Top 10 Most Embarrassing Moments in Texas Politics

2013: The year Texas sent in the clowns

California may have the Groundlings, but Texas has no shortage of improv talent. Give Lone Star politicians any topic and they are sure to mine comedy gold.

Photo by John Anderson

1) DOING THE DEW: PART I With Texas' political landscape cluttered with enough "gates" to wrap around the Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club, a mere scandal barely raises an eyebrow. But when it was time for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to have a go, he had a whole state pinching their noses. In the middle of the frenzied summer abortion rights fight, the Lite Guv verified the DPS' outrageous claim that they found "18 jars suspected to contain feces" on pro-choice protestors. Although the Dew was never noticed outside of the Senate chambers when the shit hit the fan, he told Waco Tea Party President Toby Marie Walker that he had seen the offending jars with his very own eyes. Months later, no evidence has emerged that there was proof in the pudding.

2) SPECIAL DICTUMS UNIT Texas Rep. Jodie Laubenberg crafts legislation the way Shia LaBeouf crafts apologies, "borrowing" bits and pieces from legislation mills without stopping to understand content. She also has apparently never seen an episode of Law and Order: SVU. Refusing to consider Senfronia Thompson's amendment adding rape and incest exceptions to the House abortion bill, Laubenberg assured the longtime rep that there was no cause for concern. "In an emergency room, they have what's called a rape kit where a woman can get cleaned out," Laubenberg huffed, confusing the evidence collection tool with a magic wand.

3) GRUMPY OLD MAN U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer has devoted his life to studying babies – just ask former Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak. So devoted is he to neonatology that this year he decided to try the immersion technique. In the middle of the government shutdown circus, the Neuge threw a tantrum about a park ranger limiting access to the Washington World War II Memorial to World War II vets. "The Park Service should be ashamed of themselves," sniveled Neugebauer. Looks like someone needed his woobie.

4) ABORT! ABORT! In a state where the word "jackass" is said with more bonhomie than rancor, it's not a huge surprise that Steve Stockman holds a congressional seat. But his early re-election campaign still had more than a few eyes rolling. In April, Stockman debuted a new bumper sticker that mused, "If babies had guns they wouldn't be aborted." It was the latest in a long line of incendiary 2013 tweets, including a Mother's Day AR-15 gun giveaway and a side-by-side comparison of abortion and slavery. Nevertheless, he still has some admirers in Tea Party circles. With ethics complaints brewing, our only hope is that he won't be carried to term.

5) GLOSSOLALIA Were circumstances different, U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert might have made a fine Dadaist. Very little of what the congressman says seems to make sense. While no one really knows how to grow nuts from acorns or how to properly cast aspersions on asparagus, we're pretty sure his opposition to immigration reform comes from a dark place. In August, Gohmert told the Longview Chamber of Commerce that radical Islamists are changing their names to something more "Hispanic-sounding" in an effort to trick border patrol. He, however, failed to condemn the widespread "totem pole trench coat" scam.

6) DOING THE DEW: PART II Dewhurst followed up his abortion debate performance with a personal touch. On August 3, Dew's niece Ellen Bevers, aka "the sweetest woman in the world," was popped for shoplifting. That didn't sit well with the lieutenant governor, who tried to use his clout to stage a jailbreak. He phoned in to the Collin County Sheriff's Office to remind a hapless sergeant that he was "the number one pick of all the law enforcement agencies in Texas." When the sergeant suggested Dew call the jail, Dewhurst protested, "Whoa, what in the world do you expect me to say to them?" Maybe he could start with an apology.

7) HELMS DEEP This was a breakout year for Sen. Ted Cruz, but that doesn't mean he accentuated the positive. In September, Cruz gave a speech at a Heritage Foundation event extolling the virtues of race-baiting, apartheid-loving, no-homo Sen. Jesse Helms. "We should speak about moral clarity," the senator opined," before declaring, "We need 100 more like Jesse Helms." Presumably that moral clarity excuses rants about "Negro hoodlums."

8) ANTI-SOCIAL MEDIA In 2013, Attorney General Greg Abbott may have been longing for the cozy social media climate of Pinterest. Twitter certainly proved to be a poor fit. In August, the presumed heir apparent to Gov. Rick Perry took flack for thanking Denton attorney Jeff Rutledge after the latter called Sen. Wendy Davis a "retard barbie." Then, Abbott crony Dave Carney retweeted an article titled "Total Recall in CO (and why Wendy Davis is too Stupid to be Governor)." Good thing Twitter has that 140 character limit. With more space, Abbott might have really landed in hot water.

9) PATRIOT GAMES Meanwhile, a former Abbott staffer was eliciting his own howls. Lorenzo V. Garcia, chairman of the Young Conservatives of Texas, enraged just about everyone by attempting to stage an "illegal immigrant hunt" as a way to "spark a campus-wide discussion." A discussion did ensue, marked by the heavy use of middle fingers, before the whole shebang was called off.

10) FACE THE MUSIC Those who declared Rebecca Black's "Friday" the "worst song ever" might have jumped the gun. In May, Houston Republican mega-donor Steve Hotze made his own bid for the top of the pops. With auto-tuned vocals and tin can beats, Hotze attempted to add some sizzle to the Obamacare debate. We just hope he doesn't live for the applause.

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News, David Dewhurst, poopgate, Unruly Mob, Randy Neugebauer, Bart Stupak, Jodie Laubenberg, HB 2, Steve Stockman, Louie Gohmert, Ellen Bevers, Ted Cruz, Greg Abbott, Jesse Helms, Heritage Foundation, Wendy Davis, Greg Abbott, Dave Carney, Jeff Rutledge, Young Conservatives of Texas

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