Brain Dead Talking

Brian Zick

Greg Sargent at TPM Election Central reports on GOP Rep. Don Young of Alaska on the House floor today, coming out against the anti-escalation resolution. To make his case, Young very portentously attributed the following quote to Abraham Lincoln: "Congressmen who willfully take action during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs, and should be arrested, exiled or hanged." Of course, as many of you know already, Lincoln never said those words. The quote, which has been recycled endlessly by war supporters, has been thoroughly discredited. Given that the discrediting of this quote has been all over the internet for over six months, we have to ask: Did Rep. Young know that the quote was bogus, but recycle it anyway? We'll never know. He certainly seemed to think what he was saying was very profound. Atrios posts another "quote by Abraham Lincoln": "Don Young is the third stupidest fucking guy on the face of the planet." -A. Lincoln, Gettysburg Address The fact is, Young has a history of displaying his limited capacity for intelligent brain function. Ken Silverstein back in 1995 wrote an article for The Progressive identifying the "ten most dimwitted members of Congress" at the time. (The date indicates when Young was first elected.) No. 9 - Representative Don Young - Alaska (1973) The new head of the House Resources Committee, Young is best known for his rabid attacks on ecologists. Animal-rights advocate Mary Tyler Moore once read a poem about the cruelty of steel-jaw leg-hold traps before the Merchant Marine subcommittee, where Young previously served. Accompanying Moore was Cleveland Amory, who periodically inserted a pencil in a trap, causing it to snap shut. The moment was highly charged and Young, as a hunter and trapper, realized dramatic action was required to turn the tide. His solution was to place his hand into a trap he had brought along to the hearing, and then begin to calmly question a witness as though nothing unusual had happened. "I never told anyone, but it hurt like hell," Young later confided to a Congressional staffer.

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