4. Representative J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ) After a long tour as a Sunbelt TV sportscaster, Hayworth rode the 1994 Republican revolution into office, where he started things off by telling a group of environmental activists that untrammeled logging was a conservation measure because forests are a fire hazard. He distributed leaflets on the House floor accusing Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer of promoting “sex training for federal employees,” planning to indoctrinate them into drug use, and pushing New Age cult worship, all because of a proposal to extend health coverage for abortions under dire circumstances. And the amendment Hayworth was protesting so absurdly wasn’t Hoyer’s at all—it was actually the work of Hayworth’s fellow Republican, Rep. Ron Packard of California.
Over the years, he racked up more than $150,000 from Jack Abramoff’s clients, $64,520 in the last election cycle alone, second in the House only to Majority Leader Dennis Hastert. Alone among Congress members, though, Hayworth has refused to return any of the tainted funds, offering only this rationale: the donors don’t want the money back.
Hayworth’s dimness is so legendary on the Hill that one Arizona colleague told a reporter that he’s a textbook example of the power of gerrymandering because of his continued ability to get re-elected despite saying “any foolish thing.” Recently he put that thesis to the test, openly approving the nativist writings of the anti-Semitic auto baron Henry Ford and repeatedly mis-stating a reporter’s first and last name during an interview. Of course, Hayworth is a strong supporter of “English only” bills, proving yet again the adage that those who can’t do, legislate.
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