes.

Posted by: JCB on August 13, 2010 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Too bad, if you look Gohmert actually doesn't have a Democratic challenger in the race this year. The choices are Gohmert, a libertarian, and an "independent" who lists his occupation as "nurse practitioner" and that doesn't seem to even have a website.

Posted by: mcc on August 13, 2010 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone notice that he claims to have been a judge? That is really scary. If I had been convicted of a crime in his courtroom, I'd be hiring an attorney to overturn my conviction on the basis of inadequate representation, or whatever would apply when the judge is incompetent and biased.

That there are enough people who voted for him to get him elected is also scary. That he actually can stand and speak in the House without being gavelled down is a sad reflection on the state of the House, and our Congress in general.

I agree with those who encourage he and his brethren to be trotted across the TV screen again and again so those who actually believe what they see on TV will be shocked into doing something meaningful for their fellow citizens and vote the Gohmerts out. Replace them with someone who actually has some self-awareness and considers the impact of their speech on the rest of us.

Bring Louie Gohmert and Anthony Weiner together for a monitored discussion of this issue, or any other issue, for that matter. That would be a ratings bonanza.

Posted by: st john on August 13, 2010 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Really, Gohmert was a Judge? He says so a couple of times. What kind of judge?

Unless it's "high school talent show", the citizens of Texas have been badly screwed over. Of course, that's true for a hundred reasons, but still.

Posted by: DH Walker on August 13, 2010 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

"Freak out" led me to expect a conversation that began normally then went off the rails. No pretense of decorum or civility here -- it was an unhinged rant from start to finish.

Posted by: FC on August 13, 2010 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

I can't help but wonder what kind of influential position the House Republican leadership will give Gohmert if they take back the House majority.

In all seriousness, I believe he's in line to be the chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security.

Posted by: TR on August 13, 2010 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

I'm still fuzzy on the logistics of the whole "Terrorist Baby" scheme. Would the baby play with toy box-cutters and airplanes? What if the young terrorist-toddler decides he wants to be a fireman when he grows up, just like the 9/11 rescuers he's been obsessed with all his young life? Can he obtain a release from his terror contract?

Posted by: Danny on August 13, 2010 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

I kept waiting for Anderson to say, "You're right, terrorists aren't stupid. That's why they wouldn't waste their time with some elaborate terror baby scheme. They don't have to."

Posted by: Stephen Stralka on August 13, 2010 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Or could Gohmert be having an Emily Litella moment? In Texas "terrorist" sounds a lot like "tourist."

Posted by: Stephen Stralka on August 13, 2010 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

At no point did Gohmert address the evil monkey in my closet. Why?

Posted by: Dexter Methorphan on August 13, 2010 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

OMFG. I have a crazy uncle. I mean, completely off the rails. Gohmert makes him look like a Nobel Laureate. Why kind of absolute idiots voted that guy into office?!

HOLY SHIT. Gohmert is CERTIFIABLE.

Posted by: June on August 13, 2010 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Stephen Stralka

I kept waiting for Anderson to say, "You're right, terrorists aren't stupid. That's why they wouldn't waste their time with some elaborate terror baby scheme. They don't have to."

He did , mentioned it very clearly that terrorists don't have the least difficulty recruiting in America . It may just be me , but I thought Mr. Cooper at that point , narrowed his eyes and looked squarely at the congress critter .

Posted by: FRP on August 13, 2010 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

No, the man has a point.

Can't you see it, a terrorist baby growing up on the hard streets of Ellsworth, Maine, learning his trade at the knee of embittered lobstermen, by chopping off the heads of innocent sea creatures with box cutters, until he gets into college where he's fully indoctrinated by some "liberal" education, further enflaming the heat of hatred in his heart, and once graduating from University of Maine at Orono, 'course he may have to drop out of the terrorist business until the student loans are paid off, which would harden any terrorist baby's resolve to do serious damage to the institutions of American, but then he meets a nice girl at his new job who doesn't really like his terrorist friends, and he gets a really cool car that he doesn't want to ding or scratch up with terrorist instruments of death, and the next thing you know, he's married, got a couple of terrorist kids himself, a mortgage and a new grill, leaving him to take his terrorist anger out on America like many softening middle-age men, by voting a straight Republican ticket.

Don't you see the danger!!!

Posted by: Skip on August 13, 2010 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

The gaping hole is in Gohmert's brain. The man is dumber than a sack of hair.

Posted by: fourlegsgood on August 13, 2010 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

The problem we putting people like this on TV is that they don't scare people into voting, they annoy people away from politics and DECREASE voter turnout. I know more than one person whose basic opinion is that all politicians are nutjobs or criminals and there's nothing that can be done about it so they don't bother to vote. I know others who interviews like that and conclude that the whole thing is a game and then don't bother to vote.

All stuff like this does is rally the fateful on either side but turns off a huge swath of voters. It's no conicidence that as our national discourse makes politics look more and more like entertainment and reality TV voter turnout continues to decline.

Posted by: thorin-1 on August 13, 2010 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Dork goes on about how the FBI would have said that there was no credible evidence of a plot to take out the Towers after his idol Bush told the CIA that he had covered his ass after Bush was told clearly that al Qaeda had a plot to attack America.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on August 13, 2010 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

While watching this, I came up with the perfect liberal solution to both terror babies and anchor babies.

Any pregnant woman entering the country, whether legally or illegally, we be forced by the government to have an abortion. Further, any immigrant woman, legal or illegal found to be pregnant at any time they are in the country will be forced to have an abortion.

Maybe we can get Gohmert to introduce the bill.

Posted by: jpeckjr on August 13, 2010 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

He made these crazy claims on the house floor or I doubt anyone would have challenged him on TV. He also pissed off the FBI by linking them to his lying insanity.

Is his guy up for reelection soon? He's a lunatic...even for Texas. He was the one trying to shoot the messenger. He was the one trying to put down AC rather than discuss any evidence. Shows how screwed up Judges can become.

You were right Steve. No transcript could have done this interview justice. Fear mongering bastards are an embarrassment to our nation. Vote this loon out, please.

Posted by: bjobotts on August 13, 2010 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Ominous. Crazy. Weaving consiracy theories without taking a breath. Loose associations and tangential speech. Barring any hearing impairment, clearly incapable of accepting redirection
or general and reasonable limits of give and take in conversation.
Could be a Sean Hannity radio show personality understudy?

Posted by: Fox News has a propaganda game on August 13, 2010 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

Taking his que from Rumsfeld that "the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence", Gomert obviously feels free just to make shit up. I don't know what it is with Texas Republicans, if it's something in the water, a lack of education funding, the Texas school books, or a fundy mindset, but something just t'aint quite right with them and the people that put 'em in office in the first place.

Posted by: sparrow on August 13, 2010 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

As someone said, really scary that someone this unbalanced used to be a judge.

Anderson Cooper repeatedly tried to make the point that as a judge, Gohmert would never have accepted the standard of evidence and arguments that Gohmert was presenting (or rather not presenting) to support his "terrorist baby" scaremongering. Goohmert simply ignored this as he did every other attempt by AC to engage in an actual conversation or debate, which makes you wonder whether he really did understand proper rules of evidence as a judge.

Posted by: tanstaafl on August 14, 2010 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, if you do not give the children citizenship, the likelihood is that you will have an aliented, stateless pool of terrorist recruits with no loyalty to America.

Posted by: bob h on August 14, 2010 at 6:51 AM | PERMALINK

The words Rep. Gomer used the most were "stupid" and "gaping hole". I would suggest that those words, in either order, describe his brain and his mouth.

Anderson was wonderful, told him he was just yelling, that al Qaida has no problem recruiting now so why wait 20-30 years*, and finally that if someone had come into Gomer's courtroom when he was a judge (incredibly, he was) and provided no evidence he would be shown the door.

*incredibly Gomer actually admitted this himself

Posted by: Hannah on August 14, 2010 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Aw, perfect, MY Congressman at work! Keep it up, Louie! What do you know, a congressman who's actually doing his job to protect American citizens. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what terrorists are doing... DUH! Oops, forgot libs can't see the trees for the forest.

Posted by: 7cedars on August 16, 2010 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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