On Wednesday the U.S. House of Representatives voted 398-1 to remove the word “lunatic” from federal law. Mental health advocacy organizations lobbied for the change, saying that the word is outdated and demeaning to people who suffer from mental illnesses. The Senate had voted unanimously last spring to remove references to the word in federal law.
Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas cast the only vote to keep the word in law. Gohmert said he has no problem with the word and, in fact, thinks it accurately describes “people who want to continue with business as usual in Washington” instead of “saving our country from bankruptcy.”
Gohmert has become known for his outrageous comments in Congress. You might recall, for example, that he think foreign terrorists are breeding babies on U.S. soil so that those children will be able to launch attacks on America from within when they’re older. He has also claimed — including in this stunning rant on Capitol Hill last summer — that radical Muslims are running amok in the Obama administration.
Gohmert’s support for democracy is so tenuous that in 2010, upset over the Senate’s passage of health care reform, he advocated for repealing the 17th Amendment, which requires the direct election of senators. He has also suggested that legislation dealing with hate crimes would protect people engaged in sex with animals, corpses and children.