GOP congressman calls for legalization of marijuana

One of the big themes in the current Republican ideology is the idea that those people — the 47 percent, the blahs, the moochers and takers and illegals — are criminal.

Black voters are therefore treated as guilty-until-proven-innocent of mythical voter fraud. Medicare isn’t a lifeline for American seniors, but rather a hotbed of fraudulent criminality. Every form of anything that can be called “welfare” — from food stamps to unemployment benefits — is denounced as a hand-out to frauds who are only pretending to be poor or pretending to be sick or pretending to be unable to find work.

That’s why it was so startling to hear one right-wing Republican member of Congress tell his constituents that there is no such thing as voter fraud or Medicare fraud or welfare fraud. Even more surprisingly, this conservative congressman called for the legalization of marijuana and prostitution, and for the immediate release of Bradley Manning.

He didn’t say it in so many words, of course, but what else are we to make of this statement from Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif.?

For a criminal practice there has to be a gun. It’s pretty simple.

McClintock didn’t really mean to suggest that Timothy McVeigh and O.J. Simpson weren’t guilty of crimes. Nor did he apparently really mean to say that smoking marijuana shouldn’t be a crime, or that there is no such thing as Medicare fraud or voter fraud.

The Republican was simply responding to a constituent’s question about “Wall Street criminal practices,” and McClintock’s belief that Wall Street criminal practices ought never to be prosecuted is so sweeping and extreme that his response was equally sweeping and extreme. It’s not that McClintock really believes that Wall Street can’t have criminal practices because they don’t use guns. It’s that he believes Wall Street can’t have criminal practices because they’re wealthy white men in suits.

Or maybe just because they’re his biggest donors.

McClintock’s staggeringly dumb explanation for his staggeringly immoral views pretty much requires us to end with Woody Guthrie’s “Pretty Boy Floyd,” so here’s Bob Dylan’s version:

Yes, as through this world I’ve wandered
I’ve seen lots of funny men;

Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.

And as through your life you travel,
Yes, as through your life you roam,
You won’t never see an outlaw
Drive a family from their home.
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  • SergeantHeretic

    Once again Fred. That’ll preach.

  • AnonaMiss

    You missed the part where he came out in support of a gun ban, on the grounds that getting rid of guns would eliminate all crime.

  • paulgottlieb

    Of course, the “Dylan” version of “Pretty Boy Floyd” is simply Dylan singing the words and music of Woody Guthrie

  • I mean, to be fair, the GOP definitely does support the decriminalization of white collar crime through aggressive deregulation…

  • Baby_Raptor

    Well, in that case, abortion isn’t murder. I’ll be taking my rights back now, kthxbai.

  • Michael Pullmann

    There is Medicare fraud, of course, but it’s usually committed by corporations, not individuals.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    One of the big themes in the current Republican ideology is the idea that those people – the 47 percent, the blahs, the moochers and takers and illegals — are criminal.
    Never heard of “the blahs” before, and “the illegals” are from how high Anglo passions are running about immigration in the border states, but “moochers and takers” are a direct chapter-and-verse quote from Ayn Rand. Specifically Objectivist terms.

  • Aaron Mason

    We all know marijuana is harmless, we need to stop wasting our tax dollars and police time on this stupid BULLSHlT. Of the 6000+ annual firearm deaths in America, fully 80% are directly related to marijuana prohibition. Guns don’t kill people, prohibition does.

  • Rick Santorum on the campaign trail last year said “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.” He then later claimed that he didn’t say “black people” but rather “blah people”.

  • Random_Lurker

    And he still has a career?

    American politics are incredible. Literally, they are not credible. I really hope all this is the dying breath of the segregation generation (and perhaps their children) and burns out soon.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Of course he still has a career. According to the people who would vote for Frothy Mix, he wouldn’t have said anything wrong if he’d have owned up to saying “black people.” So do you think they really care? the dog whistle went through loud and clear.

  • Alix

    I know one family that actually is guilty of Medicare and SSI fraud.

    Of course, the reason they try to squeeze out more money than they’re entitled to is that they’re desperate, and what the government says they’re entitled to isn’t enough to support them, and none of the three people in that house are physically capable of holding a normal job (and they’d lose a portion of their benefits if they did).

    I’d bet you anything that most of the few individuals who do commit or attempt to commit welfare fraud are in the exact same boat.

  • I’d be very intrigued to see your source for that statistic.

  • The_L1985

    Indeed. It’s much easier to survive with a job than on welfare. Who would want to commit a crime for so pitifully little return?

  • Aaron Mason

    w w w DOT leap DOT cc

  • “The blahs” was a Rick Santorum moment where he said “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money,” then tried to pass it off later as “I didn’t say black people, I said ‘blah’ people.”

    It’s a good thing to keep in mind when he runs for president in 2016.

  • *Grumbles* Disqus e-mail notifications are lagging. You beat’ed me to saying this.

  • Fred wrote about Santorum’s notable silence on Gingrich blabbering about welfare, and has compiled links to Republicans being…well, Republicans.

  • Mitt Romney scoffed at the idea of 47% of the population thinking they deserved food. Rand Paul wanted to cut all forms of welfare by 90%. Dave Hagstrom told his constituents that they needed to get used to the idea of working three jobs and still not making it, and being prepare to die young and miserable with the rest of their family and loved ones — and learn to like it.

    Republicans are the party of “Fuck you, I got mine.” And they still get votes anyway.

  • He not only has a career, he’s the most likely nominee in 2016. (He was the runner-up in the primary last year. Unless he quits the party like Buchanan did in 2000, the nomination is his – that’s the modern GOP pattern.)

  • I had a look around the site but couldn’t find that stat. Do you have a more specific URL?

  • MaryKaye

    Wikipedia, citing the CDC:

    In 2010, there were 19,392 firearm-related suicide deaths, and 11,078 firearm-related homicide deaths in the United States.

    This can’t be reconciled with the numbers above: it has 30K rather than 6K deaths, with 2/3 from suicide. Even if we exclude suicide it’s 11K rather than 6K.

    I find the claim that 80% of firearms deaths (even excluding suicide) could be due to MJ prohibition implausible. In parts of the US I am familiar with, cocaine and meth generate a lot more violence than MJ.

    It will be interesting to see what legalization in Washington State accomplishes. Maybe not much, if we just become a net (illegal) exporter of MJ. I voted for legalization but frankly I’m not fond of the state-by-state approach; I’d like to see it nationwide all at once.

  • FearlessSon

    Speaking of, has everyone seen what the Seattle Police Department have been doing, vis-a-vis the MJ legalization? Namely, handing out free munchies at Helpfest, with little stickers reminding them of the important details of the law.

  • smrnda

    That’s the type of lie that a privileged, rich white guy can make because nobody will call him out on it.

  • *Hempfest XD

    That was so awesome. Free Doritos. Though of course there are people complaining about it.

  • Every time I look over the pass, Seattle is doing something even more awesome.

  • Jenny Islander

    While I can’t find support for that statistic, I do recall that in the year or so after marijuana possession was officially made illegal in Alaska, nearly every news report of a marijuana-related arrest listed the firearms seized. I don’t recall that happening back when nobody blinked if you kept a pot plant on the balcony for your housecat to chew on.

    It’s Prohibition all over again, just less obvious because marijuana use isn’t as widespread as drinking.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    I was doing research into how so many 20-somethings in my area (Glendale, mentioned in the article) can afford 7 series, Land Rovers, and S-classes. It’s bad enough when a jerkwad 20-something guy cuts you off, but it’s worse when it’s in a car four times the value of yours. Glendale has some very nice houses in the mountains, but it’s no Beverly Hills, and it’s well known for crazy young drivers in very expensive cars driving like they don’t care what happens to them.

    Unfortunately, my research didn’t get very far because most of the search results were all tied into some pretty hefty racism against Armenians, who are the predominant racial demographic in the area. The linked articles were the best I could find in terms of sourced reports. The answer I eventually had to settle for was just “various types of fraud,” including Medicare, credit card, and insurance fraud.

    ETA: I realized after posting that I didn’t really get my point across. Medicare fraud does happen and it can be very costly, but the solution to that is effective crimefighting, not punishing all of the other law-abiding citizens who use it.

  • Carstonio

    It’s not that McClintock really believes that Wall Street can’t have criminal practices because they don’t use guns. It’s that he believes Wall Street can’t have criminal practices because they’re wealthy white men in suits.

    The same thought occurred to me before I reached that paragraph.

    Or maybe just because they’re his biggest donors.

    That hadn’t occurred to me. While many longtime officeholders gradually lose whatever principles they might have held, I suspect that McClintock’s positions on crime have always resembled the double standard that he espouses.

  • AnonaMiss

    Oh god I hope Santorum is the 2016 nominee. The Colbert Report’s inevitable ads for santorum [sic] would make it worth it.

  • Carstonio

    At the time, I wondered if he started to say “black,” forgetting to use a euphemism instead, and then caught himself a moment too late. Like Zira in “Escape from the Planet of the Apes” mentioning her dissection of humans.

  • He DID almost say the N word in one speech and JUST caught himself in time. I saw him do that when someone Youtubed it. He was just rocking and rolling and then just as he was about to belt out that big ol’ N word he visibly halted, stuttered, and went on in a milder voice.

  • It’s obvious that’s what he had been saying. Whether it was a Freudian slip or that he’d just forgotten his message would be heard by more than just people like himself (which as we saw with Mitt Romney does wonders to loosen one’s tongue) is debatable, given he later insisted “No one heard me say ‘black’,” as if he could rewrite time if he just insisted on it enough.

  • Yup.

    “The anti-war government nig–uh, America was…”

  • Carstonio

    Wow, I had forgotten about that.

  • To add on to this: Rick Santorum scoffed at the idea that people should be educated.

    Let that sink in awhile.

    And then there’s this:

  • SkyknightXi

    Well, to hear the Republican archons tell it, people who do it not for (just) the money, but also because they delight in the sheer spite of it. Still we have many people who think criminals are first and foremost cruelty elementals along the lines of Angra Mainyu.

  • SkyknightXi

    Wait a minute…He thought people SHOULDN’T be educated as a matter of course? What was he arguing as preferable to intellect?! He knows humans generally aren’t golemim or automatons, right? RIGHT?

  • I understand why Barack Obama wants to send every kid to college, because of their indoctrination mills, absolutely. … The indoctrination that is going on at the university level is a harm to our country.

    Not all folks are gifted in the same way. Some people have incredible gifts with their hands…there are good decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor trying to indoctrinate them. Oh, I understand why he wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image. I want to create jobs so people can remake their children into their image, not his.

    President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob.

  • SkyknightXi

    …Wouldn’t snobbishness try to evoke SOME sort of classism (e.g. peasants have no right to even desire to ascend above their current situation)? Obama’s comment sounds more egalitarian than anything else, pretty much the antonym of “snobbish”.

    Although I wonder what Santorum would make of children who don’t want to be mimics of their parents OR Obama.

  • Oh, those are probably just homosexual rebels against God’s natural order.
    Really, I can only imagine. I just want to point out that Santorum thinks the Republican party, as a whole, is full of liberals who aren’t willing enough to do the right thing let their religious and conservative values be their conscience.