Congressmen, and idiots

Mark Twain, who had covered Congress as a reporter, once quipped:

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.*

Our friend and correspondent Jim Kessler writes of a run-in he had with the staff of Congressman Peter King (Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee):

Peter T. King, Republican, chair of the Homeland Security Committee

Rep. Peter T. King: Are "idiot" and "congressman" redundant?

A day or two ago Congressman King said that we owed the knowledge of who/where the courier that we used to get to bin Laden to Bush’s waterboarding.

And because I’m a general pain in the ass to Republicans I called his office and asked the person who answered if he was standing by that statement.  She said yes.  So then I asked “So…that means the Bush
administration knew how to get to bin Laden for years and didn’t do so?  Does that mean we can prosecute them for knowingly endangering the country?”  Her response was, and I kid you not, “I don’t think you
passed geometery class.”

My response was “What does math have to do with this?”

Her response:  “Geometery isn’t math.”

My response was:  “Yes it is.  Go ask a math professor.  Perhaps next time before you try and act condescending to someone by acting like you’re smarter then them you should actually make sure you’re smarter then them rather then being stupidly arrogant?”

That’s when she hung up on me.

I’m considering writing an editorial to whatever paper is in King’s district where I point out that his staff apparently hasn’t passed high school level math.

I’m not reassured that Congressmen don’t appear to have gotten a lot smarter in the more than 150 years since Twain reported on them.

* Attributed to Twain, supposedly in a writing,  A Biography.  I haven’t confirmed where it is, though I’m pretty sure he actually said it.

5 Responses to Congressmen, and idiots

  1. Nick K says:

    Mark Kennedy, a Republican, was also generally a good person and leader.

    Unfortunately there is a Congressman just as stupid as Bachmann..that would be Chip Craavack.


  2. Jim says:

    I take great comfort in the knowledge that Anthony Weiner is also a Congressman. Does he help cancel out King? Since the Senate is part of “the Congress”, we can celebrate a few bright lights there as well. Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown are two of my favorites.

    I do have to say, however, I am not sure ANY state has sent as many sharp minds and gentle hearts to Washington as Nick’s home state of Minnesota. Yes, Michele Bachmann notwithstanding!

    Presently, Keith Ellison represents his constituents with great elan and equal compassion. Senators Klobuchar and Franken seem like real winners, too. (I have told Nick and others that I fully expected to be disgusted with Franken. Hollywood types are traditionally lightweights intellectually. But Franken has proven to be anything but. Even members of the other party grudgingly respect the breadth of the man’s knowledge. If you want a treat, watch Franken closely next time a judicial confirmation is on CSPAN. The guy is GOOD.)

    Before Amy and Al, there were a number of superlative Senators from Minnesota. The late Paul Wellstone, Gene McCarthy, Walter Mondale and Hubert Humphrey are among the greatest Senators in the history of that body. And all from Minnesota.

    Republicans have had some fine men serving out of the Land of 10,000 lakes as well. I found Dave Durenberger to be a reasonable, rational conservative. And Frank Kellogg is also worth noting, though he goes back before my time.

    Perhaps, Nick, what we need is some sort of delivery system to bring the air and water in Minnesota to the rest of the states. Presuming, of course, that you could siphon off whatever poison keeps people re-electing Ms. Bachmann…



  3. Rattus Norvegicus says:

    King is one of the biggest horse’s asses in congress. Why expect his staff to be any brighter?


  4. Elf Eye says:

    The words were quoted in Albert Bigelow Paine’s Mark Twain: A Biography, published in 1912. Paine wasn’t in the habit of providing footnotes, but the quotation has been repeated ever since without anyone questioning the attribution. It is the sort of thing Twain did say, if that means anything.


  5. Nick K says:

    Well there’s always Victor Hugo’s “I don’t mind what Congress does, as long as they don’t do it in the streets and frighten the horses.”


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