I love Texas because of special snowflakes like Louie Gohmert. In more urbane states where research universities vastly outnumber NFL teams, Gohmert would stick to writing angry letters to the editor about fluoride and florescent light bulbs and the dadgum president being born in Africa. Instead, Gohmert's a congressman. He gets to vote and sponsor bills on such weighty matters of state as fluoride and florescent light bulbs and the dadgum president being born in Africa.
Texans who trade in stories about "Uncle Louie" Gohmert have been doing land-rush business lately. One of the last acts of the 112nd Congress, the least-popular and least-effective in history, was to excise the word "lunatic" from federal law because no one believes the moon makes people crazy anymore, and the word insults those with mental illnesses. Only Gohmert stood in defense of lunatics.
"I don't have a problem with 'lunatic' being used in the federal law ... It really has application around this town," said Gohmert.
And when it came time to elect a House Speaker for the new congress, Rep. Gohmert voted for Allen West, a tea party hero who lost re-election. It takes a chicken-fried je ne sais quoi to vote for a guy to lead a legislative body who's no longer in the body. Fox's Neil Cavuto joked that Gohmert had been exiled by Boehner to the post of House Janitor, but Gohmert assured him that he would still co-chair the Thursday morning prayer breakfast Bible study. In Texas, this passes for leadership.
We're not all like Gohmert here in Texas. Gohmert is actually one of our better ones. He was class president at Texas A&M University, a public university where they like to dress up and march around like soldiers even though it's not a military college, and tens of thousands of students practice cheering on Friday nights for Saturday football games.
Gohmert got his law degree at Baylor, which either goes to show that nobody is totally dumb or that just because someone's a lawyer doesn't mean they're smart. Then he got himself elected judge, and all would have been fine if Gov. Rick Perry had never appointed him chief justice of an appellate court. Consider this: At one time justice was in the hands of a man who thinks al Qaeda is sneaking pregnant women into America to have terror babies. "Sober as a judge" is not a phrase we throw around lightly here.
Most Texans don't treasure Uncle Louie stories. We call these people "normal." But if you can't appreciate paranoid absurdity spilling over the gunwales of good sense, you'll sink into the sludge of political meanness. This is a state where Republicans insist defunding Planned Parenthood and preventing kids from learning about condoms will lower teen pregnancy. In Texas, our Republican overlords think they can cut the school budget by $5.4 billion, chant "efficiency" three times, and kids will turn out ready to tackle a world economy.
Allowing conservative ideology to magically fix our worst problems frees our state lawmakers to defend our state against federal encroachments, such as the 2007 federal law phasing out inefficient, incandescent light bulbs in favor of LEDs and florescent light bulbs. This will save the average household $200 a year, but to hear Republicans complain you'd think florescent bulbs were made from fluoride and black helicopters and food stamps.
Congress passed the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act to repeal the phase-out, but that went nowhere, so the Texas legislature stepped in where your average delusional nitwit feared to tread. Because the federal gummint wouldn't stop the unlawful imposition of energy efficiency and innovation, the legislature passed a law allowing Texans to manufacture their own inefficient, obsolete incandescent bulbs. It was a market solution where there was neither a problem nor a market, but lawmakers said they had good reason.
"It was about more than light bulbs," said one Republican legislator. "I also don't like compact fluorescent bulbs." And you thought they did things for no reason.
Not surprisingly, no one has built an obsolete light bulb factory, disappointing the law's sponsor. Texas is officially a dim bulb state.
God bless Texas, and hurry.