You haven’t read about this in the North Dakota newspapers, or seen it on the six o’clock news, but the Internet is full of the gaffe Congressman Kevin Cramer made when he stepped on his you-know-what by quoting a Bible verse to a constituent.
It started with a note posted on Kevin’s Facebook page by Kevin Tengesdal of Bismarck after Cramer’s vote to cut Food Stamps. Tengesdal wrote:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me
Cramer (or more likely one of his staff, although he’s taking the heat himself) fired back:
2 Thessalonians 3:10 English Standard Version (ESV) 10
For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.
That was a big mistake, although in context, it didn’t seem big to Kevin—or his staff. To them, Food Stamps are bad, a government benefit being taken advantage of by slackers. That’s the Republican mindset, and so whoever put that Bible quote up there didn’t even hesitate. It’s what they believe.
Well, the shitstorm has been unbelievable. After the Northdecoder.com blog posted a page grab of the two Kevins’ comments (fortuitously, we now learn, because they have been removed from Cramer’s Facebook page) it went viral and has been on pretty much every major political blog in America. That drove hundreds of people to Cramer’s Facebook page, and the comments they have left are almost unbelievable in a civil society. A sample:
You’re an evil son a bitch.
You are an Asshole, sir.
You are a bad person
What would Jesus do? Consult your bible…again.
I hope you don’t consider yourself a Christian.
How the hell do you sleep at night?!?!?!?
What’s wrong with you?
You and the other career politicians are what’s wrong with our country- you’re all pieces of shit.
I’m just guessing here, Kevin, but you are probably not a Christian, eh?
You’re not even HUMAN, are you?
You know what I love? How all you Morons will be gone in 2014 !
I’ll piss on your grave when you pass away.
You should be ashamed of yourself. . . .
You Sir are as bad as Stalin. He too believed that if you did not work you did not eat.
You’re a miserable excuse for what used to pass as a human being.
Sir, you are a worthless waste of space
You are one sick guy!
Ignorance must be bliss, and you sir, are the epitome of ignorance.
How dare you use the Bible to starve children!!!!!
You sir sicken me with your lack of knowledge of your almighty head thumper.
Congress is only working 9 days in September. You should not eat.
You sir, are a heartless human being. Misquoting the bible for your sorry political purposes. I can’t think of anything bad enough to call you.
Shame on you, for using the word of God, to defend your vote.
You are a horrible, mean person. Mean people suck.
YOU scumbag… you need to be KICKED IN THE CROTCH and REMOVED FROM OFFICE!
You sir are a sad excuse for a human being
May God have mercy on your soul.
You, sir, are indicative of EVERYTHING that is wrong in this country today.
What “work” do you perform, you inbred cocksucker?
You are not a Christian. Jesus would send you to the depths of the pit of Hell.
You are absolute filth.
You, sir, are not a Christian. You are a Pharisee. Resign and go home. I’ts past your bedtime.
And on, and on, and on. It’s the most mean-spirited vitriol I’ve ever seen in politics. And every one of those comments was accompanied by the name of the person who put it on Kevin’s page, so they were not anonymous. Although it is likely most of them were not North Dakotans. North Dakotans are not generally mean—at least not that mean—in public.
Now, most people, including me, would argue that Kevin’s vote to cut food stamps was mean-spirited too. And, like I said earlier, not out of character. Either he was voting as he believes, or he was voting with the Tea Party caucus of the Republican Congress, as he has been doing all along since he got there, which would make this vote consistent with his previous voting record.
For the record, Kevin is a friend of mine. I voted for him, although I couched my vote, only half in jest, with “I think he can do less damage as one of 435 in Congress than one in three on the North Dakota Public Service Commission.” But I’ve almost always voted for him (almost, Brad, almost) because, even though I’ve worked my ass off to elect Democrats over the years, and rejoiced when we won, I generally place friendship above politics in the voting booth. It’s why I have voted for Bob Martinson for the Legislature for the past 30 years. I like to think that if I ever ran for anything (not likely) my friends who disagree with me politically would still consider voting for me.
Also for the record, I am probably not going to vote for Kevin again. Even friends have to do something to earn a vote. But I have to give him credit. It would be pretty easy for him to just erase all those comments from his Facebook page, but he hasn’t done that. I’m guessing he is thinking that by leaving them there, he is showing his supporters how vile and vitriolic those darn Democrats are when you cross them, and reinforcing his standing with his supporters. He may just have something there. That’s some pretty bad stuff people are writing. And I don’t like it. I like it even less than I like his vote.
But Kevin’s a pretty darn good politician, and I suspect he’s got pretty good polling on the Food Stamp issue. So all of us North Dakotans who disagree with Kevin on this issue are probably in the minority. We’ll see if his opponent in the next election—if one ever surfaces—can take advantage of what I think is a really bad vote. And a really stupid PR move, using a Bible quote as a knee-jerk reaction to criticism. We’ll see.