Our Fearless Leaders

The Week in Wingnuts

// Bulletproof vests in town meetings, comparing gays to alcoholics and other examples of off-message politicos.

Guillermo Legaria/AFP/Getty

Michigan: Agema Ain't Going Away

We wrote about Michigan Republican National Committeeman David Agema a couple of weeks ago after the former state representative shared an article on his Facebook feed about the "filthy lifestyle" of homosexuals. This week he doubled down on his comments, telling a local radio station that he wants to help homosexuals out of their “lifestyle” because "the next thing that will occur is your kids will come home and say, 'I think this is a good thing and I think I want to be one.'" But it was the way he closed the interview that made headlines, when he compared gays with alcoholics: "If you really love someone, if you really were concerned about someone, if you saw your friend, for example, dying of alcoholism, would you just stand quietly by and watch it happen?"

North Carolina: Is That a Trick Question?

North Carolina State Representative Michele Presnell, a Republican, was caught out this week after an email exchange with one of her constituents was made public. In it, the constituent asks Presnell how she would feel if a prayer was made to Allah before legislative meetings, to which she responded: "No, I do not condone terrorism." Presnell continued linking the religion of Islam to terrorism at large as the constituent continued the debate, which eventually ended with a curt response from Presnell: "No, you are wrong. Have a good day."

Kansas: Getting Out the Knives

In a 95-26 vote down party lines, the Republican-controlled Kansas legislature sent to Gov. Brownback’s desk a bill legalizing the ownership of switchblades and stilettos. The statewide ban has been in effect for more than 55 years after such items became the primary weapons used by the state’s gangs. But opponents of the ban say that mindset is outdated, and unfairly targets workers who need a knife in one hand while doing something else with the other.

Montana: I Can’t Hear You!

Democrats in Montana’s state senate made a mess this week—literally—and are now offering to pay up. During a debate on the senate floor a week earlier, Senate Republicans ignored the Democrats’ motion to halt proceedings because one of their senators was absent, and proceeded to a vote. Democrats then tried to stop the vote by drowning out the floor session with noise, yelling and banging their mugs on the table, which they damaged in the process. This week, Democrats said they would pay for the destruction they wrought.

Arizona: Don’t Shoot Him, Please

Bob Thorpe, a freshman State Republican representative, backtracked this week after a legislative lawyer warned him that the bulletproof-vest demonstration he had organized to take place at the State Capitol was “improper.” Late last week, Thorpe reportedly emailed his colleagues asking if they wanted to buy bulletproof vests for town halls and public events, and organized a fitting in the Capitol basement. But after much criticism, he eventually canceled the event, saying: "In the future, before I set something like this up I'll certainly go out and I'll talk to some folks that have been around longer than me and just make sure that I'm not doing something that might look like it was inappropriate.”

Something strange happening in your state that we missed? Shoot us an email at [email protected]