2. Representative Donald Young (R-AK) The scene: Fairbanks, Alaska, 1994. Congressman Don Young, already in office for 20 years, is on the stump preaching the virtues of Newt Gingrich’s Republican revolution to a group of high school students. Just look at all the wasteful things the federal government does with taxpayers’ money, he tells them. The National Endowment for the Arts, for example, funds art involving “people doing offensive things … things that are absolutely ridiculous.” One student asks, “Like what?”
“Buttfucking,” replies the great scourge of obscenity and instructor of youth.
Young’s performance remains a classic in the annals of congressional idiocy, offering that rare, supremely unselfconscious moment in which one of our nation’s legislative solons lets his addled mind graze freely. But the real irony of this legendary gaffe is that the congressman lecturing on government waste was the very same man who, years later, would be responsible for Alaska’s fabled “Bridge to Nowhere,” a $233 million project constructed entirely of pork. And it’s the same man who, when asked about his state’s outrageous $941 million transportation bill, boasted “I stuffed it like a turkey,” before adding that detractors of the bridge—equal in length to the Golden Gate but connecting to a town with a population of 50—could “kiss my ear.”