What the pols said in 2013

 

This is the slightly twisted time of year when we look back with fondness, horror, disbelief and no little amount of wincing to review what came out of the mouths of our politicians since January.

Our pols are as irrepressible as ever.

After House Republicans shut down the federal government for 16 days, costing the economy at least $25 billion, some couldn’t stop boasting.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., exulted, “We’re very excited. It’s exactly what we wanted, and we got it.”

Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., said of the shutdown, “We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”

Not to worry, Congressman. Nobody does.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., struggled to assess the shutdown. “Suddenly you take a stone from the ground and bash your head in. Honest to God, that’s what they’ve done, these Republicans. They’ve bashed the head of America on a beautiful day.”

All year, politicians argued about immigration reform, trying to figure out how to treat America’s 11 million undocumented workers. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, gained no Hispanic votes after saying of immigrants, “For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

Don Young, R-Alaska, observed, “My father had a ranch. We used to hire 50 to 60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes.”

State laws legalizing same-sex marriage were approved by the Supreme Court. U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., was devastated. “Society itself is at risk and cannot continue,” he mourned.

President Barack Obama, whose ratings plummeted after the botched rollout of his health care plan, tried to remain above the fray but couldn’t resist jabbing opponents. “I’m taking my charm offensive on the road,” Obama vowed. “A Texas barbeque with Ted Cruz, a Kentucky bluegrass concert with Rand Paul, and a book-burning with Michele Bachmann.”

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, had a bad year. Democrats chided him for getting little done but holding 40 meaningless votes to repeal Obamacare. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called Boehner, “A coward! He’s a coward!”

Tea partiers threatened to dump Boehner as speaker. The three moderate Republicans left just shook their heads. “I’m what you’d call a regular guy with a big job,” Boehner said. Later he said disconsolately, “I need this job like I need a hole in the head.”

Lest anyone miss Sarah Palin after she quit as Alaska’s governor, she began campaigning against people she claims hate Christmas. “I bet Charles Darwin never understood this: If the world could be described as truly survival of the fittest, why would people collectively be stricken with the spirit of generosity in December?”

She also noted, “Atheism’s track record makes the Spanish Inquisition seem like Disneyland by comparison.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., expressed outrage at Republican plans to cut more spending. “The cupboard is bare. There’s no more cuts to make,” she insisted. Democrats then defended $25 billion in subsidies to farm conglomerates.

Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., poster boy for partisanship, said: “I have trouble listening to what (Dick Cheney) says sometimes because of the blood that drips from his teeth while he’s talking. … He’s just angry because the president doesn’t shoot old men in the face. But by the way, when he was done speaking, did he just then turn into a bat and fly away?”

As Congress debated an epidemic of rapes in the military, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., scoffed: “Gee whiz. The hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur.”

The hottest topic remains Obamacare, ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court. Rep. Jim Bridenstein, R-Okla., might be sketchy on how government works but knows his mind: “Just because the Supreme Court rules on something doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s constitutional.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, tried to insist funding Obamacare is akin to appeasing Hitler. “If you go to the 1940s, Nazi Germany, look, we saw in Britain, Neville Chamberlain, who told the British people, ‘Accept the Nazis. … We can’t possibly stand against them.’ 

The people at “Vital Speeches” are quivering.

Ann McFeatters has covered the White House and national politics since 1986.

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