The following list is inspired by GQ’s just-published “America’s 20 Craziest Politicians” (Steve King, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Joe Barton, etc.). For my list, I’m sticking to Virginia elected officials, people who have been Virginia elected officials, or current/past candidates for elective office in Virginia. Obviously, this list is subjective, but what it is NOT intended to be is a measure of how far to the right (or left, for that matter) the politician is, per se. I mean, I could easily fill up the list with people who deny climate science, as in my view that’s definitive proof that you’re either a fossil fuel industry tool, an imbecile, or nuts. Instead, this list is comprised of people who are just “crazy,” in the colloquial sense, regardless of what party they’re in (although note that the vast majority are Republicans – shocker, huh? – and it’s not for lack of trying to come up with Democrats to make it more “even” – the fact is that today’s GOP attracts “teh crazy” like….well, crazy!). Anyway, enjoy!(?)
1. E.W. Jackson (R): Has anyone ever heard anything come out of his mouth that wasn’t at least a bit “out there?” OK, need specific examples of this guy’s insanity? For starters, he’s obsessed with Barack Obama (e.g., how Obama’s supposedly not a Christian, how he’s supposedly an anti-Semite, blah blah blah); how “Planned Parenthood has been far more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was;” how gays are “frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally,” who are attempting to “poison our children, divide them from their parents and the teaching of the church and basically turn them into pawns for that movement so that they can sexualize them at the earliest possible age.” What’s truly shocking about this guy isn’t so much that he’s an extremist and an all-around lunatic, but that the Virginia GOP nominated him for Lt. Governor of our state in 2013! What does that say about them? Anyway, E.W. Jackson has the “honor” of being #1 on this list. As Chris Cillizza likes to say, “Congrats…or something!” LOL
2. Ken Cuccinelli (R): Again, where do you even start with this guy? I mean, this is someone who – in addition to the de-rigeur-among-wingnuts climate science denial – also tried to make it easier for people to discriminate against gay people, claimed that Virginia can disobey federal laws it disagrees with, believes the government is tracking his kids via Social Security numbers, and talks to a toy elephant named “Ron”, is a “birther,” rants about a “vast left-wing conspiracy” and the “Humanist Manifesto,” claims that liberals “cannot tolerate god” and that Barack Obama has “helped destroy this country,” compared immigrants to rat families, etc, etc. Most appallingly, “the Cooch” actually was elected to be Virginia’s Attorney General, where he spent four years on a bunch of crazy, mostly failed, crusades. He also was, appallingly yet again, the Virginia Republican Party’s 2013 nominee for governor of our state. It says a great deal about said party that they’d nominate such a lunatic, not to mention extremist, as Ken Cuccinelli. Come to think of it, maybe Cooch should have been #1, and E.W. Jackson #2, on this list?
3. Sen. Steve Martin (R): What more do you need to know than this (“Child’s Host” State Senator: Torture Justified “no matter what body parts are lost in the process”)? Basically, Martin makes the stereotypical “cave man”/Genghis Khan look like enlightened, sensitive people.
4. Del. Bob Marshall (R): We nicknamed him “Sideshow Bob” for good reason. Seirously, the list of his lunacy is endless. Check out, for example: “Sideshow Bob” Marshall Completely Unhinged Over Demise of His Anti-Gay Hate Amendment, Video: “Sideshow Bob” Elaborates On His Vicious Homophobia (That’s right, according to “Sideshow Bob,” it’s all about “blood transfusions,” “sodomy,” and being “worried about this guy whose got eyes on me.” Can we say “he’s got issues?” Uh huh.); Does Bob Marshall Agree w/ Rev. Ellison that Haitian Earthquake Was God’s Punishment for Voodoo?; Virginia lawmaker: Children with disabilities are God’s punishment to women who previously had abortions.; Chief Sponsor of Virginia ‘Personhood’ Bill Calls The Affordable Care Act ‘Rape’; Robert Marshall, Virginia Delegate, Pushes Bill To Study Whether State Should Have Alternative Currency; etc. Seriously, with Bob Marshall, the “Sideshow” truly never ends!
5. Senator Dick Black (R): A few items include Dick Black on Spousal Rape, “Nighties,” etc.; Republican Loudoun-sanity Continues: Dick Black Rails Against Gays in the Military; VA Sen. Dick Black (R) Praises “Extraordinary Gallantry” of Syrian Armed Forces; Sen. Dick Black (R-Homophobia): Polygamy “just more natural” than homosexuality . Yeah, this one’s certifiable.
6. Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R): Speaking of certifiable. See Delgaudio Rants About “The Homosexual Classrooms Act”; Eugene Delgaudio on “Thousands of men in bright neon bikinis” ; Eugene Delgaudio: Radical Homosexual Pirates Invade Tampa; Loudoun County Next? ; Eugene Delgaudio and His “Gay TSA Conspiracy” Theory; and Vote Delgaudio or We’ll Get “Tyranny and Socialism,” “rationed fuel” and “rationed butter!”. That’s just a VERY small sampling of this guy’s craziness. For more, just Google it.
7. Del. Joe Morrissey (D): See here for all you need to know. “Disbarment and law license revocation”…”pulled an unloaded AK-47 from under his desk and flourished it on the floor of the House of Delegates”…”Alleged sex crimes and indictment.” ‘Nuff said.
8. Sen. Mark Obenshain (R): I had heard stories about this guy’s nuttiness for years, but I didn’t really focus on him until last year’s AG race. Then, it came to light that Obenshain had tried “to force women to report miscarriages to police,” introducing legislation to require that “when a fetal death occurs without medical attendance upon the mother at or after the delivery or abortion, the mother or someone acting on her behalf, within 24 hours, report the fetal death, location of the remains, and identity of the mother to the local or state police or sheriff’s department of the city or county where the fetal death occurred…and that a violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor.” There’s lots more craziness with this guy, but I’d say that’s enough right there to put him on the Top 20 craziest Virginia politicians list. We’ll see if Republicans nominate him again for statewide office in 2017, after he narrowly lost (phew — close call!) to Mark Herring in a recount last time around.
9. Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R): This guy cosponsored a bill (along with Del. Mark Cole, Del. Keith Hodges, Del. Steven Landes and Del. Christopher Peace, all of whom richly deserve to be on this list as well) that “the General Assembly recognize the need to oppose United Nations Agenda 21 due to its radical plan of purported ‘sustainable development,’ and that the General Assembly recognize the policy’s infringement on the American way of life and individual freedoms and ability to erode American sovereignty.” WTF? As if that’s not enough, Lingamfelter was endorsed by one of the most extreme, crazy people in America — former Rep. Allen West. Lingamfelter’s latest act is to call for a constitutional convention, listing a litany of ridiculous reasons (e.g., “the federal government has usurped the legitimate roles of the states through unfunded federal mandates”) as the
10. Del. Mark Cole (R) As noted above, Cole was a cosponsor of the crazy “Agenda 21” conspiracy theory bill with Del. Scott Lingamfelter. Also crazy, Cole ranted about “the ‘mark of the beast’ described in the Book of Revelation” as a reason for pushing an anti-human-microchip bill (don’t ask!). As the Post reported at the time, Cole said: “My understanding — I’m not a theologian — but there’s a prophecy in the Bible that says you’ll have to receive a mark, or you can neither buy nor sell things in end times…Some people think these computer chips might be that mark.” Case closed.
11. Rep. Dave Brat (R): Let’s start with Dave Brat Runs A $500,000 Program To Push Ayn Rand’s Ideas At College. Brat also said that E.W. Jackson, THE craziest person in Virginia politics, has “been an inspiration to me, to the country.” Oh, and Brat was strongly supported by some of the craziest people in America, like Ann Coulter. He’s also a conspiracy theorist about Benghazi (“My guess is Republican leadership did something related to Benghazi that they don’t want coming out”). Plus, he’s extreme and nutty on just about everything, such as this (“‘They said we’re going to run out of food 200 years ago, and then we’re going to have another ice age. Now it’s, we’re heating up…’ At this point, Brat waves his hand dismissively.”). What an embarrassment to our state.
12. Rep. Morgan Griffith (R): Speaking of embarrassments to Virginia, there’s craaaaazy Morgan Griffith. For instance, check out Morgan Griffith Tries to Cover Up “Chains” Rhetoric Against Obama and this crap (“Can somebody answer the question of why are the ice caps on Mars melting. Both NASA and National Geographic have reports on this. Is it in fact a shift in the orbit of Mars or is it that the sun is putting out more radiant heat? Why 40 years ago, when I was in elementary and middle school, were we taught that an increase in greenhouse gases was going to lead to a new ice age? These are questions that I, believe it or not, lie awake at night trying to figure out.”). Yeah, and we lie awake at night trying to figure out how someone as bat*** crazy as Morgan Griffith could possibly have been elected, even reelected (!) to the U.S. House of Representatives.
13. Sen. John Cosgrove (R): Despite the fact that he’s nuts, I’ll always remember Cosgrove fondly in a way, as he reminds me of when I just started blogging about Virginia politics, and blogger Maura Keaney kicked his butt over his bill to criminalize miscarriages (“requires any woman who experiences ‘fetal death’ without a doctor’s assistance to report this to the local law-enforcement agency within twelve hours of the miscarriage. Failure to do so is punishable as a Class 1 Misdemeanor.”). So yeah, Cosgrove’s at the same level of crazy as Mark Obenshain just from that alone.
14. Michael Farris (R): He ran for Lt. Governor in 1993 against Don Beyer (D) and lost, 54%-46%. Thank goodness, too, because aside from being a right-wing extremist, he’s also just plain crazy. For instance, “Farris was featured on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360° on December 7, 2012 as a leading opponent of U.S. ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act.” Why? In part, according to Farris, because “[t]he definition of disability is not defined in the treaty, and so my kid wears glasses; now they’re disabled; now the UN gets control over them.” Cuckoo! Cuckoo!
15. Del. Lionel Spruill (D): Really, this headline (“What on Earth is Lionell Spruill Talking About?!?”) kind of sums it up when it comes to Lionell Spruill. Then there’s this classic (“I’m not going to hell on that subject, of Democrats saying ‘the man is a Democrat, Spruill, he’s an atheist, you’ve got to [unintelligible, but I think something to do with supporting LeGrow] …I’m not gonna do it, I’m not going to hell behind no Democrat.”). Finally, just for fun, let’s include this (“Del. Lionell Spruill, D-Chesapeake, is proposing a bill that would ban a decorative accessory that some truck drivers have hanging below their license plates. You may have seen them out on the road — they resemble a certain part of the male reproductive system.”). At least Spruill’s entertaining, in a weird way…kind of like the next person on this list!
16. Del. Bill DeSteph (R): He’s a raving Islamophobe who believes, among other things, that “Muslems (sic) build mosques to represent Islamic supremacy over their enemy.” Anything else you need to know?
17. Sen. Dick Saslaw (D): You seriously have no idea what will come out of this guy when he opens his mouth. For instance, he might just use crude language to explain why Virginia doesn’t need no stinkin’ ethics laws, how “lobbyists, campaign contributions and gifts” are NOT the “problem in Virginia;” how “hell, we’ve got laws on the books – bank robbery, murder, armed robbery, embezzlement – and people still do it…because…they don’t know the difference between right and wrong.” Alrighty then. On uranium mining, Saslaw’s brilliant comment was basically who cares, as he “can’t be concerned about what might happen 100 [years] from now.” I’d also include, as evidence of craziness (also incompetence and desperation to regain his Majority Leader status) Saslaw’s decision to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to try and hold a 2:1 Cuccinelli district in a special election (for Phil Puckett’s seat). It was certainly idiotic, as Democrat Mike Hymes lost by nearly a 2:1 margin to Republican Ben Chafin (as anyone with half a brain would have known would happen), despite spending $500k of Dick Saslaw’s Senate Democratic Caucus money. If that’s not crazy, or at least utterly incompetent, I’m not sure what is!
18. Del. Todd Gilbert (R): Said that most abortions are simply a matter of “lifestyle convenience” (note: he later said he “regretted” his “insensitive comments”). I’m also told that last session, he opposed Del. Scott Surovell’s anti-electric-chair bill solely because he thought Amnesty International might support it.
19. Del. David Ramadan (R): I’m told that Ramadan carries two guns in the General Assembly, one on his hip and one on his ankle. So, according to my source, when Ramadan crosses his leg in a committee meeting, people can see the gun strapped to his ankle.
20. This is a tough one. There are so many other crazy Virginia politicians, it’s really hard to know who to put here. A few I considered were Barbara Comstock, who reportedly was “almost unhinged in her passion to bring down the Clintons.” I also thought about the representative Comstock will be succeeding, Frank Wolf, a right-wingnut and NOT a moderate in any way, one who’s never met a crazy conspiracy theory he didn’t subscribe to. Someone also recommended that I add Del. Mark Berg (Tea Party) to the list, but I don’t really know much about him (although clearly he’s a huge fan of “Sideshow Bob” Marshall, who Berg called “truly a statesman for our time in the noble tradition of our Founding Fathers, a stalwart supporter of Constitutional principles, individual liberty, and limited government”). Anyway, the list could be endless (Oliver North anyone? political operatives like Steve Waters and Bob FitzSimmonds?), but I’m just going to stop at this point. Feel free to add your own suggestions for an expanded list in the comments section. Thanks.