Rep. Steve Stockman and the Attack of the Imaginary Robots

Cardboard robot costume
Louie Gohmert has been getting a run for his money recently. In the realm of stupid statements and clumsy demagoguery, Gohmert was once the undisputed king. Sure, Michele Bachmann mounted an impressive challenge, but when it comes to being congress's most clownish member, Louie always managed to stay one step ahead of Shelly. After being very nearly defeated in her last reelection bid, Bachmann's been kind of quiet lately, leaving Gohmert the crown of Top House GOP Buffoon.

But a new threat to Rep. Gohmert's dominance is rising. From his own Texas, another crazy/stupid Republican with a penchant for headline-grabbing is coming to America's attention. Steve Stockman clearly wants to be the Rep. who most sounds like any unhinged rightwing talk radio host -- and that might just unseat Gohmert from the jester's throne.

After all, it was Stockman who suggested the completely unconstitutional -- not to mention politically impossible -- idea of impeaching President Obama for advocating gun regulation. Granted, I've always argued that the term "high crimes and misdemeanors" was so broad it could mean almost anything congress wants it to mean, but there has to be something illegal to impeach over. You don't just kick a president out because you disagree with him.

And, of course, it was Stockman who invited celebrity rabies patient Ted Nugent to the State of the Union, actually hurting his cause by creating a side show that only made anti-regulation people look like gun nuts and distracted from other advocates who likely had much better arguments than Nugent's gratuitous strings of insults.

Now Stockman has reached a new low by accusing the president of lying about support for his gun regulation push. And his argument is both ridiculously stupid and transparently dishonest.

[The Hill:]

A Texas Republican on Monday said President Obama's gun control campaign is a fraud based on fake messages over Twitter.

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) accused Obama of trying to make support for his position look stronger than it really is by flooding Twitter with messages from people who don't exist.

"Obama's anti-gun campaign is a fraud," Stockman said. "Obama's supporters are panicking and willing to do anything to create the appearance of popular support, even if it means trying to defraud Congress," he added. "I call upon the president to denounce this phony spam campaign."

Stockman said that in response to Obama's call for people to tweet their congressman in support of gun control legislation, he received just 16 tweets. But he said all of these messages were identical, and that a closer look at them revealed that only six were from real people.

He can't even keep his story straight; first, the President is flooding Twitter with a massive spam campaign, then it's a pathetic attempt resulting in only sixteen tweets to Stockman. Which is it?

But what I'm finding most idiotic hear is the assertion that messages with the same wording mean the message-senders aren't real. Here's a fun experiment you can try at home; go to the White House's gun control page, scroll down toward the bottom, click the button that reads, "Share on Twitter," then marvel as a new page magically opens, with the message "#NowIsTheTime to work together to reduce gun violence. RT if you agree. wh.gov/nowisthetime" all set to send. All you need to do is add "@SteveStockmanTX" to send it directly to him. Go ahead and click send to end the experiment.

Congrats, according to Steve Stockman, you've just turned into some kind of fake robot thing. Of course, Stockman doesn't seem to be releasing the actual wording of the robot tweets he's getting "spammed" with, meaning the press can't check his story -- which means he may not have anything at all.

But one thing I can guarantee with absolute certainty: if the White House bought Twitter accounts to launch a viral marketing campaign, they wouldn't buy just six twitter accounts to send spam ads from. In the grand scheme of things, that's nothing.

What may give Stockman the edge in his stupidity contest with Louie Gohmert may be his tremendous ego. Everything he's done so far has been a "look at me!" sort of thing. Gohmert makes up stupid reason to look at problems he wants to address (e.g., "terror babies"), but none of Stockman's stunts can accomplish anything -- other than getting his name in the papers.

Where Gohmert is dumb and clumsy, Stockman seems stupid and vain. It may be that the Dimmer Twins from the Lone Star State will have to share the crown of Congress's Biggest Boob until Steve comes up with a spectacularly idiotic stunt to knock it out of the park. It's hard to beat "terror babies," but that doesn't mean Stockman won't try.


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