Congress

"America's Most Awful Liberal is a #FloridaMan: Alan Grayson"

Members of Congress should be held to higher standards than regular voters.

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Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) is in the news these days because he's threatening to run for the Senate and because he called the mother of his five children and wife of 15 years "a gold digger."

Grayson is a progressive Democrat type who is terrible on most economic policy but strays into libertarian territory frequently. For instance, he's against the drug war and the Export-Import Bank (the only congressional Dem on that score), he's for gay marriage and auditing the Fed, and he's against domestic surveillance and intervenionist foreign policy.

Alas, he is one of the biggest jackasses in American politics, the sort of figure who defines deviancy down when it comes to serious political discourse. And he's the subject of my latest Daily Beast column:

One of the fundamentally grotesque facts of the American political system is that we get the politicians we vote for.

Which brings me to Alan Grayson, the congressman who is vying to become the political equivalent of @_FloridaMan, a never-ending series of cringe-inducing incidents, headlines, and actions that define—and defame—an entire state.

But Grayson, who represents the Sunshine State's 9th District is not simply an ill-fated, hard-luck Twitter handle conjured from headlines such as "Florida Man Accidentally Smashes Wrong Car With Baseball Bat""Florida Man Compiles Map Detailing the Most Popular Places in Miami to Poop in the Street", and "Florida Man Pocket-Dials 911 While Cooking Meth With Mom".

He's a goddamn congressman, which means he should be held to slightly higher standards than homeless men who are forever masturbating in Walmart toy sections, wrestling squirrels and alligators while fucked-up out of their minds, and punching police horses while protecting imaginary girlfriends. Indeed, Grayson should strive to comport himself with at least the modicum of decorum that Internet phenom and 9/11 truther Alex Jones has managed while having Grayson on his show….

He's called women lobbyists "whores," said on MSNBC that Dick Cheney has "blood that drips from his teeth," lost an election for falsely accusing his opponent of being a draft dodger and simpatico with the Taliban, and announced from the floor Congress that the GOP health care plan amounted to "die quickly."

Regular Reason readers know that I'm a free speech absolutist who has no issue with harsh rhetoric in general. But Grayson is an elected official for christ's sake, and a jabbering idiot who almost certainly undermines his effectiveness. Just as people were right to get bent out of shape over the rhetoric of fools such as Todd Akin, Michelle Bachman, and others, we're right to demand something more presentable from our public servants.

Members of Congress should be held to higher standards than regular voters. They should be expected to live their lives more cleanly than the rest of us and they should talk to one another respectfully, especially on topics where the disagreements are the deepest. I'm not talking about the patently phony decorum that gets trotted out every time a senator starts clearing his throat as he ascends the dais to lecture a nearly empty chamber about the excellence of his colleagues and the desperate need for a traffic light to be fixed in his hometown.

No, I'm talking about the sort of truly honest and open political debate we desperately need in Washington. It's just not going to happen if our elected officials are steeped in the extremist "wingnut rhetoric" that is properly left to citizens, journalists, and the rest of us with an opinion and an Internet connection.

It's not just Alan Grayson, of course, even if he is a little too Florida Man for comfort.  With the possible exception of presidential elections (I'm thinking 2000 and maybe 1960), we get whom we vote for in the United States. And to the extent that our representatives actually represent us, we've got as much to be contrite about as does the honorable congressman from Florida.

Read the whole thing here.

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  1. “America’s Most Awful Liberal is a #FloridaMan

    Of course.

  2. Oh Nick, you still beating the Al Gore was robbed by FL drum? I’m sorry slimy democrats in Miami-Dade didn’t guess the right number to lie about the first time.

    1. Yeah, that is a bit disappointing.

    2. It stuns me that any but the most partisan see that as anything other than it was–an attempt by the left to bullshit their way into a win. Oh, see, this must’ve been a vote for Gore, because no one would vote for icky Bush. And the Florida Supreme court acted solely on partisan grounds, contrary to Florida law. But that’s okay, right?

      1. Yes, and they were shocked, shocked! when the Republicans actually dared to fight back.

        1. I remember when progressives changed their views on protesting when it suddenly wasn’t them doing it.

      2. I find it highly unlikely a state, that voted for a republican governor back to back, would vote for a republican president! They really wanted Gore.
        /sarc

        1. It’s actually a pretty firmly Republican state. I mean, look at the legislature. But enough voters here are moderate or leftwing to swing the presidential elections.

        2. I’m doubting all those Buchanan votes were intended though..

          1. Maybe, though there was some evidence that they skewed to the crazy in previous elections, but does it matter? It’s not proper to say, hey they all voted a little more left last time, this was clearly not the vote they meant, therefore GORE!!!!!

            Honestly, the left’s logic is so absurd that it keeps forcing me to side with the right, which I also don’t like, because they suck for other reasons.

            1. I thought the supposition that people had voted for Buchanan when they probably intended Gore was based on the design of the ballots themselves?

              1. If you’re too stupid to vote, maybe you’re too stupid to vote. It’s funny to me because I voted in a redneck county. When they called for the state wide recount, the county had the results in an hour and 100 percent correct. Yet much more sophisticated and wealthy counties were the ones fucking up.

              2. OK, I looked up an image on the ballot in question. As Buchanan himself said, it’s pretty easy to see how there could have been confusion resulting in the fairly incredible results, and easy to see how one would conclude the intent of many was probably to vote for Gore, not Bush. Having said that, I don’t see how you could count any punched hole for Buchanan as one for Gore because there is no way to know if any given ballot case punched for Buchanan was one that was intended for him or not (surely some were). So I can see the Dems complaint, but I can’t see how, as an official or a legal matter, the votes could have been counted otherwise.

                1. You can’t assume votes based on possibilities. That was the problem with the complaint. Not to mention that the ballots in question were under the control of a Democratic elections supervisor (ballots vary by location, of course), I believe (working from memory), so any allegation that it was intentionally deceptive was difficult, at best.

                  One problem with the whole business is that the Gore people were only looking at a few places where they thought they could squeeze out the votes they wanted. Flaws in ballots almost certainly existed in other counties, possibly going against Bush. You can’t cherry-pick your way to victory. At least, that’s no way to run things.

                  1. From what I just looked up the design was by Democrat Party officials. And I agree, I can see no defensible way that you could officially conclude that any given vote was ‘actually’ for Gore.

                    However, I can also see that the ballot was clearly potentially confusing and that the results were so anomalous it would be some mighty straining not to conclude that absent the confusion Gore would have gotten more votes there, probably enough to overcome the eventual amount he lost by. Of course your comment that you couldn’t just pick one county and it’s possible confusion and just redo it alone seems valid to me as well.

                    1. The ballot was designed the way it was in order for there to be large print for seniors to read easier and accommodate the large number of third party candidates. Blaming Gore’s loss on Buchanan votes means he was hoist on the Dem’s incompetently executing good intentons.

                    2. I’d agree with that statement, but there are people who think elections should ultimately reflect the people’s actual intended consent, and so this outcome fell short of the ideal regardless of whose fault it was.

                    3. The ideal is unattainable by definition, but most times the noise does not matter. At some point you have to accept that imperfections exist that cannot be filtered out that did not have malicious intent behind them.

                  2. One problem with the whole business is that the Gore people were only looking at a few places where they thought they could squeeze out the votes they wanted.

                    My vague recollection is that one of the court decisions basically said this was the problem. If you want to recount the whole state fine, but if you just want to recount here and there, then no.

                  3. Flaws in ballots almost certainly existed in other counties, possibly going against Bush. You can’t cherry-pick your way to victory. At least, that’s no way to run things.

                    That was the issue right there. Team Gore wanted to use areas more likely to lean blue as their basis for statistical sampling. And to think, they nearly got away with it.

                    1. Iirc they also wanted different standards to be used in the recounts in different places. That seems problematic too I think (I’m guessing that was based on the fact that different counties had different kinds of ballots, but still, how would that possibly work without being a partisan disaster?).

              3. It’s entirely possible that they meant to vote for Buchanan but told pollsters they’d vote for Gore for social acceptance.

                Just like the recent UK pre-election polling got the actual election results wrong.

                1. It’s also entirely possible they were under the mind control of a sentient, telepathic, invisible gorilla.

                  Buchanan and his campaign thought the idea he got all those votes intentionally was absurd. It was quite anomalous.

                  1. I just looked at the ballot and see how you would be confused if you can’t read or follow a fucking arrow. *see previous of comment about being too stupid to vote*

                    1. Unfortunately I guess when our Founders said that government derives its legitimacy from the consent of the people it didn’t carve out an exception for stupid people.

                      I mean, a lot of elderly people vote, especially in that district. They can be confused by something like this without necessarily being stupid generally, right?

                    2. Seriously, look again. You read the name, follow the arrow to the hole, poke the hole. If that’s too taxing or confusing maybe you shouldn’t be picking who is in charge.

                    3. Do you know any elderly people Florida? Some of them have eyesight that is not perfect for one thing.

                      Beyond that, I can see how a person of normal eyesight and intelligence could be confused by that ballot. With all due respect, if you exhibited a little more empathy and less superiority I think you could too. Buchanan himself said it was a no-brainer how this probably worked after he looked at the ballot. I disagree with Buchanan on quite a few things but I don’t think he’s an idiot by any means. No one that worked in visual design of such things would have said ‘hey, now that’s something only dimwits would be confused by!’ when looking at it.

                      That said, it was designed by Democrat Party officials. It’s like a questionable call based on a rule that the team who lost out on the call pushed to have created, and there being no other way to really deal with the call.

                    4. I’m not really a fan of voting in general, but if we are going to have it, then people need to be responsible for their actions. Can’t see? Ask for assistance. Don’t understand the ballot? Ask for clarification. I don’t think the ballot was purposely made to be confusing, like literacy test, life isn’t perfect.

                    5. I think the ballot design was less than perfect and the reaction of any ultimately confused vote-caster was also less than perfect. You’re right that happens, but while I can see not crying over it too much I can also see realizing that it’s less than ideal.

      3. Well, it didn’t help that the SCOTUS decision was so odd. “This is a one time decision, no precedent!”

        1. It was because of the really stupid Florida decision. I think they were looking for a way to overrule it without saying, “Just how fucking partisan are you guys, anyway?”

          1. But I thought the Rehnquist court was the court of the New Federalism?

    3. Given the tenor of the article, I’ll give Nick benefit of the doubt and assume he has to put it in for the article to go up on Daily Beast.

      Didn’t help with the comments, though. Jesus, Nick, they like you less than H&R likes Dalmia!

    4. Oh Nick, you still beating the Al Gore was robbed by FL drum?

      I took it more as a nod to the fact that summing tallies across all states Al Gore got more votes than George Bush.

      People need to chillax.

      1. This is almost surely what he meant, yes.

      2. I took it as a jab at FL because the whole article is a jab at FL. Maybe I’m wrong.

        1. Florida Man Reacts Too Sensitively to Nick Gillespie Article! 😉

          1. Most boring FM headline eva.

            1. Correct. I would also have accepted “tedious”, “unfunny”, “pointlessly argumentative”, “autistic”, or “fat”.

              1. Not enough donkey calf raise personal bests in that story for you, huh?

                1. Congratulations again, Bo.

                  1. Warty won’t brag about his weightlifting personal bests ever since I called him on it, so we have to deduce his personal best on donkey calf raises some other way. How much do you weigh Playa?

                    1. How clever. I’m a lean 195, and Warty can bench more than 2 of me. I have no idea what donkey calf raises are.

                    2. He does! He works out a lot. To hear him tell it on an anonymous internet discussion board, he’s quite accomplished in this area.

                    3. That’s retarded. You ask about it all the time (including twice in this thread), I answer, and you accuse him of bragging.

                      You really suck at this.

                    4. I ask about it now that I caught him bringing it up.

                      In any other anonymous, political web forum if someone started to brag about how much they can lift on various exercises he’d never hear the end of it. But cliques and all, you know, rule here.

                      By the way, I bench the axle of a car. With the car attached. If I had more time I’d describe my deadlift personal best and my tricep extensions! Why one day….

                    5. Based on the Flickr photo stream of your graduation, I’m guessing the only thing you can bench is a large pizza.

                    6. I have $20 on the neck beard with the fat mom.

                    7. Playa, donkey calf raises are an amazingly gay bodybuilding exercise. I’ve never done them, but I absolutely would. I let sweaty dudes put their crotch in my face for fun, you think I’m afraid of looking like a fag?

                    8. “I’ve never done them, but I absolutely would.”

                      If I had a friend who would…’sob’

              2. Ok, “fat” made me laugh the most. It so random and I love it.

                1. Ok, “fat” made me laugh the most. It so random and I love it.

                  Doesn’t he seem fat to you? I picture him having really terrible facial hair, too.

            2. This one might be better:

              Florida Man Beat Female Cousin Over “The Way She Cooked Hard Boiled Eggs”

              He’s an odd looking fellow too.

                1. You get a chub watching that, don’t you.

                  1. You get a chub watching that, don’t you.

                    You don’t???

                    1. I’m busy getting a chub over Florida Man raging out and flipping a table. I can’t have two chubs at once. I’m not this guy.

                    2. I’m busy getting a chub over Florida Man raging out and flipping a table. I can’t have two chubs at once. I’m not this guy.

                      20 inches worth of cock?!? Oh come on God!

              1. Probably a lover’s quarrel.

              2. A little too close to home, Jesse. My name is also Cory with no “e”. Also, how do you fuck up boiled eggs.
                *flips table over in fit of rage*

                1. Well I certainly have a chub now. Also I make excellent eggs.

                  1. How do you feel about deviled eggs? Do Californians eat deviled eggs?

                    1. I love deviled eggs. Used to have them all the time when I was younger, but they seem to have fallen out of fashion since I was a kid. I’ll occasionally throw some together as a snack.

                    2. I loved them when I was younger, too. I must’ve eaten the equivalent of 7-8 eggs whenever we had them.

                    3. *looks up prices for flights to Cali*

                    4. Yes, yes we do. The kind with hot mustard.

                    5. Hot mustard you say. The kind I grew up with is sweet, but I love spivey food.

                    6. Half the egg lengthwise, pull out the yolk, mash in some mayo and mustard, and put it back in.

                    7. Do you not put a dash of smoked spanish paprika on it to give it color?

                    8. A little relish is nice in deviled eggs too.

                    9. I wonder if we still have the sweet/spicy Louisiana relish in the fridge. Maybe I’ll be a mid-century housewife and bring deviled eggs to the Memorial Day BBQ.

                    10. If you don’t, I will hunt you down and wrestle you into submission. …Wait…

                    11. Oh no! Anything but that.

                      *feigns running away*

                    12. Still haven’t booked anywhere. The rates tripled at the hotel with the waterpark.
                      Should have jumped at the chance in hindsight.

                    13. This late you aren’t going to find a good deal anywhere. I did a last minute trip to Death Valley one year. With the recent rains that or Anza Borrego would probably be incredible this weekend.

                    14. Relish is how I make them.

      3. Chillax? When someone dares question our sainted libertarian former president George W. Bush and his clear victory in 2000?

        1. Tony, these regulars hated George Bush. They just defend and deflect criticism from his administration’s blunders all the time because of a deep love of painful accuracy.

          1. Really Bo? You agree the way Gore wanted to recount in a biased way is bullshit and the election result could only fairly be read as the original count as is, but somehow that’s support GWB.

            1. I wasn’t relying on that Florida, but on some of the deflections of criticism of GWB’s policies, especially foreign, I’ve seen surprisingly frequently hear in the past year or two of visiting/posting.

              I frankly haven’t seen such defenses of Bush’s foreign policies even in some of the conservative discussion boards I’ve visited.

            2. Any president winning despite losing the popular vote is a travesty. Being appointed by a 5-4 Supreme Court is something beyond that.

              This is not a zero-sum thing. You can ape the fat man on the radio and hate progs all you like without having to defend the worst president of the 20th century.

              1. The laws the law tony. Isn’t that what your always claiming. Or laws don’t matter when you don’t get the result you want?

                1. Where in the law does it say the president shall be appointed by a majority vote of the Supreme Court?

              2. Tony|5.22.15 @ 12:59PM|? | #

                … You can ape the fat man on the radio and hate progs all you like without having to defend the worst president of the 20th century.

                Wait, what? I thought the worst POTUS of the 20th century was unarguably Wilson. Bush The Lesser was POTUS during the 21st century, no?

          2. Pointing out that Obama has continued all of the failed Bush policies, and in most cases ramped them up, is not fucking deflection or defending.

            Jesus Christ.

        2. I have to say watching the left cry over the failure of a sexual predator and delusional nutjob like Al Gore to become President fills me with schadenfreude.

          Sure W ran as a centrist conservative who was going to bring an end to the corruption and hubris of the Clinton years, and sure once in office he betrayed all his rhetoric and wasted no time followign the Reagan playbook of buying off all opposition by profligate deficit spending, and his admin was just if not more lawless than the Clinton admin,

          But at least an even more delusional totalitarian nutjob saw his political career finally end.

          1. Bush lived up to our international obligations and that’s what’s important, amirite?

          2. I’m sure the families of the uncountable dead are happy you were able to experience some schadenfreude, at least.

            1. I don’t know, why don’t you ask Hillary Clinton how she handles knowing she helped send those men and women off to die.

              1. I love how Bush’s war is kind of OK, except the part of it that Hillary voted for.

                1. It’s not OK, Tony.

                  But at least Bush’s war was limited to one nation state.

                  Al Gore’s insane war is aimed at the whole human race. Although right now Africans appear to be the ones that will be doing most of the dying.

                  And there’s 0 guarantee that Al Gore wouldn’t have murdered people and a good chance that his policies would have been within an order of magnitude of being as bloody as Obama’s. I think the body count caused by Obama’s bombing of Libya and his arms smuggling into Syria has to be getting near the body count in Iraq during the Bush years.

                2. I guess in Tony land Bush’s being an asshole and starting a war we didn’t need to fight excuses the congress people that voted for the AUMF and the replacement president who wanted to extend our stay, assassinated American citizens without trial, keeps a secret kill list, and engages in “kinetic military actions”. At least as long as there’s a (D) after their name.

                  And for the umpteenth fucking time shit for brains: Fuck the Iraq War, and Fuck Bush for getting into it.

    5. No, I’m sure he meant popular vote vs. electoral vote nationwide. 1960 was about fraud.

  3. WHAT?! No alt-text for photo #1?

    “Hmm. If I grew a goatee, people wouldn’t confuse me with Alec Baldwin as much.”

    1. Fuck you! Goatees are for closers!

      1. Sprinkles are for winners

    2. I suspect he’s dyeing that. He’s been married fifteen years which puts him at around age 35. Should be some gray in there by then.

      1. I dunno, I didn’t have any gray that you could notice in my beard (or hair) until my 40s. Still not that much gray in my hair, but when I let my beard grow (pretty much only on mountain vacations), it’s got a bundle of gray.

  4. said on MSNBC that Dick Cheney has “blood that drips from his teeth,”

    How could he possibly know that, being that Darth Cheney always wears that mask?

    1. Everyone knows the blood was really dripping from that guy Cheney shot in the face.

  5. he’s for […] auditing the Fed,

    So were Henry B. Gonzalez and Barney Frank?

    Thus, when the first Democratic president in over a decade was inaugurated in 1993, the maverick and venerable Democratic chairman of the House Banking Committee, Texan Henry B. Gonzalez, optimistically introduced some of his favorite projects for opening up the Fed to public scrutiny. His proposals seemed mild; he did not call for full-fledged Congressional control of the Fed’s budget. The Gonzalez Bill required full independent audits of the Fed’s operations; videotaping the meetings of the Fed’s policy-making committee; and releasing detailed minutes of the policy meetings within a week, rather than the Fed being allowed, as it is now, to issue vague summaries of its decisions six weeks later. In addition, the presidents of the twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks would be chosen by the president of the United States rather than, as they are now, by the commercial banks of the respective regions.

    The bill was cosponsored by Barney Frank.

    1. Wasn’t Harry Reid for auditing the fed right until the time he actually got the power to do it?

    2. Tea Party nutjobs!

  6. Members of Congress should be held to higher standards than regular voters. They should be expected to live their lives more cleanly than the rest of us

    Oh, be serious, Nick. Members of Congress, as a species, are mental defectives with egregious personality disorders. We should actively encourage them to spend their time whoring, smoking opium, and fighting duels. Anything to distract their attention from destroying the economy and usurping our freedom.

  7. rider71 22 minutes ago
    Grayson is a bad ass… lol. He hammers Republicans with impunity and crushes their heads (and their balls) in the vice of truth and pulls no punches. He tells it just like it is and the people love him for it.

    He’s doing something right – the Koch (head) brothers and other right wing money men throw millions out there to support anyone campaigning directly against him. It’s hysterically funny when you really look into what’s going on in Florida politics. Comically, the Republicans in Florida are as idiotic as the rip off artist they elected governor… Rick Scott… for God’s sake, why would anyone want to elect a racist, misanthropic crook like him?

    Grayson is the best thing that’s happened in Florida politics in like, forever… lol

    …And the dolt who wrote this article is just pushing a hit and run piece of lazy journalism… if you can call it journalism.

    Oh.

  8. he called the mother of his five children and wife of 15 years “a gold digger

    She may not be a “gold digger” but she ain’t messin’ with no broke…

  9. Regular Reason readers know that I’m a free speech absolutist who has no issue with harsh rhetoric in general. But

    NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICCCKK!!!!!!

  10. Grayson should strive to comport himself with at least the modicum of decorum that Internet phenom and 9/11 truther Alex Jones has managed while having Grayson on his show….

    Meow!

    Nick, not only do I approve of your use of guilt by association, but I also applaud your belief that it is a highlight of the article. It takes some cojones to point out the fallacies in one’s argument… however zippy the snark.

    Also, I know nothing about Mr Grayson beyond your article, and he’s my new favorite congressman.

    1. He’s a true soldier in the War on Wimmen!

  11. Also, Nick: since when does the guy in the leather jacket lecture on conformity to socially-acceptable norms?

    Fonzie may have jumped a shark, but he was never Miss Manners.

  12. Didn’t Grayson attempt to sue someone because their blog was critical of him? Or use election laws? I’m going to have to look that up.

  13. Grayson can’t be all that bad:

    The War Is Making You Poor Act (H.R. 5353), introduced by Rep. Alan Grayson on May 20, 2010, was a bill which aimed to cut funding for the Iraq War and Afghanistan War, and use the proceeds to eliminate federal income taxes on every American’s first $35,000 of income. The bill garnered the support of 18 co-sponsors in Congress including Ron Paul (R-TX), Walter Jones (R-NC), John Conyers (D-MI), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) and Dennis Kucinich (D-OH).[1][2] $159.3 billion in war spending would have been affected; the $548.9 billion base war budget would remain in place, as would the approximately $75 billion black budget.[3]

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