I’m sure I’m not the only one that yells at my television wishing I could reach out and throat punch one of them, but how do those around them resist the urge? Well, the answer is they don’t always resist that urge and the following are seven moments in American history when our elected officials have taken off the gloves and come to blows with one another.
1. Let’s start with an Alabama state Senator by the name of Charles Bishop… Senator Bishop started his political career as a Democrat but turned Republican along the way. One day on the Senate floor another Democrat Senator named Lowell Barron called him a “son of a bitch,” so Senator Bishop put his fist into the side of Barron’s face. This wasn’t all that long ago either… It happened in 2007. No one was charged or disciplined.
As the story goes the two kids were working on a project and stopped the Congressman on the street to ask him a few questions… The Congressman totally lost it on the kids and started manhandling one of them repeatedly asking, “who are you?”
3. OK, let’s be fair here and present to you a Republican… To be fair the Republican in the group, Michael Grimm, a Marine Corps Lance Corporal turned lawyer turned Congressman didn’t actually put his hands on anyone, but I think that’s only because the reporter he told, “I’ll break you in half” while threatening to toss him over the balcony in the Capitol Building didn’t decide to test him and tucked his tail and closed his mouth.
4. Sorry, I don’t mean to keep beating up on the Democrats but I’m just reporting on the history and they seem to be the ones with a history of violence… I guess things haven’t changed much, they just quit wearing sheets and hoods… LOL
Anyway, next in line is a former amateur boxer turned Democrat Congressman named Jim Moran… Congressman Moran represented the good people of Virginia. One day Congressman Moran lost his cool and shoved a California Republican throwing a punch at him. The Republican Congressman from California was a trained Naval Fighter Pilot named Randy Cunningham and he was able to block the fiery punch from Moran. The situation immediately fizzled and Congressman Moran apologized on the House Floor and that was the end of it…
5. OK, let’s revisit Alabama… Who doesn’t love the south? LOL A man by the name of Amos Newsom served as the city commissioner in Dothan, Alabama, and didn’t just lose his cool once, but he lost it twice before finally being arrested and charged with third-degree assault.
Newsom’s first offense was shoving a reporter on camera, (what’s not on camera these days) and the second offense was scratching that same annoying reporter bad enough to draw blood… Newsom was forced to leave politics after being arrested.
6. OK, I’m saving the best for last… This incident didn’t just involve one or two members of Congress… It involved the entire 35th Congress of the United States. That’s right, it was February 06, 1858, when South Carolina Democrat Laurence Keitt and Pennsylvania Republican Galusha Grow started slinging insults at each other which led to a flurry of fist being thrown back and forth… When their fist started flying thirty-some other members of Congress jumped in and there was an all-out brawl on the House floor.
At some point, a Democrat from Mississippi named William Barksdale lost his wig… Yeah for real, apparently he wore the equivalent of a modern-day toupe and when it was knocked off of his head he became embarrassed and stuck it back on his head in a hurry…
Apparently members of Congress were as ass-backward as they are today and he placed the toupe on his head backward… When everyone else caught sight of the Congressman with his head on backward, they all broke out laughing at him and everyone returned to their corners… I mean seats and the Congress continued its business of screwing up America. LOL
Congressman Barksdale actually went on to serve as the Commanding General of a Mississippi Brigade and was killed in action at Gettysburg.
7. At number seven I saved one of the most famous beatings in Congress for you… And probably one of the worst ass whoopings on the House floor ever… On May 20, 1856, a Massachusetts Republican named Charles Sumner gave a speech condemning slaveholders and among others specifically named a relative of Preston Brooks a Democrat from South Carolina…
Preston Brooks apparently didn’t think the Yankee Republican Charles Sumner was man enough to accept a challenge to a duel, (yeah they didn’t mess around back then… They settled things like gentlemen and shot each other. LOL) so on May 22, 1856, just after the Senate had adjourned, Preston Brooks walked up to Charles Sumner and beat the living hell out of him with his cane… He beat him so hard and so long he broke upon Sumner’s skull open and blood was everywhere.
History tells us that no one tried to intervene and when Brooks had tired of beating Sumner he just walked out without anyone trying to stop him… Congressman Preston Brooks was reelected the following year. It was tough times in Washington leading up to the Civil War…
Beatings and fights are not the only way differences were dealt with back in the days leading up to the Civil War either. On February 24, 1838, a Democrat from Maine named Jonathan Cilley and a member of the Whig Party from Kentucky named William Graves ended up in a duel using rifles as the weapon of choice.
The duel took place in Prince Georges County, Maryland just outside of Washington, D.C., and resulted in the end of Jonathan Cilley’s political career. Hard to legislate from six feet under the dirt. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is still voting Democrat though. LOL