AMERICA’S DUMBEST CONGRESSMEN

TOUGH SCHMIDT Rep. Jean Schmidt leaves a stream of civilian casualties in her wake

6. Representative Jean Schmidt (R-OH) “Mean” Jean Schmidt blazed her way into congressional history last year by using her first-ever floor speech to paint Rep. John Murtha, a decorated Marine Corps vet, as a coward, provoking a chorus of jeers and calls for her expulsion (for violating a longstanding rule against personal attacks from the floor.) Adding insult to injury, the Marine to whom she’d attributed the statement denied ever making it. Eventually, the red-faced rep was forced to apologize and begged for her witless remarks to be stricken from the Congressional Record.

But crass vet-baiting seems to be a conditioned reflex for Schmidt. In last spring’s hard-fought special election campaign against Democrat Paul Hackett, an Iraq war vet, her staff publicly suggested that his combat record did not qualify him to hold office. Which is not to say she isn’t above exploiting American soldiers for her own political benefit: Witness a recent debate with her GOP primary opponents to which Schmidt arrived 40 minutes late with the explanation that she had been comforting a dead Marine’s family—and her cringe-worthy demand that the crowd then join hands in prayer.

Meanwhile, here’s a taste of how she characterizes the mindset of Iraqi civilians. “The Iraqi’s perception is that we’re all powerful,” Schmidt wrote in a recent newsletter, offering her thumbnail portrait of the noble savages. “We watch them from space with technology they cannot even imagine…. They know we can do anything.” If only.

READ MORE
• The Search to Find America’s Next White Rapper
• Walter Mosley on the Delicate Art of Writing Dirty