Bring In The Clowns. Don’t Bother, They’re Here.

There’s a cartoon making the rounds on social media that shows Lt. Col. Vindman–in his military uniform– testifying during the impeachment hearing before the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman Devin Nunes, in full clown regalia, is asking him “What’s with the uniform?”

I loved it.

As Impeachment proceedings move to the Judiciary Committee, I thought I’d do a quick review of some of the more vocal–okay, looney-tunes–Trump defenders on the Intelligence Committee.

Nunes is a hysterical ( in both senses of the word) Trump devotee; during the Mueller investigation, reporters caught him running information to and from the White House in an effort to exculpate the President by disparaging American spy agencies, and engaging in a variety of other behaviors that were not, to put it mildly, in furtherance of the rule of law.

Indeed, despite once sponsoring something called the “Discouraging Frivolous Lawsuits Act,” Nunes may be the poster child for legal frivolity.

According to a column in the LA Times, 

He has sued:

¤ A stone fruit farmer in Dinuba, and two other people, for conspiring to damage his 2018 reelection by asking that Nunes not be allowed to call himself a “farmer” on the ballot.

¤ The research firm Fusion GPS and a Democratic group called Campaign for Accountability for attempting to interfere with his “investigation” (quote marks are mine) into ties between President Trump and Russia when he was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

¤ Twitter and a couple of parody accounts, including @DevinCow, who has called Nunes “a treasonous cowpoke.” He is asking for $250 million to assuage his hurt feelings.

¤ McClatchy, parent company of Nunes’ hometown paper, the Fresno Bee, for writing that he had a financial interest in a winery sued by an employee who was asked to work on a charity cruise where men behaved very, very badly.

¤ And, most recently, Esquire magazine and the journalist Ryan Lizza, who Nunes claims have defamed him to the tune of $75 million in writing about the Nunes family dairy farm, which is not in California, but in Iowa, a fact Lizza alleged Nunes has sought to downplay. Lizza also wrote about how undocumented workers form the backbone of the Iowa dairy farm industry, and how the industry would collapse without them.

(The New York Times says the cow now has 600,000 followers, far more than Nunes…)

Each of Nunes lawsuits describe him in the following glowing (arguably wildly inaccurate) terms:

“Nunes’ career as a U.S. Congressman is distinguished by his honor, dedication and service to his constituents and his country, his honesty, integrity, ethics, reputation for truthfulness and veracity.”

Then there’s language from his suit against the more popular cow. I think it’s fair to characterize it as somewhat over-the-top:

“In 2018, during his last re-election,” says his lawsuit against Twitter and the cow, “Nunes endured an orchestrated defamation campaign of stunning breadth and scope, one that no human being should ever have to bear or suffer in their whole life.”

As the author of the column put it,

It’s almost as if Nunes thinks he is the victim of a vast bovine conspiracy, when what he is really doing is weaponizing the American legal system in an effort to shut down criticism, punish his antagonists and prove to Trump World that, like the president, he will stop at nothing to destroy those who would dare to oppose him. Or call him names like “Milk Dud.”

In all fairness, Nunes isn’t the only Republican clown on the Intelligence Committee. Jim Jordan is only slightly less ridiculous; his high-decibel expressions of righteous indignation over suggestions that the Emperor/Commander-in-Chief might not be wearing any clothes was in striking contrast to his utter lack of such indignation–or appropriate action– over the sexual exploitation of numerous wrestlers by the team doctor while Jordan was assistant coach at Ohio State.

Gotta give Jordan props: when he’s on your team–be it wrestling or governing– he’ll cover for you. After all, what are friends for?

There are others, of course, who haven’t exactly been models of legislative comportment–let alone integrity. Feel free to identify your personal favorites in the comments.

Despite the number of contestants, it’s my view that Devin Nunes has gone above and beyond (far, far beyond) and is richly deserving of the title of Head Clown. Despite what has definitely been a valiant effort, Jim Jordan falls short.

That said, as the proceedings move to Judiciary, Nunes may have to increase his quotient of batshit crazy in order to keep the Clown crown. Louie Gohmert is on the Judiciary Committee…


  1. My three “favorite” Republican clowns are all named in this blog; Nunes, Jordan and Gohmert are all froth-at-the-mouth Trumpites who appear more and more as comic figures who need to be removed from their elected positions before they can do any more damage. I’m not sure Louie Gohmert is actually damaging; he is more the comic relief in Congress. I cannot get out of my mind his announced reason in 2015 for not running for president; “The Nixon/Kennedy debates changed forever the way American people look at the presidency. They will never again elect a bald president.” Don’t look for reasoning or a basis-in-fact; you won’t find one.

    Nunes should have been at least sanctioned, if not removed, the first time he went behind the backs of the Republican controlled Congress to meet with Trump behind closed doors then immediately call a press conference in front of the White House. His behind-the-back mode of operation has increased since then and his wild ravings in support of Trump give the appearance of his questionable mental stability.

  2. Louis Gohmert has long held the title of “Dumbest Mammal in a legislative chamber since Caligula’s horse”, but it sounds like he’s losing that title.

  3. Matt Gaetz and Lindsey Graham also give me the creeps. I used to be amused by their nastiness, now, with so much at stake I am just saddened and a little bit scared of their desperate connection with Trump. I really don’t think I want to know all the reasons these pathetic (supposed public servants) representatives have chosen their current path.

  4. And what’s with Jim “Mad Dog” Jordan’s attire? Everyone else on the committees at least attempts to look the part of a congressional representative, but Jordan insists on jacket-less, wrestling coach chic in polyester pastel shirtsleeves, tacky tie and all, as if in perpetual “take-down” mode.

  5. Are you inviting me to beat this dead horse again? The question should be, “How do these morons stay in office?” The answer is people don’t vote.

  6. Peggy:
    People do vote for them which is the real problem. One wonders what their constituents see in their personalities, policies (if any) and public image that, to others not only degrades their offices, but diminishes their supporters.

  7. theres still seems to be a full bore set back for the wh admin, the fbi,cia,military, seem to care about the norms this country was founded on..Vidman, still in his colors,approached the commitee, as he is, a American, a soldier, and honest..if we even question integrity,it would be the republicans who see this impeachment,not in their eyes,but the eyes of those who can still see. thanks to all who did their job,served and boughtforth,a better nation.
    in a recent article by chris hedges,,, the great American shakedown, truthdig..if i could find the words and put it in context, i would have to say,chris did it right and on spot, we all get paddled here….seems theres still a America still breathing,and still ready to fight….

  8. As for the greatest clown on the Hill, Nunes will be no match for Louie Gohmert. Louie has that title locked down for infinity and beyond.

    I do find it interesting that public figures like politicians want to be exempt from criticism, especially from the “free press.” If people take their time to mock you, I’ve learned that a good hard look in the mirror is justified. If 600,000 fans enjoy you being mocked, ask a mentor or close friend for some good honest feedback.

    As clownish as Nunes has been, Louie is saying, “Hold my beer! You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

    I know these clowns are the fringe element, but we really cannot take our government serious at this point. They are either sycophants, puppets, or clowns funded by the Oligarchy.

    World leaders mock even our so-called, non-political POTUS — not a great time to be a U.S. citizen unless you’re a fan of the circus.

  9. I disagree with Sheila’s choice of head clown. The head clown is Trump; the rest are elves. He is the Santa and I wish all of them were on the North Pole sans means of communications with the civilized world, a world they are doing their best to undo.
    Back to reality: I have noted with increasing alarm how the judicial branch has been weaponized by Trump and his minions such as Nunes for stalling, intimidating etc., and I think it is time for the courts to dismiss such suits via preliminary motion, costs and fees and perhaps even fines vs. plaintiffs. Trial judges do not live in a vacuum; they know they and their co-equal branch of government are being used for purely political purposes, and I keep waiting for some brave judicial soul to officially note that by writing an opinion that notes the lack of “case or controversy” (and I’m not so sure that such an opinion dismissing such cases on the merits with sanctions would be overturned on appeal).
    This business of suing everybody in sight on such flimsy grounds as we are seeing has to stop; courts have heavy dockets where real cases and controversies are up for decision. I invite other lawyers and anyone else who participates in this blog to weigh in on this travesty employed by our head clown and his elves.
    Our head clown and his Chief Elf McConnell have already scrapped the legislative process, and Republican senators, having nothing else to do, are going on Fox Gnus to repeat conspiracy theories straight from the Kremlin. This is America? We need not sit here and watch our democracy go down the drain with scare suits by the dozens that are plainly political and designed to intimidate those who stand up for our democratic values earned by the blood of patriots. Stopping frivolous suits is only one of the means we must employ to defend what is left of our teetering democracy, but it may be an an important one in removing the influence of those who would stifle the First Amendment rights of those of us who are defending our most precious asset held in common, our democracy.

  10. What is striking about these hearings is the Reactionary Republicans when devoid of any creditable defense of President Agent Orange they engage in bullying or long diatribes, free of facts but heavy on theatrical outrage.

    This has been the Reactionary Republican response for years, except now the cover of Bush the Elder or Bush the Younger’s public decorum, you have the full on in your face flailing of twisted anger, selected facts or a lack of facts, which is best exemplified by President Agent Orange.

    The Reactionary Republicans having been defeated on the battlefield of facts, are like some fanatical Japanese Soldier in WW 2, that even though total defeat and death will be the result continues to fight for the Emperor (President Agent Orange). The Reactionary Republican Base expects and demands this. Personal Loyalty to President Agent Orange supersedes Loyalty to the USA and it’s laws.

  11. Trump’s hostile takeover of the GOP didn’t need to be entirely hostile, he had friends on the inside who, like him, were essentially entertainers who fooled people for a living. Well, actually Trump didn’t ever make a living. He inherited a life.

    The majority of the Republican “defense” of Trump is that while he behaves in a way that is far below the expectations of a majority of American citizens leading to their conclusion that he is a corrupt and incompetent President, that behavior is OK with a minority.

    Well, heck yes. that’s true of all criminals. Other criminals probably like them.

  12. And how can we omit Mark Meadows, the Redneck Rollo? He and Jordan, Gaetz and Gohmert constitute the three stooges of the apocalypse. In the Senate, Ted Cruz leads the pack of lip strummers closely followed by the man of many sides, Lacey Lindsey Graham. The debasement of these Republicans is, of course, only their normal daily output. Their clown car act is the looney entrance to their rent-a-clown’s daily word salad and puffery. Did you hear that hilarious ramble on water, showers, toilets and hand washing? OMG. Not even Bill Maher’s writers could come up with anything like that.

    Terrifyingly, the composite of these clowns more closely resemble the main character in “IT”.

  13. People who are tempted to worry about the fact that Democrats have no perfect candidate for 2020 remember that whoever is ultimately selected will only have to run against Republicans and Putin. They certainly don’t have to be perfect.

  14. Matt Gaetz would win the biggest clown award in the U.S. House, but alas he can never win that title while Devin Nunes is in Congress. Gaetz proves that people with a law degree can be incredibly stupid. Nunes is stupid and dangerous.

  15. H.L . Mencken:

    “Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”

  16. In December’s’s Atlantic Magazine, Yoni Applebaum makes a persuasive case for why Republican politicians are acting insanely. The realities of demographics, he explains, have forced them to confront the possibility of their irrelevance in the near future. What he calls an existential threat in the form of a “tectonic demographic shift” has led to vote suppression, anti-immigrant strategies, lying with a single voice, worship of a demagogue who keeps them united and a host of absurdities documented above. For them it’s existential.

    Trump nicely summarizes both their fears and their sense of panic : “Our radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice, and rage,” Trump told the crowd at his reelection kickoff event in Orlando in June. “They want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it.” This is the core of the president’s pitch to his supporters: He is all that stands between them and the abyss. ME: How long has it been since Trump said anything even semi-rational?

    So they are ripping down the pillars that keep society from imploding and seem to have little or no concern about where such moves will take us.

  17. I must have missed the meme you referred to !!!! Damn. I would have “shared” the heck out of it.

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