The Ten Republicans Who Shut Down the Government

Over on the New Yorker's website, Ryan Lizza identifies a "suicide caucus" consisting of eighty right-wing Republican representatives whose hard-line position on Obamacare and the budget has given us the government shutdown. But what about the suicide caucus' suicide caucus?

We've picked out ten Republicans whose deep-seated orthodoxy, hardcore conservatism, and general idiocy mark them as the craziest of the crazy. National Review's Robert Costa says "there are 30 to 40 true hardliners," and "another group of maybe 50 to 60 members who are very much pressured by the hardliners." These guys are the hardliners of the hardliners. Unsurprisingly, we've run into many of them before.

Steve King

Represents: Iowa's fourth district
Percentage of home district that voted for Obama: 45.3
You may remember him because: he once asked elementary schoolers where they stood "on the abortion issue."

King (not to be confused with the temporarily more reasonable, if nevertheless still bigoted, Peter King from New York) is so opposed to Obamacare that he’s one of nine House Republicans who voted against the most recent House continuing resolution—which would have delayed Obamacare for a year—because the resolution didn’t do enough to destroy the health care law. What makes him so sure such an extreme tactic would work? "Because we’re right, simply because we’re right," King told the New York Times. "We can recover from a political squabble, but we can never recover from Obamacare."


Steve Stockman

Represents: Texas' 36th district
Percentage of home district that voted for Obama: 25.7
You may remember him because: he once advocated arming fetuses.

Stockman, a formerly homeless former accountant, spent two wondrous years in congress in the 1990s, hawking conspiracy theories about the FBI's raid in Waco, Texas. On his return to congress earlier this year, Stockman promptly became one of only ten Republicans to not vote for John Boehner as Speaker of the House. He thinks even less of President Obama, whom he called, in a tweet, "President Stompy Feet." "The president’s promise to shut down the government is childish and disrespectful," Stockman wrote in a press release. "Instead of holding his breath and stamping his feet he needs to act like an adult, listen to Americans and agree that ObamaCare won’t work."


Mike Rogers

Represents: Alabama's third distrct
Percentage of home district that voted for Obama: 36.8

Rogers, a lawyer, joins King as one of the ten Republicans who voted against Boehner's continuing resolution from the right. “This past week, the House of Representatives voted to defund Obamacare while still providing funding for the Federal government. Alabamians have said over and over they do not want Obamacare. People here at home are already feeling its disastrous effects. Now it’s up to the Senate to protect Americans from this ‘train wreck’,” Rogers said after the gathering. “I remain hopeful House and Senate leaders will reach a responsible compromise to avoid a government shutdown.”


Michele Bachmann

Represents: Minnesota's sixth district
Percentage of home district that voted for Obama: 41.5
You may remember her because: Oh, who can choose?

The obviously insane Michele Bachmann voted against the latest House-approved CR, because the one-year delay of Obamacare wasn’t enough for her. Bachmann also said the Affordable Care Act was President Obama’s attempt to “get Americans addicted to the crack cocaine of dependency of more government health care… All they want to do is buy love from people by giving them massive government subsidies.” Of course, Bachman, who voted most recently against a measure that would fund the federal government, is upset that the federal government isn’t funded, or at least the important parts, like memorials. “The last thing we should see in America is a barricade for World War II veterans to be prevented from coming to their memorial," Bachmann said.


Phil Gingrey

Represents: Georgia's 11th district
Percentage of home district that voted for Obama: 31.5
You may remember him because: Gingrey once complained that he's "stuck here [in Congress] making $172,000" while his aides can go make $500,000 as lobbyists.

Gingrey, a trained obstetrician, proved he doesn't know much about women's bodies when he said Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comments were "partially right." He also doesn't know much about the economy—he won't vote in favor of a budget unless it completely eliminates Obamacare. Meanwhile, he's grandly announced that he's opting out of the federal health care provided under Obamacare and "seeking alternatives"—including, a spokeswoman says, medicare.


Tom Massie

Represents: Kentucky's fourth district
Percentage of home district that voted for Obama: 34.8
You may remember him because: He's Kentucky's next Rand Paul!

A freshman congressman and MIT graduate, Massie is unconcerned about voter backlash to the shutdown. In fact, Massie would welcome a return to his life as a private citizen: "The last thing I fear is going back and leading that same life," Massie said in an interview with Bloomberg. He's also pretty sure the shutdown isn't a "big deal": "I have a lot of IRS employees in my district and I spoke with them. They told me ‘look we’ve been through these shutdowns before. It’s not a big deal. We go home. We come back a few days or a week later, and we still get paid.'"


Louie Gohmert

Represents: Texas' first district
Percentage of home district that voted for Obama: 27.5
You may remember him because: he suggested that Obama wanted a clean debt ceiling increase so the president could celebrate his birthday.

Gohmert, maybe the stupidest person in congress, seems to have no real understanding of how a government shutdown works. "We've got park service employees out here," said Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, before the gates were opened. "Why wouldn't you have them here to allow the veterans in, instead of stand and keep them from coming in?"


Mark Meadows

Represents: North Carolina's 11th district
Percentage of home district that voted for Obama: 37.8
You may remember him because: this mess is his fault in the first place.

Meadows, the "architect" of the shutdown, is receiving the most credit for convincing Boehner to adopt his current tactics last month after he sent a letter signed by himself and 79 other House Republicans to the speaker: "James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 58 that the 'power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon … for obtaining a redress of every grievance…' We look forward to collaborating to defund one of the largest grievances in our time and to restore patient-centered healthcare in America."


John Fleming

Represents: Louisiana's fourth district
Percentage of home district that voted for Obama: 39.7
You may remember him because: he claimed to spend $200,000 a year on food.

Fleming, who was once fooled by an Onion article and says Obamacare is "the most dangerous piece of legislation ever passed in Congress" is looking ahead from the shutdown to the coming showdown over the debt ceiling, during which, he says, Republicans should ignore economists. "Economists, what have they been doing?" he asked of the Times, presumably rhetorically. "They make all sorts of predictions."


Paul Broun

Represents: Georgia's 10th district
Percentage of home district that voted for Obama: 36.3
You may remember him because: he laughed when a town hall questioner asked "who's going to shoot Obama?"

Broun—many of whose constituents would have preferred "Albus Dumbledore," "Voldemort," or "a burning bag of dog shit"—has a lot of experience sitting around and tweeting instead of performing even the most basic ceremonial functions of his job. And yet! "It's time for [President Obama] to get off his behind and lead," he told Newsmax today. (He also called Obamacare "the flaw of the land," which. Terrific.)