Congressman Louie Gohmert probably expected a warm and cuddly welcome when he turned up on the Fox Business Network last week. Instead, the Tea Party darling from Texas got a stern talking to from Lou Dobbs over Gohmert's efforts to block a deal on the debt ceiling.
In case you missed it, Gohmert was one of 199 other House Republicans who recently ignored party leadership and voted against a bill to raise the debt ceiling and avoid shutting down the government yet again. Gohmert clearly expected to be treated as a hero at the start of his interview with Dobbs. Dobbs however had another plan in mind.
It started out with everything as usual. Dobbs asked Gohmert why he and his crew of House Republicans chose to ignore the orders of Speaker John Boehner.
"Well it's rather sad. We've talked enough you know my motivation. My motivation is to try to protect and serve this country that we took an oath to protect and serve," Gohmert said, showing that particular political talent to start speaking and never pause for breath. "I don't know why we even call it a debt ceiling anymore if we just raise it any time we get to it."
Dobbs decided to defy the odds and stop the onslaught of words to make Gohmert go back and actually answer his question. "Before we lose our memory, if I may congressman, I really need to get to an answer here," Dobbs said. "How in the world do you expect the Republican Party to not find itself in the same strategic blind and bind that it was in last year when you shutdown the federal government?"
Dobbs then emphatically reminded Gohmert that right now the Republicans only control one branch of government. Gohmert again veered off the tracks, and Dobbs plunged back in."You surely are not unaware that you are in the majority in only ONE branch of government!" Dobbs said.
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The best part of all this is watching Dobbs repeatedly plunge in and question Gohmert's statements and actions instead of letting the East Texas congressman drone on and turn the interview into yet another opportunity for Gohmert's particular brand of political performance art. Paired with the recent backlash against Sen. Ted Cruz from Cruz's own party, it seems some of the Republicans are finally irritated enough with the Tea Party people to start pushing back against them. Dobbs dug in and had a field day.
"Congressman you know as well as I do half the bills .... are pure political theater because you know as well as I do that half of them will die in the Senate, or will not be allowed by a Democratic president," Dobbs said. "Congressman, again I repeat, you are not in control of the federal government."
Accused of shutting down the government, Gohmert insisted it totally wasn't their fault. Dobbs asked if where their courage was when they shutdown the government last fall."WE DID NOT SHUT IT DOWN," Gohmert replied.
This glorious back and forth goes on for precisely 6 minutes and 23 seconds. If you want to see a good bit of debate where Dobbs of all people calls the always entertaining and simultaneously disturbing Gohmert out on his penchant for political theater instead of real action, take a gander.