Look, I feel compelled to make one thing perfectly clear: Despite all evidence to the contrary, the purpose of this column is not to exclusively chronicle the ongoing foibles of Charlottesville’s U.S. Representative Virgil H. Goode (www.house.gov/goode). In fact I would like nothing better than to focus on some of the other odd goings-on ’round these political parts. (Did you know, for instance, that Attorney General Robert McDonnell has ruled that it’s perfectly fine to bring a handgun to a school board meeting? Or that Richmond’s Congressman Eric Cantor, still a bit fuzzy on Article I of the U.S. Constitution, recently told “Hardball”’s Chris Matthews that the decision to declare war on Iran should be left “to the commanders on the ground and those in our military establishment”?) But no, just like those pesky Mafioso in Godfather III, old Virgil just keeps pulling me back in.
Virginia Congressman Virgil Good can’t wrap his mind around the concept of collective monotheism—to name just one thing.
It all started with the recent Senate nondebate on President Bush’s proposed troop increase in Iraq. If you missed it, here’s a brief recap: Virginia Senator John Warner introduced a nonbinding resolution opposing the escalation, helped craft a filibuster-proof compromise resolution with senate Democrats, and then—in a moment of only-in-Washington absurdity—proceeded to vote against a “motion to proceed,” thereby killing his own resolution dead as a doornail.
Although these impressive parliamentary gymnastics probably gave the Republican senator whiplash (and certainly sprained his reputation), they also cleared the way for the House to introduce its own anti-escalation resolution, which (in an act of inspired political chutzpah) was debated for four days straight, with each and every one of the House’s 436 members given five minutes to spout off to their heart’s content.
Well, I’m sure you see where this is going. Never one to shy from the microphone, Representative Goode took the floor with a vengeance on the third day. Now, by that point in the proceedings the “rambling, inflammatory nutjob” bar had been set pretty high. (Most notably by Alaska’s Don Young, who used a made-up Abraham Lincoln quote to declare that members of Congress who voiced dissent “should be arrested, exiled or hanged.”) But Representative Goode was up to the challenge, and proceeded to let his (100 percent American) freak flag fly:
“In no way do I want to aid and assist the Islamic jihadists,” he insisted (dispelling rumors that he’s actually a very clever Al-Qaeda sleeper agent). He then proceeded to rant incoherently about radical Muslims “who want the crescent and star to wave…over the White House,” and who “would love to see ‘In God We Trust’ stricken from our money and replaced with ‘In Muhammad We Trust.’”
Um, Virgil? In case you missed the whole Danish-cartoons-incite-Muslim-rioting thing, trust me when I tell you that the last thing an Islamic-majority government would want on their money is a reference to the prophet Muhammad. Anyway, Muslims don’t worship Muhammad, they worship Allah (which is simply Arabic for “God”). In fact, I don’t want to blow your mind here or anything, but Muslims, Christians and Jews actually all worship the same God, so you might just want to…
Oh, why am I even bothering? Look—just do me a favor and take a nice, month-long vacation, O.K.? That way I can write a completely Virgil-free column for once. And that, I’m sure, would make us both very happy.