Sorry it's been so long since I've had an entry in this series, but I've been busy. So many whackadoodles in the House to cover, so little time. And every time you think you've got a handle on all the likely suspects, another pops up like a zit you develop overnight. Such is the case with the subject of this entry in Inmates of the Asylum, a newcomer to the GOP Cuckoo Caucus, but one who's been showing great promise of late. I speak of Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.)
First elected in 2010 to fill an open GOP seat (previous Representative J. Gresham Barrett had retired for an unsuccessful gubernatorial run), Duncan was just one anonymous face in a sea of Republican House freshmen, many of whom far crazier and outspoken then he was. (It can be hard to gain attention when you've got the likes of Joe Walsh and Allen West sucking up the media oxygen.) However, he had impeccable conservative credentials (he was one of only three House Reps to score 100% for 2011 on The New American's Freedom Index - the other two being Walter Jones and Ron Paul) and the capacity for idiotic behavior was always there. For example, there was this charming incident from November of 2011:
U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina's 3rd Congressional District was speaking at Furman University last night when he appeared to compare illegal immigrants to vagrants and animals.Needless to say, Rep. Duncan is not an integral part of the GOP minority outreach program.
"It's kind of like having a house - and you're not homeowners, a lot of folks in this room, but your Mom and Dads are - taking the door off the hinges and allowing any kind of vagrant, or animal, or just somebody that's hungry, or somebody that wants to do your dishes for you, to come in. And you can't say, 'No, you can't come it.' And you can't say, 'No, you can't stay all night.' Or 'No you can't have this benefit of using my deodorant.' All those things. We're giving those benefits away, which we earn as citizens of this nation, of being legalized citizens."
Isolated incident, you may say? That might have been the case. But since the new Congressional term started (and since the media whores like Walsh and West have departed the House), Duncan seems to have seen his chance to make a name for himself in the mental ward that is the House GOP caucus. And boy is he grabbing for it with a vengeance. Some of the highlights of his last few months:
- This rant against Hillary Clinton at the House Foreign Affairs Committee over (what else?) Benghazi, where, referencing the idiotic performance of his equally bone-headed Senate colleague Ron Johnson, he accused Clinton of "gross negligence" and of allowing the consulate to "become a death trap."
- His rather, um, "unique" theory, posted on Facebook, on the supposed danger of expanded background checks:
"Ask yourselves about a National gun registry database and how that might be used and why it is so wanted by progressives," the South Carolina Republican wrote. "Read about the Rwandan genocide, the Hutu and Tutsi tribes. Read that all Tutsi tribe members were required to register their address with the Hutu government and this database was used to locate Tutsi for slaughter at the hands of the Hutu."And this is another example of some people should not be allowed Facebook accounts, for their own sake.
"I use this example to warn that national databases can be used with evil consequences," he added later in the post.
- And most recently, in the wake of the Boston bombing tragedy, latching onto the latest right-wing conspiracy theory from controversial terrorism "expert" Steve Emerson concerning the Saudi national held for questioning after the bombing (and subsequently released), which has led to the belief that he is now being secretly deported by the U.S. - a lie that is being pimped by the usual conservative suspects (including, to no one's surprise, the Angry Irish Ape-Man). And apparently following Hannity's lead, Duncan seized the theory and used it to attack Janet Napolitano at a Homeland Security Committee hearing on Thursday:
[He] harangued Napolitano for the alleged deportation, which he asserted as fact. "Now we have someone being deported for national security concerns and I'm assuming he's got some sort of link to terror or he wouldn't be deported," Duncan said. "And yet we're going to deport him? We're going to remove him from the scene?"Now, a smart person might think that after Napolitano set the record straight like that, it might be a good idea to drop it before you look even more foolish. But Duncan clearly is not a smart person, so he just dug a deeper hole. Much deeper:
Napolitano fired back sharply, dismissing the premise of his question. "I'm unaware of the anyone who is being deported for national security concerns at all related to Boston. I don't know where that rumor came from," she said.
Duncan responded by acknowledging that while the deportation may not be related to Boston, "He is being deported." Napolitano interrupted him, saying, "No. Like I said, I don't even think he was technically a person of interest or a suspect, that was a wash."Should have ended it before it even began, moron. And for a nice little summary of his behavior:
But the congressman wasn't ready to concede. "Would you agree with me that it's negligent for us as an American administration to deport someone who was reportedly at the scene of the bombing?"
"I am not going to answer that question, as it is so full of misstatements and misapprehensions that it's just not worthy of an answer," the Homeland Security secretary shot back, prompting murmurs in the room as Duncan took a moment to respond before ending his questioning."
Duncan's willingness to embrace Emerson's charge highlights how quickly theories can go from the fringe to the mainstream in an environment when the political opposition is desperate to score political points against the president, and less concerned about getting facts right.You think? (You can watch the footage here, posted on Duncan's own web page, which proves he's not only not humiliated by it, but thinks he did a good job. Very telling of what kind of person we're dealing with here, don't you think?)
It's clear that Jeff Duncan is anonymous no more. A new wingnut icon may be in the process of being born and providing us with all sorts of new and offensive offensives to cover. But now you can say you were there when the monster was born.