Republicans don't do that, do they?

Amid all the furor over Dick Durbin and Howard Dean, let's pause for a moment to salute Republican Rep. John Hostettler.

By Tim Grieve
Published June 21, 2005 9:40PM (EDT)

OK, so we know that only Democrats like Dick Durbin and Howard Dean say outrageous things, and thus -- the Congressional Record notwithstanding -- we're pretty sure that it's impossible that this actually happened. But just in case it actually happened, we'd be remiss not to note the remarks that may have been made earlier this week by Republican Rep. John Hostettler.

During a debate on the House floor over a measure that would have put the House on record as opposed to "coercive and abusive religious proselytizing" at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Hostettler said -- only he couldn't have said it, right? -- that "Democrats can't help themselves when it comes to denigrating and demonizing Christians."

Democrats in the House rose up to protest the smear, and -- after a half an hour of back-and-forth -- Hostettler retracted his remarks. But we're betting that it won't be the last time we'll hear from Rep. Hostettler. It certainly hasn't been the first. A Christianist conservative who likes to talk about the "war on Christianity in America" and threaten to withhold funding needed to enforce court decisions he doesnt like, Hostettler tried last year to get through airport security in Louisville, Ky., -- and on a plane bound for Washington, D.C., -- with a loaded Glock 9mm semi-automatic handgun in his carry-on bag.

We've heard that there are laws against such things, and it turns out that there are: Although Hostettler said that he'd simply forgotten that the gun was in his bag until airport screeners saw it on their X-ray machine, the congressman pleaded guilty to a charge of concealing a deadly weapon. He received a sentence of 60 days, but it was suspended, meaning he can stay out of jail and in the halls of Congress so long as he keeps himself clean for a couple of years.

As you chew on that, remember this: Newt Gingrich and the Republicans says that Dick Durbin is the one who has disgraced Congress, shamed the United States and put Americans' lives at danger.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

MORE FROM Tim Grieve

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Howard Dean Newt Gingrich Richard J. Durbin D-ill.