Between the Lines: You can’t make this stuff up

David Lias

David Lias

By David Lias

Sometimes, I wish I had the writing talent and warped sense of humor of Dave Barry.

I’ll admit sometimes the topics of this column are rather boring and stale, especially when they deal with political issues. But, let’s face it.

Most of the time, politics is, well, boring and stale.

And sometimes, it’s just plain weird.

Let’s end 2013 with a look at some of the oddest political moments of this past year, as reported by NBC News, in the words of the men and women who brought them to you.


‘I knew that by putting something out as a tweet that I deleted that the press would see it, and if they could read something into what was an innocent tweet about how hot Cyndi Lauper was as a performer, that it would get the press’s attention, and it did in a monster way.’ – Rep. Steve Cohen, D-TN, April 12.


Cohen had a tumultuous year. He was the center of a Twitter scandal in February after sending eyebrow-raising tweets to an attractive young model, only to reveal that he believed the woman was his biological daughter. (Paternity tests later proved otherwise.) Cohen’s hastily-deleted tweets to “Time After Time” crooner Cyndi Lauper similarly sent reporters looking for answers. Cohen said that’s exactly what he intended, insisting that this “tweet and delete” ploy was the most effective way to promote an upcoming documentary about Memphis music.


‘I will eat them anywhere. I do so like green eggs and ham. Thank you, thank you, Sam I Am!’ – Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX. Sept. 24.


Texas Senator Ted Cruz reads two bedtime stories to his daughters at home and likens Obamacare to “Green Eggs and Ham.”

Cruz needed a lot of material to fill his famed 21-hour speech against Obamacare. In addition to a Darth Vader impression and some praise for White Castle hamburgers, Cruz read from the children’s classic “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss. He said he was reading the story his young daughters, but amateur Seussologists were quick to point out that the message of the children’s tale is to try new things before declaring one’s dislike for them.


‘The most shocking part of the story was learning that there is a vegan strip club in Portland.’ – Cory Booker spokesman Kevin Griffis, Sept. 25.


It’s no secret that former Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker really enjoys Twitter. But his compliment-swapping with a 26-year-old stripper (with a very NSFW Twitter profile) earned him the attention of the national media. The svelte employee of Portland’s “Casa Diablo” club – which does, in fact, exclusively serve vegan food – admitted in interviews that she had a “slight crush” on the ambitious politician but said she initiated the G-rated contact. His campaign’s tongue-in-check response helped mitigate the damage, and Booker was elected to the U.S. Senate in November.


‘We’re glad Poland Spring was close at hand for Sen. Rubio last night at his moment of need for refreshment.’ – Poland Spring statement, Feb. 13.


It wasn’t what Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, said during his response to the president’s State of the Union that got him in, er, hot water. It was his poorly-timed lunge for a bottle of water off-screen in the middle of an otherwise eloquent speech about conservative values. The Poland Spring company, delighted at the “cameo,” joined in the fun.


‘I know that this has been some of the conventional wisdom that’s been floating around Washington that somehow, even though most people agree that I’m being reasonable, that most people agree I’m presenting a fair deal, the fact that they don’t take it means that I should somehow, you know, do a Jedi mind meld with these folks and convince them to do what’s right.’ – President Barack Obama, March 1.


For a president often popularly compared to Spock, Obama really doesn’t have his sci-fi facts straight. Even folks who are far from fluent Klingon-speakers had to scratch their heads at Obama’s assertion that only some kind of “Jedi mind meld” could help change Republicans’ minds about sequestration cuts. The White House embraced the mashup of Star Trek and Star Wars, launching a web site that played off of Obama’s mistake, but nerds fumed.


‘It’s hard to take you seriously’ – NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, to a British reporter, Aug. 8.


“I just have a feeling I like stepped into a Monty Python bit,” Anthony Weiner said as a British journalist questioned him about his campaign to become New York City mayor. He then offered to present an impromptu weather forecast.

Anthony Weiner’s would-be redemption story turned into a can’t-tear-your-eyes-away political car crash as his bid for New York City mayor disintegrated in scandal. His campaign rallies often ended with heckling and ridicule from voters familiar with his sexual pseudonym “Carlos Danger.” Voters had a hard time taking Weiner seriously, as it turned out; he placed fifth in the Democratic primary.


‘For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds – and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.’ Rep. Steve King, R-IA, July 18.


King’s not known as a warm and fuzzy speaker, and this comment about children brought to the country illegally prompted heated condemnation from the highest levels in his party. King stood by his remarks, saying he had seen such drug mule activity during visits to the Mexican-American border. We can’t help but believe that Vermillion’s own Ben Nesselhuf, campaign manager of King’s Democratic opponent, Jim Mowrer, views Rep. King as the gift that keeps on giving.

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