Some crazy shit went down after the State of the Union, and we’re not talking about Michael Grimm. Rachel Maddow asks Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp to elaborate on the tweets he sent during the speech, and he quickly accelerates from grumpy to bonkers. Say hello to your new anger-bear star, America!
Huelskamp had tweeted that Obama “politicized” the military by praising Army Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg, then went on teevee to explain that, in calling for an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama “ran against the military.” Because obviously, if you love America, you will keep wars going forever. Once they got to the topic of Benghazi, Huelskamp melted down and told Maddow,
“We need answers about a lot of things. This administration promised to be the most transparent in history, Rachel, and if you would stop being a cheerleader and not a journalist, maybe we would get the answers.”
We especially like the way Huelskamp sort of lunges toward the camera when he wants to emphasize a point.
Maddow did bait Huelskamp a little bit about his Benghazi tweet, asking if his sarcastic “Was there a diplomat in Benghazi that gave his life for his country Mr. President?” was meant to imply that Ambassador Christopher Stevens somehow hadn’t given his life for his country. Come on, Rachel, that was cheesy. A far better question would have been to ask why Benghazi was the first thing that came to mind while Obama was praising Sgt. Remsburg’s courage and sacrifices. In any case, the point was quickly left behind in Huelskamp’s meltdown.
Also fun: Maddow trying to get Huelskamp to explain how exactly executive orders, a routine part of presidential power, are “lawless”:
Maddow: Are you making the case that this president is acting in an unlawful manner by proposing the things he proposed in his State of the Union address?
Huelskamp (with finger-stabbing): The President acted in numerous unlawful manners, particularly in his willingness to suspend parts of Obamacare … I think that’s lawlessness, I don’t think he has that authority. I do not think he had the authority to make recess appointments; I think the Court’s going to agree with me … [ed. note: neither of those were in the SOTU, but whatevs, gotta get the talking point in there.]
Maddow: Sir, I’m just trying to focus on the case that you’re making, which is that his speech…
Huelskamp: A speech makes no law! The President makes good speeches…
Maddow (quoting Huelskamp’s tweet): … “reads like dictates from a King. [hashtag]LawLess”; What did he say in the speech that was lawless tonight?
Huelskamp: …Fourteen different points where the President said, ‘I don’t like the American people, who they elected…’ That’s what the President was saying! He said, ‘I don’t like Congress! I don’t like the American people that sent these people up here, and so he listed fourteen different dictates, executive orders…
Maddow: Dictates? Are executive orders lawless?
Huelskamp: An executive action without authority is lawlessness.
Maddow: Executive orders by presidents are lawless?
Huelskamp: If there is no authority! …
Maddow: (helpless laughter) We’re in a circle. If there’s no authority, it has no authority … Congressman Huelskamp, your tweet stream tonight and and your arguments here…
Huelskamp: Enjoy ’em!
Maddow: …are from two totally different universes.
Huelskamp closed by accusing Obama of having caused poverty and then “preach[ing] about income inequality that he created!” Maddow said that while she’s enjoyed seeing Huelskamp on TV with other reporters, she found him “spectacularly disingenuous” but hoped they could continue the conversation on her show.
Best TV of the night.