Last week, we heard about Tom Ready, the Republican candidate in Colorado, who claimed that the Newtown massacre of 20 children and six adults was a government hoax to advance gun control. He later blamed his words on someone else, that he was just linking to them. Though oddly he didn't retract his belief. Oddly, too, he didn't make the same claim about Columbine, in Colorado.
This week's contestant is Russell Pearce, a former Republican State Senator from Arizona. However, he's also the first vice-chair of the state's Republican Party. And unfortunately for the GOP he has a weekly radio show on KKNT-AM, so those little thoughts that go pinballing about in his head have a larger venue where they can be heard.
"You put me in charge of Medicaid, the first thing I'd do is get [female recipients] Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligations," Mr. Pearce said, according to the Phoenix New Times.
He said a lot more, but that's a good place to stop for now, before your head explodes.
(Interestingly, though, for all the oh-so-many things Russell Pearce did feel comfortable to say, he oddly left out that if he was in charge of Medicaid, he'd require male recipients to have vasectomies. I assume that it must have just been an oversight.)
It will not come as a shock to learn that Mr. Pearce received some criticism for his whimsical position. Nor will it come as a shock to learn that he has resigned from his position of first vice-chair of the Arizona GOP. (Whether it's because they disagree with his statement or because they're upset that he voiced it so that others could hear, that's unclear.) And most of all, it won't come as a shock to learn that like oh-so many Republicans caught in these "Oh My God" moments that he's blaming the problem on someone else's words he was simply quoting.
Why he chose to quote this other person, mind you, he didn't say. What he did say was that the comments were "written by someone else" and then added that he "failed to attribute them to the author."
It must be noted that in his resignation statement he mystically still failed to attribute the comments to this mysterious other author. You'd have thought it would have been the perfect opportunity to explain whose words they were, or that the devil made him do it. Mind you, there's always the nagging possibility that if this "someone else" actually existed, it was a person Mr. Pearce himself had asked to write down his own thoughts so he could express them clearly on his radio show. Or...he's obfuscating. I don't know if that's true, of course. We only have his word that someone else wrote the comments. But then, we only have his words that said this in the first place.
By the way, among other Wise Thoughts that the now former first vice-chair of the Arizona Republican Party said on his radio show -- the party of Small Government, as we know, the party of keeping government out of our lives -- was, "No cash for Ding Dongs and Ho Hos, you'd only get money for 15-pound bags of rice and beans, blocks of cheese and powdered milk - all the powdered milk you can haul away, If you want a steak or frozen pizza, then you'd have to get a job."
It's so warming and comforting to know that high-ranking officers in state Republican parties are so intent on keeping government from imposing itself into our private lives, that they are not only suggesting when you can have a baby, but what you eat for snacks, the kind of milk you can drink, and under what conditions you can have frozen pizza. Whether this holds for pizzeria pizza is unclear.
I have to admit, it gets a bit wearying to always have to continually deal with this sort of ongoing verbal soulless emptiness. Trying to respond to each and every one and put them in perspective is sort of the political commentary version of Whack-a-mole. You just know another rodent is going to crop up somewhere.
Yes, yes, high-level and low-level Democrats say stupid things all the time, too. But these things aren't stupid, they're indecent -- and an epidemic. If words that spout forth from radical far-right Republican functionaries were the Ebola Virus, we'd all be dead by now.
But happily they're just words that haven't become policy -- yet.
One day, though, it is my fondest hope that when Republican far-right officials say something out loud, they realize that other people can hear them.
To read more from Robert J. Elisberg about this or many other matters both large and tidbit small, see Elisberg Industries.