Unfortunately, It Isn’t Only Texas

Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert recently responded to criticism of Republican proposals that would savagely cut food stamps by explaining that “some poor people are obese, and this will help them.”

Okay–I guess I can understand really dumb people who also lack compassion or the intelligence to refrain from embarrassing themselves. I don’t understand the voters who elect them.

Pathetic, for sure. But for pure evil, Louie (once called “the dumbest mammal to enter a legislative chamber since Caligula’s horse”) has been eclipsed by the current Texas Attorney General, who has initiated a lawsuit against the federal government over the definition of the word ‘spouse’ as it’s defined post-Windsor by the Department of Labor. The suit alleges that allowing the federal government to define same-sex partners as spouses threatens “imminent” harm to the Great State of Texas.

Specifically, the DOL change relates to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). FMLA legally protects employees’ jobs when they must take time off work to care for a spouse or immediate family member.
According to Paxton, LGBT couples should not have the legal right to take time off work to care for a seriously ill or injured spouse.
“This lawsuit is about defending the sovereignty of our state, and we will continue to protect Texas from the unlawful overreach of the federal government,” Paxton argued in a statement to press. “The newly revised definition of ‘spouse’ under the FMLA is in direct violation of state and federal laws and U.S. Constitution,”
As the courts will undoubtedly explain to Mr. Paxton–who somehow managed to graduate from law school with absolutely no understanding of the way American federalism works–there’s this pesky thing called the Supremacy Clause that limits Texas’ “sovereignty.” But whether he is ignorant of the law–or just pandering to Texans who are ignorant of the law–the astonishing part of this story is the determined viciousness with which he attacks LGBT citizens.
This lawsuit follows another similar suit (also filed by Paxton’s office) to overturn a decision that recognized one lesbian couple’s marriage. The Texas couple were granted marriage rights by the courts due in large part to one of the two suffering from severe ovarian cancer.

This degree of hate is hard to understand. But scholars have tried.

In the wake of President Truman’s 1948 order integrating the armed forces, pioneering social psychologist Gordon Allport wrote a book titled The Nature of Prejudice. Allport distinguished between two kinds of bigotry– negative social attitudes that can be changed by education and increased contact with members of the disfavored group, and the desperate, twisted hatred that Paxton’s actions exhibit, and that erupted after Obama’s election.

People in the latter group have a deep-seated psychological need to hate, and their stereotypes about the objects of that hatred are impervious to evidence. They are deeply damaged beings.

I might be able to muster up some measure of sympathy for these disordered folks, if we’d stop electing them.


  1. This is, by the way, the same Texas AG with whom our governor is partnering in challenging President Obama’s executive action deferring the deportations of the parents of children who are legally in or citizens of this country. Though our AG, Greg Zoeller, apparently refused to represent Pence in that lawsuit, he authorized him to spend up to $100K to hire private lawyers at rates of up to $575/hour. Thus far those lawyers, who I should add are prominent contributors to the Indiana GOP, have failed to convince the hand-picked and virulently anti-Immigrant federal judge that Indiana has been harmed in even the slightest degree by that immigration order. But Pence unfortunately continues to spend our money to pursue his alliance with this sociopathic AG from the State of Texas.

  2. “As the courts will undoubtedly explain to Mr. Paxton–who somehow managed to graduate from law school with absolutely no understanding of the way American federalism works–there’s this pesky thing called the Supremacy Clause that limits Texas’ “sovereignty.””

    Actually, Sheila, that’s not really in the Constitution the way you want it to be. The Constitution is supreme over Texas’ laws, but not every last law the U.S. government passes, unless the U.S. law at issue only applies to matters entirely within the jurisdiction of the U.S. government.

    To the extent that a U.S. law intrudes upon Texas’ jurisdiction, the U.S. law is overbroad and a violation of the federalist charter (Constitution).

  3. I would like to see Texas secede from the union and then watch them “enjoy their freedom” from the “burden” of our federal laws that actually protect them.

  4. While legal technical arguments can be fun and laughs the point remains. We have people without jobs, not paid a living wage, too old or infirm to work, or raising children under circumstances that requires their time. That’s the problem, not how someone like Louie Gohmert managed to contain his ignorance long enough to get through law school.

    What to do about the problem, not the sideshow.

    The Great Oligarchy Plot believes that the solution is hungrier, less healthy people. That at some point despiration overwhelms those other limitations and those folks will support the oligarchs as apparently God intends and work for sub living wages and, I guess, beg, borrow or steal whatever else they need.

    Of course there are places where that “wisdom” has and is demonstrated. India comes to mind. Bangladesh.

    The GOP sideshow attempts to divert attention from their plan to unbuild America and sell the remains. And it apparently works. At the rate that we are going perhaps the day will come when the Louie Gohmerts of the country are Presidents of Ivy League Universities in honor of their superior intellect.

    God help us.

  5. Texas …

    Ted Cruz is running for President of the United States and has apparently neglected to remember the geographical location of his mother at the time of his birth: Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

    Or is, the geographical location of the birth mother only relevant in the case of an African/American running for President.

  6. And John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone! Any chance Mexico would want Texas returned?

  7. So the people elect fools and we get the government that they deserve? Sounds like a scam to me.

  8. Having lived in Texas now for over 20 years, it’s challenging to convey to my fellow Hoosiers the frustration of having, over that period, so few elected officials actually represent me (count on one hand) — all of these being on the Federal level. Adding to that frustration, the recognition that Texas has probably twice as many bleeding heart liberal citizens than Indiana has … well, people. We are merely outnumbered. Texas Minorities of all kinds are desperately reliant on this Federal “overreach,” if only to carry on their lives with the presumption that, indeed, all men are created equal. Gohmert and Paxton can scream all they want about the Constitution and never once consider the Spirit of it.

  9. I have always thought the GOP has performed a remarkably good job in selling this idea of austerity to their base. The hidden agenda to the base is the austerity programs are necessary because of the stereotypes they believe exist: Over weight non whites with 50 inch TVs not willing to work. The “beast ” is the Federal or State Safety Net and the best solution is to starve the beast.

    I receive Bernie Sander’s Newsletters and one of his latest is a shocker – http://www.budget.senate.gov/democratic/public/index.cfm/blog?ID=b5809bf3-e391-4395-a8fd-44f9387265e1. — Among other things Sanders mentions: • Hedge fund managers making millions a year pay an effective tax rate lower than that of teachers, firefighters, and nurses. This happens because certain investment is taxed at lower rates than the wages and salaries that most of us earn, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates that two-thirds of the benefits of this break go to the richest one percent of households. Unfortunately, the Senate GOP budget does nothing to address this problem.

    • Huge and profitable corporations like General Electric, Verizon, Bank of America, and Citigroup have in recent years paid no federal income taxes. Americans corporations avoid $100 billion each year by claiming their profits are made by shell companies in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and other offshore tax havens. Unfortunately, the Republican budget does nothing to solve these problems.

    I really wish Bernie Sanders would run for President. Given that a Candidates “Viability” is judged on his or hers ability to raise money to campaign – Sanders would be at a huge disadvantage. The people who can afford to dump millions of dollars into political campaigns are not likely to have Sanders for President bumper stickers, even so I would love to be able to vote for Sanders for President.

  10. I was with you until the next to the last paragraph, “People in the latter group have a deep-seated psychological need to hate, and their stereotypes about the objects of that hatred are impervious to evidence. They are deeply damaged beings.” Without a license to practice the medical specialty of psychiatry, I tend not to make such bold pronouncements despite my personal layperson thoughts and perceptions.

  11. Maria; no degree is needed to recognize racism or bigotry or baseless hatred any more than you need to be a meteoroligist to recognize snow. Basic intelligence, power of observation and the ability to recognize the stereotypes who stereotype people by color, religion, sexual orientation and PRIMARILY by politics is all that is needed. Being one of their “objects of hatred” I am well aware they are “impervious to evidence.” Those who hate are also impervious to common sense, rationality and blatant proof of their irrationality. They have always been with us and we will always be plagued by them.

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