Wednesday, December 14, 2016

#1761: Tim Huelskamp

More fish in a barrel, but we've got little choice. Tim Huelskamp was the U.S. Representative for Kansas’s 1st congressional district from 2011 to 2016 (when he was defeated in the primaries), representing the Tea Party – the kind whom The House Republican Steering Committee eventually had to remove from both the Budget Committee and the Agriculture Committee, officially citing his “inability to work with other members” (the unofficial appraisal from colleagues was that he was a “jerk”). Huelskamp is of course an anti-gay loon and climate change denialist, so we couldn’t really afford to overlook him either if we wish to aim for comprehensiveness.

As for climate change Huelskamp has said that it is not “settled science” (offering, by contrast, that “that life begins at conception, that’s settled science,” which is false in any sense that is remotely relevant to the abortion debate) and claiming that “I don’t think there’s a scientific consensus on that.” Huelskamp promptly voted against any effort or piece of legislature targeted at remedying or preventing the negative effects of climate change, however. Of course, there is scientific consensus on that, regardless of what Huelskamp might think, and the interesting thing is that even if there weren’t, from any decision theoretic standpoint that is remotely rational, even the chance of climate change occurring should lead one to support such measures given the potentially disastrous consequences. When offered the fact that science does, indeed, show that burning fossil fuels creates greenhouse gases that are causing the planet to heat up, Huelskamp responded with “No, that’s global warming.” So that settles that, then.

As you might have expected, Huelskamp has a decent anti-gay activism track record. After the Supreme Court declared DOMA unconstitutional, Huelskamp immedialy suggested introducing a constitutional amendment to restore it, lamented the judges’ attack on Jesus (“the idea that Jesus Christ himself was degrading and demeaning is what they’ve come down to”) and said that he “can’t even stand to read the decisions because I don’t even think they’d pass law school with decisions like that.” It’s probably a fair bet that if you, who are not a legal scholar, disagree with the Supreme Court majority and think their arguments would have failed them in law school, then you are the one who would have failed law school. He has also requested “real men” (not women or gay men, who are not really men) to stand up against gay marriage for the women and children who are unable to defend themselves. Gay marriage will apparently harm children, the economy and society (e.g. because it will “discourage family formation;” he didn’t specify the mechanism). And he claims to have the support of the American people in his fight against gay marriage: “Eighty-five percent of Americans say, ‘We support traditional marriage,’” said Huelskamp, lamenting that the Obama administration still doesn’t listen. Well, his numbers are a bit out of date – or perhaps he is employing the same skills with numbers that led him to deny scientific consensus on climate change. Huelskamp has also appeared in insane conspiracy theory documentaries about gay rights.

There’s a fine resource on Huelskamp here.

Diagnosis: Though he didn’t quite achieve it, Huelskamp got pretty close to vying with Steve King and Louie Gohmert over being both the most insane and the most inane member of Congress. Which is quite a feat.

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