History is replete with voters sending to the Congress some…er…um…interesting representatives.
Even in our modern era, we’ve had some…er…um…characters. (Senators with prostitutes and diapers and the like…wait, is there a “like”?)
Of course, one of Congress’s most famous worst moments in history came on May 22, 1856 when U.S. Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina marched into the U.S. Senate Chamber and beat unconscious with a cane Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts.
Sumner, you see, was an abolitionist and Brooks a pro-slavery member of the House of Representatives. Brooks was offended by Sumner’s speech three days earlier in which he argued against admitting Kansas into the union as a slave state.
During the speech, Sumner blamed Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois and Senator Andrew Butler of South Carolina for attempting to force Kansas’ admission as a slave state.
Sumner called Douglas, a “noise-some, squat and nameless animal…not a proper model for an American Senator.”
But Sumner mocked Butler’s self-proclaimed stature as a man of chivalry claiming the South Carolina senator had taken, “a mistress…who, though ugly to others, is always lovely to him; though polluted in the sight of the world, is chaste in his sight – I mean the harlot, slavery.”
Defending his fellow South Carolinian, Brooks walked into the Senate Chamber and beat Sumner to within an inch of his life. Brooks resigned because of the incident but was re-elected by the good people of South Carolina shortly thereafter.
No one is expecting members of Congress to physically attack each other in the 112th Congress but just like the debate over slavery in the 1850s, the Congress will have members with some crazy ideas.
According to ThinkProgress, the progressive Washington think tank, 50 percent of the incoming freshman class – Republicans elected on November 2 – deny the existence of manmade climate change.
- 86 percent are opposed to any climate change legislation that would increase government revenue pledged to reducing CO2 pollution.
- 39 percent have declared their intention to end the 14th Amendments guarantee of birthright citizenship.
- 91 percent have sworn to oppose any tax increase on any individual or business, even corporations and the top 2 percent of wealthiest Americans.
- 79 percent have pledged to help the rich even more by permanently eliminating the estate tax.
- 48 percent want to see a balanced U.S. budget.
Don’t expect any caning but it’ll be interesting to watch the House debate over raising the nation’s debt ceiling or shutting down the U.S. government altogether. No doubt some will argue for the later.