The 10 weirdest members of Congress

Meet the buffoons who are ruining the United States

By just about any measure, Congress is at its lowest point in history. Only 9 percent of the country has a favorable view of the 535 men and women who make up the bicameral body. One poll even revealed that they're less popular than cockroaches, traffic jams, and that ultimate barometer of public repulsion, Nickelback.

Illustrations by Tom Huck

Slideshow: See the 10 Weirdest Members of Congress in woodcut form!

Why such unhappiness? Because our legislators rarely resemble human beings. When the main job requirements are boasting, begging for money, and possessing the moral elasticity to promise anything to anyone, only narcissists and sociopaths need apply.

But within the cast of America's longest-running reality show, some manufacture a weirdness that soars above the rest. Meet the 10 members of Congress who are setting new records for creepiness and depravity.

10. Ted Cruz (R–Texas)

Protecting America's Golf Courses from an International Conspiracy

In just about any other state, Ted Cruz would be mumbling for spare change outside a Dollar General store. In Texas, he's a U.S. senator.

Cruz has been called the "intellectual voice of the Tea Party," a laurel on par with being the valedictorian of a carjacking ring. He's been known to brag that, as Texas state solicitor, he once nullified the divorce of two gay men. His biggest campaign applause line comes with the boast of how he had a man sentenced to death.

But it's Cruz's Agenda 21 conspiracy theory that sets him apart.

Agenda 21 is the kind of feel-good plan that's made the United Nations a model of ineffectiveness for nearly 70 years. It's a vaguely worded, nonbinding, 300-page resolution that reads like a fifth-grader's wish list for a better world. (Combat poverty! Prevent deforestation!)

The measure is so innocuous that known radical George H. W. Bush signed on in 1992, as did the heads of 178 other countries. Since then, it's been largely forgotten. Except by Cruz.

As he sees it, Agenda 21 is actually a conspiracy led by liberal financier George Soros to rob honest Americans of their property rights — two words sure to induce Pavlovian terror in anyone living west of the Mississippi.

Cruz claims Agenda 21 is a "globalist" plan to forcibly relocate rural Americans into urban "hobbit homes," which are too small for necessities like a still or a firing range. He also believes it will lead to the abolishment of paved roads and golf courses, threats scientifically proven to unbolt the wallets of Republican donors.

A Princeton debate champion with a law degree from Harvard, Cruz has yet to provide any evidence of the plot. Which should make him a force in the Iowa GOP primary come 2016.

Slideshow: See the 10 Weirdest Members of Congress in woodcut form!

9. Alan Grayson (D–Florida)

The Loudest of the Loudmouths

In a town full of bluster, no one blows harder than Florida congressman Alan Grayson, a Category 5 hurricane of bombast.

A trial lawyer who specialized in contractor fraud, Grayson burst onto the scene after winning election in 2008 as the loudest critic of the Iraq War. The Democrat was funny, clever, and had a way with words you might expect of someone who made his living convincing juries to give him money.

Yet as righteous as that original cause may have been, he soon earned a reputation as the biggest contributor to the partisan firefight disabling Washington, resulting in his being the only Democrat nominated for this list by members of his own party.

Of former Vice President Dick Cheney, Grayson once said: "I have trouble listening to what he says sometimes because of the blood that drips from his teeth while he's talking."

On another occasion, he noted that "scientists have studied this difficult question of why some people have a conscience and some people don't. Some people are called Democrats, and some people are called Republicans."

Grayson also referred to a female advisor to the Federal Reserve as a "K Street whore." His opponents, meanwhile, are best known as "foot-dragging, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals."

But while he may be more artful of tongue than the average politician, he shares his colleagues' gift for situational ethics when the going gets tough.

In 2010, for example, he was on the verge of losing his seat in central Florida to Republican challenger Daniel Webster. That's when the antiwar Grayson trotted out the go-to smear of tin patriots everywhere. He released a campaign commercial referring to Webster as a draft dodger who didn't love his country.

Webster, it turns out, had been rejected for military service on medical grounds during the Vietnam War. But to Grayson, this meant his opponent was practically a terrorist. He began referring to Webster as "Taliban Dan."

Grayson lost that election, and Washington got a little less breezy. But the winds resumed last fall when he won a newly drawn seat centered in Clearwater, Florida. Among his first acts was to coin a new term for Republicans: the "bath salts caucus."

Like all Grayson one-liners, it was funny, and even contained a kernel of truth. But it wasn't particularly helpful in getting members of Congress to put down their plastic swords and do something useful for the country.

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11 comments
BeenThere
BeenThere

Grayson is one of the weird because he calls crazy people "crazy?" You must have been desperate to find a Democrat to put in the same loony bin as the Repuglicans.

MasterofReality
MasterofReality

Grayson has long been a kook.  Do some research, naysayers!

Fogmaster
Fogmaster

When it comes blowing City Pages blows much harder than Grayson. Your inclusion of Grayson on this list is another example of fake opinion and news. In order to appear "objective " you go out of your way to create false equivalencies, and that insane paranoid lying versus passionate factual provocation is "partisanship". Although you folks consider yourselves challengers you are beholden to your sponsors. You share Grayson's "gift for situational ethics when the going gets tough."

BillStewart2012
BillStewart2012

Yes, Grayson's a loudmouth, and I think he's wrong on lots of issues.  

But he's also the Congresscritter who had the guts to propose the "War Makes You Poor" act, requiring the government to actually raise taxes to pay for war spending if they want to have a war.  Obviously that was a total non-starter with the Republicans, who want to have wars while pretending that they're not responsible for the cost, and it's not like the Democrats supported him either. 

mark.davis1
mark.davis1

Sorry,

I disagree with your characterization of Alan Grayson. He is a progressive champion and yes he tells it like it is. Funny how City Pages has gone down hill since Monica Bauerlein left for Mother Jones and Steve Paerry left for Minn Post. In fact all of your better journalists became a mass exodus in 2007. I sometime rely on City Pages for entertainment but often find you scooped by Vitamin. How the mighty have fallen.   

notifier
notifier

Grayson represents Kissimmee/South Orlando not Clearwater

Hey24s
Hey24s

Please do a little more research on the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Health before publishing an article like this.  

dutchs1
dutchs1

Sheila Lee demands to be met at the gate by a "motorized car." Those little pedal-powered jobs are so undignified.

Hey24s
Hey24s

They've been integral in our understanding of health, healing and disease.  These days its very common to go into any hospital or clinic and find doctors and nurses making referrals and prescribing effective uses of complementary therapy for symptom management.  Putting all complementary therapies under one umbrella as "quackery" is lazy and adheres to an old western-medicine arrogance that perpetuates misinformation.

Hey24s
Hey24s

@Hey24s and please actually read the published research rather than making one sweeping claim that it's all been discredited by the placebo effect.  Was your resource just that one guy from RealClearScience?

 
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