Editor’s note: Below is the video of Rep. Louie Gohmert’s keynote speech at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 2013 West Coast Retreat. The event was held February 22nd-24th at the Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes, California. A transcript of the lecture follows.
Louie Gohmert: I feel like God puts things in our lives to help prepare us for the future. And I didn’t expect to ever be a judge. But my late mother was brilliant. She told me all through the ‘80s – this was after I’d done the four years out of the army from a scholarship at Texas A&M – but she’d say, you know, God meant for you to be a public servant, and you’d be a great judge. I went – mother, I don’t want to be a judge. I make more money than judges. I couldn’t sit and listen to most of these guys around here. They’re not very good.
You know, some are great. But oh, my.
So anyway, it was after she died in ‘91 that I started thinking about being a judge. Because my mother was so smart. But a few months after she died, I get a call from the judge of a court – I had a breach of contract lawsuit coming up in about two weeks. And the judge says – and for those of you who don’t know, it’s not appropriate to call a lawyer for one side of a lawsuit without the other being on the phone or being present. He says – that’s a mighty fine-looking woman you had in my court the other day. You think she’d go out with me? And for those of you who don’t know, that’s not appropriate.
You’re really not supposed to, as a judge, date people that are coming before you for trial.
But anyway, I told him I couldn’t help him. And then I thought – well, maybe – we obviously need a new judge. We elect our judges. I tried for six months to find somebody that would run against him, and nobody would. Because people said – look, he’s the first Republican ever elected in our county, and we just kind of feel like we owe it to him to let him have whatever job he wants. Well, nobody’s owed a public servant’s job.
And so anyway, I couldn’t find anybody. I ended up – my wife and I had a piece about it, we ran it. And it was, as I’d mentioned in one of the questions – we felt like that was our lot in life. And so, ran for judge; judge 10 years. And then felt like I needed to legislate, and I wasn’t going to do it from the bench. So I left and became a congressman so I could legislate. And then I get with some guys who are fantastic, and then some who are afraid that somebody might not like us if we really do what we promised that we would do, so that gets a little problematic.
But the first hearing I ever had, I’d promised – I had jurisdiction over major civil lawsuits and felonies, including death penalty cases. And I’d promised that I was going to move this 1,000-case backlog – the longest anybody had been out on bond awaiting trial was 20 years. I thought that was a little excessive. And so I said – we’re going to move these cases. So to do that, you have to set them for trial.
And so I had these huge hearings where the lawyer and the client had to show up. I would call the case name, they would come up before me. And I would say – are you the defendant? Court reporter’s taking it all down. And when they would acknowledge yes, I would tell them their trial date and time. And then, if they didn’t show up, I’d revoke their bond. And people are more quickly ready for trial if they’re in jail. So, you know, we got the backlog moved. I cut the backlog by over 80 percent, even though every year there were more cases filed. So I went through thousands of cases.
But that first hearing, I called one case, and the guy comes up with his lawyer. And I said – are you the defendant, so-and-so? And before he could answer, his lawyer said – judge, my client is deaf, and we’re going to need an interpreter at the trial. I said that’s fine, we’ll have an interpreter at the trial. But I just need to know right now that he understands when his trial is set for. So I looked him in the eye, and I said – can you read my lips? And he looked me in the eye and went –
And see, I didn’t recognize at the time, but that was preparation for Congress down the road.
You know, when people will look you in the eye and just lie to you. You know? And sometimes they even smile and lie to you.
So that was preparation.
And in another lesson I learned, one of the judge friends I was talking to told me about a case in their court – right before a felony trial, the lawyer for the defendant jumps up, said – your honor, may I approach the bench? Yes, what now? And he comes up, the prosecutor comes up. He says – I need to make a motion to withdraw as counsel. He said – we got the jury panel sitting there, you can’t withdraw now. He said – but I got to, judge. He said – my client just told me, if I lose, he’s going to kill me.
And he said – I can’t – you know, I got a wife, I can’t work under that kind of pressure. And so the judge went – oh, good grief. So he calls the defendant up, doesn’t read him his rights or anything. He said – look, your attorney here just told me that you said if he loses the case, you were going to kill him. Did you say that? And he said – yes, I did, he ought to win. You know, I ought to be found not guilty, this is crazy. And he said – but you understand, if I grant his motion to withdraw, and we got the jury panel here, we’re ready to go, I’ll have to delay the trial, I’ll have to appoint another attorney. If I did all that, are you going to tell him the same thing? And he said – well, yes I am. No matter who the lawyer is, they ought to win.
So the judge took a deep breath and said – well, if we’re going to lose a lawyer, might as well be you, Mr. Walker. So your motion’s denied.
So you find out, sometimes sacrifices have to be made. You know?
And that brings me to the topic I was asked to talk about – the military and the sequester of the military. Sometimes sacrifices have to be made.
But I want to remind you, all of you here – you love the Constitution, you appreciate it for what it is – the greatest founding document in the history of mankind. And I heard somebody ask Justice Scalia once, in a little group we had – do we have the most free nation in the history of the world because of our Bill of Rights? And he said – no! I love the guy – well, no, of course not. He said – the Soviet Union had a better Bill of Rights than we do. And then I remembered, I did a college paper on that. They did have a better Bill of Rights. They just didn’t honor any of it, you know. He said – no, what made us the greatest country, more freedoms than any other country in the world, is the Founders did not trust government. That’s why. And so they were very picky about the powers they gave government.
And if you look at the Preamble – we the people, in order to – and one of the specified purposes is to provide for the common defense. You know that. And it wasn’t enough that they used something in such general terms like that, at the beginning of the Preamble – in Article 1, Section 8, when it talks about that Congress shall have the power to provide for the common defense. And then it goes on and sets out a whole bunch of stuff – to declare war, and one y’all talk about all the time – the granting of letters of mark and reprisal, right? Y’all talk about that all the time –
— mark and reprisal. Actually, a couple of us were talking about that yesterday. And I made a mistake. I said – Andy McCarthy and a few others – I said there were letters of reprisal granted in World War II. And John, you said – I was thinking it was the War of 1812. And actually, it wasn’t letters of reprisal that were granted in World War II; I went back and looked it up last night. It was the letters of mark that were done in World War II. The Congress granted letters of mark to Goodyear Blimp, so that they could carry guns and shoot at submarines on behalf of the government. But anyway, not used a whole lot.
But Congress makes rules concerning captures on land and water, to raise and support armies, to provide and maintain a navy, to make regulation of the land and naval forces, to provide for calling forth the militia to execute laws of the union, suppress insurrection, repel invasions, provide for organizing, arming and disciplining of the militia; and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States.
Course, one of the specified duties is the power to establish tribunals, which is why when President Bush established a military tribunal, that was wrong. He didn’t have the power to do that; that’s a congressional power under Article 1, Section 8. And so the Supreme Court actually did the right thing – they threw it out. And then Congress came back and set up the Military Commission Act of 2006, where it was legitimate that people who were captured could be tried in a military commission. And that was legitimate constitutionally.
Now, just to do a little check – because I had to go back and check to find out for certain what the answer was – anybody here make a guess – 1962, before all of the LBJ programs, before the Great Society – what percent of our federal budget was for defense? Anybody got a guess? Forty for defense? Pardon?
Unidentified Audience Member: 5.6?
Louie Gohmert: 5.6? Actually, depending on whose numbers you trust – CBO, OMB – it was between 48 to 52 percent of the federal budget was for defense. ‘62. That was before Vietnam even really got started. We had advisors over there. Basically half.
And now, right now, even before the sequester, anybody want to hazard a guess what percent of our budget is for defense? Ten? That’s not a bad guess, but it’s actually – depending, again, whose numbers you believe – 19 to 23 percent. So basically, in ‘62, it was half. And now it’s one fifth. And the Great Society is the thing that’s intervening. When we declared a war on poverty, and then got our rear ends kicked by poverty. They didn’t even have guns, and we lost that war, you know?
When you declare war on somebody or some thing, and 50 years later you keep getting buried every year by your enemy, it’s time to give that one up, isn’t it? You know? Because we’ve lost. We were doing better before we declared the war. But I think if we don’t get this turned around – and I’m not going to call the guy’s name, because I think he’s so wrong on so many things, but some guy called the World War II generation the greatest generation. And they may’ve been, but I think the Founders were the greatest generation myself.
And there were great sacrifices in World War II. But how many people would’ve had the nerve to do what the government of Virginia did, when he [said] to the artillery – why are you not firing at the headquarters of all the British officers? And they said – sir, that’s your home. He said – it’s where the enemy officers are; you’ve got to take it out. They took out his home. I mean, people would understand nowadays if – well, course, he would want to preserve his home. Not back then – the idea was to win. And they made those sacrifices, and they didn’t think about it.
So is there anybody in the history of our country, any generation, that can compete for worst generation in American history if they were so self-absorbed, so narcissistic, that they couldn’t stop spending money on their generation, even though it was for things that didn’t work and made them worse off than they were before, but they still couldn’t stop spending?
Can you imagine a parent going to a bank and saying – I need a loan? For what? I can’t stop spending money on myself, you know.
Well, I mean, we’re in the business of making loans. What’s your collateral? Well, I don’t really have collateral, but I brought my little children with me. And I’m willing to sign anything you want to pledge that someday they or their children, or their children, will pay back what you loan to me.
I mean, would you consider perhaps that person was part of a really bad generation, you know?
And we’ve done it across the board. And people who got elected for all the right reasons, and especially with the conservative wave of two years ago – the biggest conservative-wave election in our history – and they ran for the right reasons, and they got elected by people who voted for them for the right reasons. And then, somewhere along the way, they got convinced that the only way we can really win is if we’re a team. And we can only have one quarterback in the team, and there’s no “I” in “team.“ Somebody pointed out there is an “I” in “win,” though.
And I love football, my favorite sport. But I am sick of the football metaphors. And as I’ve said in conference – look, I love being part of the right team. I understand we can only have one quarterback. But when he calls a play to run to the wrong end zone, I’m not blocking for him. You know?
So, a little background on the sequestration, how it came about. Some of you remember, because you’ve mentioned to me about Cut, Cap and Balance. We’ve had speakers brought it up. Ron brought it up. And that was when I first met Ron. We had a little meeting of people that were pushing for Cut, Cap and Balance; although at that first meeting – I don’t know if you remember, Ron, but I was saying – look, this is the right thing to do. But we need to clean it up some. There’s not enough enforcement in here. If we pass this thing, there’s not enough teeth for enforcement. And it wasn’t Ron, but one of the other senators said – Louie, for heaven’s sake, this is the best we got, you got to get onboard. And it became clear we were not going to put more teeth to make sure it was as enforceable as it should’ve been. But it was the best thing we had.
And we passed it in the House. And that was a big deal to get our Speaker to bring it to the floor. Because it was a conservative thing to do. And that afternoon, he was negotiating for something else. And next day, the headlines were not that the day before we passed this fantastic concept of Cut, Cap and Balance; it was what the real negotiations were that were going on the day before. They didn’t even talk about Cut, Cap and Balance.
If we want to do the right thing, we can’t just pass it in the House; we have to be willing to stand behind it, instead of saying – okay, now, that’s behind us. Or, as our leadership did after the debt ceiling bill passed, we were actually told – well, guys, the great news is, now that we’ve got that thing passed, and the debt ceiling is off the table, now the Senate’s got all they want, so we can work on all the things we really want to work on.
You’re not going to pass them if you don’t have leverage to get the Senate to bring them up and vote for them. But the good news is, now we can just work on what we want to pass. Well, shouldn’t it be about getting it passed into law? Is it really just about getting it through the House? We passed a lot of great stuff, including two fixes to the sequester.
But when we found out what was in the sequester – and I am anal enough, I do try to read this stuff. I read Cut, Cap and Balance before we voted on it. I read the first 1,000-page Obamacare bill. And that was the one voted out of committee. And then, what came to the floor was a 2,000-page bill. And then, the one that became Obamacare was a 2,500-page bill. And I read all of those. And they were a disaster. But they were really not about healthcare; they were about the GRE – the government running everything – that’s what they were.
But anyway, when I found out what’s in the sequester bill – this isn’t armchair quarterbacking; this is in the fight when it’s starting – I got up – and this is one of the reasons that the only chairmanship I have is as the co-chair of the Thursday morning prayer breakfast.
Because that’s the only one the Speaker doesn’t get a voice in. But anyway, I said – and I’m at the member mic, and Speaker’s at the front mic, and I said – in high school – I grew up in a small town in East Texas – I said – in high school, I had a friend whose father had a gambling problem. And one night, he had almost the best hand you can have in poker at all, and he was out of chips, out of money, so he put his home on the table. And somebody there had the one hand better, and he lost his home. And Mr. Speaker, I’ve known since high school – I don’t care how good you think your hand is, you never put your national security or your home on the table for negotiation. It’s non-negotiable.
And I was told, just calm down, Louie. You know, the sequesters will never happen. And I said – of course they’re going to happen. He said – no, no, the Super Committee will reach an agreement.
And we have assurance in the sequester that it’ll reach an agreement. Because if it doesn’t, there may be a few hundred billion dollars cut out of Medicare. And I said – have we forgotten? Obamacare, without a single Republican vote, cut $700 billion out of Medicare.
So the only way next year, in 2012, the Democrats can run a commercial condemning Republicans for caring about our rich friends, and not caring about the seniors, is if they prevent the Super Committee from reaching an agreement. Then they can say – we cared more about our rich friends not being taxed than we did about the seniors getting healthcare, and they can run that commercial all next year. If the Super Committee reaches agreement, they have no plausible basis to run that commercial. So of course it’s not going to reach an agreement. He said – it will, and you don’t have to worry about it.
And I think one of the reasons that the Speaker said – after I nominated Newt Gingrich for Speaker – the first words out of his mouth were – well, I love you too, Louie. And it was heartfelt, I could tell. But anyway –
Because in January, when we’re talking about the sequester, and the Speaker said – well, I’m going to do what I can to stop it – I got up to the microphone and reminded him what he had said in July of 2011. I know that’s part of why he loves me so.
But anyway, the sequester now – after two years after the greatest conservative-wave election in American history – is now the only game in town for making any cuts. I don’t think we got a choice. As we’ve been told repeatedly, maybe the greatest national threat is our overspending. We got to make some cuts.
But as far as the cuts to the military, let me just give you some facts. Over the next 10 years, the 285-ship navy could decline to 230. These are estimates made by different sources. That’s the smallest level since 1915. And of course, you know that’s around the time we started building our navy, and Roosevelt – Teddy – not FDR, but the other Roosevelt – sent the navy around the world, and we became and international player.
And by the way, it was the Democrats, as they have now admitted, that actually forced the sequester on us. And you may’ve heard a replay, but in November of 2011 the President of the United States said – I’m quoting – already, some in Congress are trying to undo these automatic spending cuts. My message to them is simple – no. I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending. Was his idea. Was his staff’s idea. And then he comes out and condemns us repeatedly for these horrible sequesters we came up with?
Now, I know some of y’all have said – you guys have just got to call him for the lies. In the Senate and in the House, the rules are the same. And y’all got to understand, if we get up on the floor of the House, or Jeff or Ron get up, as they would like to, and say, you know, this is a lie that the President has told, then you’re the one that gets in trouble. Because you have violated the rules of decorum of the House and Senate. You can’t do that.
Now, one article awhile back said some people are getting dangerously close, like Louie Gohmert, who said – now, we know under the House rules that the Speaker cannot lie. But whoever’s putting those words in his teleprompter sure is.
So anyway –
But the Air Force says that they will likely lose 200 or more airplanes. The current average – so you understand – current average of our planes in the Air Force is 22 years old. And the average for tankers is 47 years old. The House Armed Services Committee says sequestration cuts would likely include terminating the Joint Strike Fighter – best plane we’ve come up in decades. It could cause the scratching of the new strategic bomber, delaying new submarines, shrinking aircraft carrier fleet, and terminating our coastal combat ship program. It is serious stuff.
And one of the things I think you’ll see is being talked about is that we will likely have a bill that will – and I don’t know what the Senate will do – gosh, I wish Jeff and Ron were in charge down there, wouldn’t that be awesome? But somebody else is, who is from a place where they like to gamble.
Oh yeah, so it’s a gamble, let’s cut our military down to nothing, you know, whatever.
But the release statement from House Armed Services Committee is – precisely at the moment when advanced military technology is spreading around the world, sequestration would force America to make severe cutbacks eroding our technological advantage. So we’re talking about a bill that would give the military some flexibility, so that they don’t have to leave somebody stranded somewhere.
Course, the military would never leave somebody stranded, say, if we had somebody hypothetically in Benghazi. If they were left to their own devices, they would probably, if they’re left to their own devices, get a plane there in quicker than 20 hours – hypothetically. But anyway, that may be a bill that you’ll see go through. It could end up, hopefully, passing both houses; at least give the military some flexibility.
Now, I’ve heard a lot of people say – but if it’s across-the-board cuts, it’s kind of dangerous to single out the military for exceptions where they don’t have to have the same cuts. Folks, it’s not across-the-board 11 percent cut, as it is for most every department. The military – it’s going to cut – well, let’s say, around $85 billion will be cut the first year. That’s the first year of sequester. Half of that is of the military. It’s not across-the-board 11 percent. It whacks the military harder than anybody. So it is a very serious cut. But again, we’ve got to make cuts. And hopefully, we can allow them some flexibility to fix that after the cuts occur.
So the other thing that breaks my heart, and is so opposite common sense – and some of y’all have pointed out – but remember, in Washington, common sense isn’t common, and I get that – but we keep rewarding our enemies under this administration.
You know, I was real little, in elementary school, and we had a couple of bullies. One of them was about two heads taller than me. He had failed two or three grades. And I learned, you can’t pay a bully to respect you. You actually have to take your football helmet and whack him in the back of the head when he doesn’t see it coming, before he’ll leave you alone for the rest of your life. And actually, people noticed in high school – he blocks better for you than anybody else playing quarterback. I don’t know, we’re good friends.
But you respect each other. But you don’t do it by paying your enemies. And I have more and more members of Congress say – Louie, I’m quoting you, I don’t usually give you credit, but my line has been, for eight years – you don’t have to pay people to hate you; they’ll do it for free. You know?
And we keep paying countries. For heaven’s sake, even sending them F-16s and tanks. And mark my words, those tanks and F-16s will someday kill Israelis and Americans. It’s not a smart idea. Even though there are people who are good friends, who say – look, it’s not like you think, Morsi is going to get thrown out, and we still have good connections with the military. I said – yeah, right, but he threw out the people that were against him and put in people that could control [them]. They’re not our friend. Oh yeah, they’re our friend. So when Morsi goes out, we’ll have this friendly force in Egypt. Are you kidding me? You don’t take a chance like that.
And again, I don’t find that those who betray Israel will be blessed. It’s not going to happen. And I was asked by Dr. Bob, you know, what’s the most frustrating thing – it’s people who you’re close to who end up not doing the right thing or breaking promises. Because you expect the Left to be who they are. And I know, from some of the comments, there are a number of Jewish people here – I’m sick and tired of people who are Jewish feeling they’ve got to beat themselves up for some reason and beat up Israel. That’s got to stop. Israel is the greatest friend we’ve got.
So it’s time to get over that. And there is an old concept – you encourage your friends, and you go after your enemies. Khadafi didn’t just abandon his nuclear program. Because all of a sudden, there was newfound respect. We invaded Iraq. And he threw up his hands and said – what do you want to know? You can come in, you can – you know, he was scared. That’s how you get respect. Another way of hitting them in the head with a football helmet when they’re not looking, you know? You have to make sure they understand.
Mike [Lorren] and I have talked about this. And he said the reason Iran is not stopping – it’s not because Israel is not a credible threat to attack them. Everybody believes Israel is quite capable of going ahead and attacking them, but that’s not deterring them. The reason they’re continuing is because the United States is not a credible threat to attack them. If they honestly believed that we would attack them, they would stop today. Immediately. But they don’t think we will. And I’m hearing behind the scenes that this administration has put so much pressure on the Israeli government that they – well, let’s say that they may’ve decided they can’t do anything because of the threats from this administration.
Now, the people that helped get Obama elected, who think Israel is a good idea, need to wake up and tell him they’re our friends, let’s preserve them. And then it would happen. Because that’s the only kind of thing he responds to. But he throws our friends under the bus and rewards our enemies. And I’ve taken all kinds of grief by saying – with what he has done in Egypt, in Libya – he has jumpstarted the new Ottoman Empire. And I’ve been called all kinds of names. But look at the map. Look at what’s happening, and surrounding Israel. And there will be a price to pay for being such an enemy, in reality, to Israel.
I don’t know if anybody here noticed, but back in May of 2010, I read that the United States government, for the first time since Israel came back into existence, had sided with all of Israel’s enemies and demanded that they disclose any and all nuclear weapons. You may not have noticed, if you noticed that, that it was within two days, the flotilla leaves Turkey to go challenge the Gaza Strip blockade. It’s not an accident. You study history, you know that a nation’s enemies, upon seeing that nation’s greatest ally moving away from them, are provoked into moving against them. It’s just the way it works.
North Korea thought that South Korea – some people say it was not the cause, but it was certainly timely – when you had an administration official say South Korea is basically outside our sphere of influence, North Korea moved south. I mean, it’s provocative. And when we show distance between us and Israel, it provokes Israel’s enemies, who are our enemies. So why not be a friend – even if you don’t like Israel, why not be a friend to the enemy of our enemies that want to destroy us?
You may not be aware, the Northern Alliance, now called war criminals by this administration, fought and defeated the Taliban completely within four months. You remember that? By October, we’d found out where the training occurred, where the terrorist camps were in Afghanistan. The Taliban was involved. We didn’t send 100,000 troops over there; we sent less than 500, around 300 embedded Special Operations, military, and some intelligence. It’s one of their greatest victories. Within four months, the Taliban was totally routed.
And then, a major mistake – and I didn’t know this until I met with the Northern Alliance officials overseas a few times, once in Afghanistan, a couple of times other places, where they felt safer. But we told them they had to turn in all the weapons we gave them to defeat the Taliban. Said you gave back everything? Well, not everything. But we also had given them aerial support. And they defeated the Taliban without a single American being killed. You know, there were some hurt. Riding in a wooden saddle for 10 days caused blood blisters on some of our guys’ rear ends, but nobody was killed. And these guys, now called war criminals, that we’ve abandoned, that are going to be targeted for killing the minute we pull out – they did our bidding, and they defeated our enemy.
Now, I’ll do this very quickly. But we don’t have to have any more people killed in Afghanistan to win. And I know a lot of people hadn’t thought about it. But meeting with the Northern Alliance, there’s a number of things very clear that we could do, and we could be out sooner than the President says. We should’ve been out years ago. Occupiers don’t do real well in that part of the world. Somebody that knew history said – well, Alexander the Great – he conquered that area. He died on the way out. I don’t count that as a big win.
But anyway, it’s a tough place to try to occupy. And we became occupiers after we won. And we forced this centralized government on them, when they’ve never been centralized. And you can’t have a centralized government there unless it’s really corrupt.
And I didn’t know, until I really got involved – under the constitution we gave them, each region or state does not get to elect their governor. The president, President Karzai, appoints them. You think there are any kickbacks involved? They don’t get to elect their mayors. We gave them this constitution and said Sharia law is the law of the land. The last Christian church meeting publicly has had to abandon it. The last publicly professing Jew has had to leave. After we gave them this government. They don’t get to – they appoint the police chiefs – think any corruption there? Karzai says there’s none, so I’m sure he’s right.
But anyway, the Northern Alliance guys say – look, if you will just help us amend our constitution, allow us to elect our governors, allow us to elect our mayors, select our own police chiefs, it’ll help end the corruption, and it will strengthen our regions. And if you make our government more like yours, where – they don’t realize how little power the states have – but where the states have most of the power, then we can stop the Taliban. The way it is, they can knock off the top people in the centralized government, and they’ve taken over. But if you give the power back to the states, we can keep them from taking over. But you got to let us elect our people in our own areas. Why wouldn’t Americans be for that? Why did we give them a government full of corruption? Well, we did.
And I said – well, what makes you think that we could have that kind of power, to get an amendment through that would be that sweeping a change? And Massoud, whose brother was called the Lion of [Pashtun], the great hero from the Russian fights, the one person that they believed could’ve united all of Afghanistan with America’s help – they killed him the day before 9⁄11. The Taliban knew what they were doing. We didn’t know what was going on. They knew. We figured out [they will unite] behind Massoud.
Well anyway, his brother, a smart guy – but he said – our Afghan budget in American dollars is around $12.5 billion. He said – do you know how much of that we pay ourselves with Afghan money that we collect as a government? No. $1.5 billion of the $12.5 billion comes from us. The other $11 billion comes from other countries, and that means mainly you. You think you’ve got some leverage to help us get an amendment through our constitution? Well gee, maybe we do.
Anyway, I met with Dana Rohrabacher and some Baloch officials. They’re the largest part of Pakistan. They have most of the natural resources in Pakistan; that’s where they get their natural resources. And they’re tired of being terrorized. The Pakistani government thinks the way to keep them suppressed is go through, terrorize their town, kill, rape, destroy crops, tear them up, keep them subjugated to the radical Islamic government, basically.
And I had a thought. And next time we met with the Northern Alliance officials, I said – what would you think if some of us in the US government started pushing for an independent Balochistan? And half of them didn’t speak English. But after the interpreter interpreted, even General Dostum – all their eyes got big, and Dostum said – that would change everything. The arrogance of Pakistan would go away overnight. You would see them coming to you.
Dostum said – I was meeting with some – he’s a legend over there because of his legendary fighting. But he said the Pakistani leaders were saying recently – we’re sick of the United States. Now they’re offering the Taliban to buy them offices in Dubai, to let their criminals out of prison. They ought to be buying us stuff. We’re the ones supplying the Taliban. They ought to be offering us bribes, not the Taliban; they’re just our puppets. And he said – you start talking about an independent Balochistan, that attitude will change overnight.
So I did an op-ed. And Dana said – you and I agree on a position. I had one line in there that mentioned Balochistan. I said maybe it’s time to start talking about an independent Balochistan, since the supplies are coming through the Baloch area to the Taliban, to weaken the Taliban and to take them down.
A week later, I get an English translation of an op-ed in Pakistan’s largest newspaper. And they referred to this congressman from Texas named Louie Gohmert, who is now is now advocating for an independent Balochistan – that obviously being from Texas, he knows all our natural resources come from the Baloch area. And I’m sure, being from Texas, they want – you know, Texas just wants their natural resources. And surely, a congressman wouldn’t bring something up like that unless it was all the talk behind the scenes in Washington.
But anyway, they said – regardless of the motivation, maybe it is time to change the strategy of our military away from terrorizing the Baloch people, try to work out a peace with the Baloch people, and stop supplying the Taliban, and worry more about Pakistan than the Taliban in Afghanistan. There are ways to win without killing more Americans.
This last thought – one of the fathers of one of the Seal Team Six members that got a target on their backs after Vice President Biden outed the seal team – they went to the briefing by the military for family members of Seal Team Six members that were killed on the Chinook, that were ambushed. And I’ve read the C130 transcripts of the cockpit that was watching all this, was told they couldn’t fire at these people because there might be civilians in the area. They watched them dissemble their equipment and fade back. And they asked for permission to take them out and was denied – there might be civilians in the background.
And the family members didn’t even know this, but one of the fathers said – since you knew this was such a hotspot, and nobody had been able to land there recently, why didn’t you just send in a drone? And the admiral said – because we’re trying to win the hearts and minds of their people.
Folks, that’s not the purpose of the military. We give the military money, it ought to be to kick rears, break things, and come home. And we could do that in Afghanistan without getting another American killed if we just empower the enemy of our enemies. We should not be the worst generation in American history, but that’s where we’re headed.
So I thank God for you caring enough do all you do to contribute, to learn, to read, to talk to people. Because there’s still hope. I’m still running for Congress because I know there’s still hope. And you’re part of that hope. And I really believe, if we’ll keep pushing and do the right thing strategically, we don’t have to be the worst generation in history. We can be one of the better generations. Because on the brink of complete failure of the system that the Founders created, we brought it back and put it on the right path.
Thanks for letting me be here with you.
Unidentified Audience Member: My question is about the sequestration process – what’s in store – with an eye on baseline budgeting, what the cuts really are going to be in the short term, and whether it’s a manufactured crisis that’s being peddled by Obama and, if so, is there an upside for us?
Louie Gohmert: Well, going back to front – I don’t think it’s a manufactured crisis. I mean, there’ve been plenty of those. The Fiscal Cliff was a manufactured crisis. We keep manufacturing these. But it’s not – it is a manufactured crisis as far as financially for the country. I mean, manufactured in the sense that this has been coming for a long time, it really is a problem, we can fix this – it’s not a crisis, but we got to start now.
But yeah, the baseline budgeting – and by the way, I filed a bill, in all four Congresses I’ve been in, to eliminate the automatic increase in every budget and go to a zero-baseline budget. I heard Rush Limbaugh talk about it in the ‘90s, when I was a judge, never dreaming that I would be in a position to do something.
But anyway, I actually got a promise from Speaker Boehner that he would being the bill up. I said – I don’t care whose name is on it. If you will promise – and he promised. He said – but all I’ll promise is if Paul Ryan brings it out of committee. Well, I got a promise from Paul he’d bring it out of committee. He’s been on my bill every time, and he supported it. Back in ‘05 and ‘06, when we were in the majority, the Chairman of the Budget did not want to support it.
So it passed the House last year, year ago. And I’ve got to give credit, you know, Speaker Boehner kept his word. He brought it to the floor after Paul committee-passed it. They had Rob Woodall, a great – well, he was freshman last year – on the Budget Committee, put his name up front on it. And he and I are working to do that again.
It mainly is cutting the rate of growth. But the trouble is, it’s more than that for the military. It really is going to hurt the military. The $42 billion in cuts – that is a real problem.
Unidentified Audience Member: (Inaudible question – microphone inaccessible)
Louie Gohmert: Yeah. All of that is manufactured. Yeah, he’s asking about the long delays at the airport and all that. Now, understand, you could very well have those. I know when I was at the Army in Fort Benning, when President Carter was President, we had severe cuts. And I thought some of the big perks for some of the flag officers would go away. None of those went away. It was all the things the public could see that got cut first. So I think you can anticipate that.
And those could very well be real delays. They could be, you know, very real problems with planes. Because it’s likely the President will give orders so that it will at least appear he wasn’t lying about this. But you can expect a show of problems, but I think they’ll be self-inflicted. I don’t think they’re necessary. It’s just a matter of priority. But you can expect that, and you need to be ready to answer.
There were all kinds of fat in their budget at TSA and other places. They just made the cuts where they would hurt people the worst to try to make the point. And then you can point out to your Democratic friends – which is why you need to become a Republican – any party that would go about hurting the public just to make a point is not somebody you ought to be supporting in the next election. So anyway, you’re going to feel it, but not because you have to.
Now, let me make this point – all of the government agencies are supposed to get an 11 percent cut. One of the things I’ve been mad at my leadership about is not the fact that they forced us to cut our own House budgets by 11 and a half percent over last two years. We were able to do it. We have one less employee in my office than we used to have. So we got nine where we had 10 in the Washington office. So we all adjusted in the House.
The Senate – you know, Harry Reid was not about to cut the Senate’s budgets over the last two years. But the thing is, that gives us the moral authority to tell every agency, every department, we did it to ourselves. And by the way, I think that’s good politically. People in America don’t know we cut our own budgets. Use that for the moral authority to say to every department and agency – we did it to ourselves, now we’re doing it to you. And you can do this.
Well, instead, this sequester – on top of the 11 and a half percent we cut our own budgets in the House – cuts another 11 percent. We will have cut nearly 23 percent in three years from our own budgets. And as my Chief of Staff has said, you know, we’re in a war here to save America, and we keep cutting our own supply line while the other side is not cutting their supply line. But those will be real cuts in the House for our own staff.
Unidentified Audience Member: Louie, I was really incensed when I heard that the government gave F-16 planes to Egypt and to their man, Morsi. So I told a Democratic friend of mine – aren’t you incensed about that? His answer was – do you want China to supply those planes? How do you respond?
Louie Gohmert: Actually, there is such unrest there. If China is foolish enough to get embroiled in that, it will cost them tremendously. That act would cost them, it would hurt them. They might think it’s an opportunity. But it kind of reminds me what my former preacher used to say about sin. He says – it will keep you longer than you meant to stay and cost you more than you meant to pay. And I think that’s what would happen if China gets involved.
But when I was in Israel, talking to one of the ministers, about a year ago, he said – oh, you just missed the Chinese emissaries. They come very regularly, and especially when they think that the US has done something to snub us. And they come by, and they say the same thing every time – are you ready to acknowledge that the US is really not your friend? Are you ready to acknowledge that they will throw you away just like they have their other allies? Because we know one of these days you’re going to come to that realization. And when you do, just give us a call. We’re ready to be your friend, and we’ll be a better friend than the United States has ever been. They do that routinely. They move in Africa, they move in South America. They move where we anger people. And it would not be – it’d be the same thing in Egypt.
But good grief, what a mistake for them to get – see, they’re still concerned about the Uighurs and the radical Islamists in China. It would be very dangerous, they’d have to understand, to help give that a jumpstart again.
John Lott: Yes, thanks very much for your great speech this morning. My name is John Lott.
I was just wondering – when you’re talking about this $40 billion –
Louie Gohmert: The John Lott?
John Lott: Right, [I guess so].
Louie Gohmert: You and I have talked. I appreciate so much everything you do.
John Lott: Oh, well, likewise. Anyway, thank you.
In the military right now, we’re spending like $10 billion a year on green energy type things.
Louie Gohmert: Yeah. You’re right.
John Lott: There’s other things. So why? Is maybe part of the response just to point out the things that the President would be cutting are important, and yet he has these pet projects that are wasteful –
Louie Gohmert: That’s a great idea. That’s a great idea. And you’re right, we’re spending about $10 billion on green energy for the military. That’s insane. But even without checking, I can guarantee you that will not be something that gets cut by this administration. So even if we pass the bill, as I hope we do, to give the military more flexibility, I’m sure that will be one of the things that won’t get cut. So that’s something – I’m already thinking I got to get that on a poster and use it on the House floor. So thank you for reminding – great, great comment.
Unidentified Audience Member: Thank you for all you’re doing. This is kind of a devil’s advocate question –
Louie Gohmert: [Lead to what?]
Unidentified Audience Member: – put the brakes on spending.
Louie Gohmert: Yeah. It is outrageous. The people that got elected in the bigger conservative-wave election two years ago ran on that very issue. Most of us ran on that issue. In fact, the Speaker of the House made us take the pledge. I willingly took it. And it said – and another reason I’m loved – I pulled the pledge out and read it to our leadership more than once, where it says – basically, if you’ll put us back in the majority, we will return spending to pre-bailout, pre-stimulus levels, which is fiscal year 2008. And we will cut $100 billion in the first year. We could’ve done that. We could’ve kept our promise on that.
And you remember what happened – as soon as we won the majority, by January, our leadership was saying – now, remember we pledged $100 billion for a year, and the fiscal year starts October 1st. So we’re not talking about a full year. So we’re really talking about a two thirds of a year, so we’re really talking about, you know, maybe $66 billion in cuts, not $100 billion, because it’s only two thirds of a year.
And then we got to march, to the CR. And we were told this is not really the place for a fight. The debt ceiling in July – that will be the place we’ll take our stand and we’ll fight. So we just kind of need to go along with this. And then we got the final deal at 10 p.m. on Friday night, when things were going to shut down. And it was, we were told, cut maybe $28 billion, $29 billion. It’s not everything we had hoped, but at least it’s cuts. And now we’re told that actually it didn’t cut $29 billion; it may’ve spent $5 billion more.
So we’ve gone two years without cutting. We could cut. And the Founders anticipated that we would be a line of defense, that we don’t have to worry about the Supreme Court, whether they say something is constitutional or not. Because we’ve got Congress, and we have the power of the purse. And all we’ve got to do is just shut off the money to something that’s unconstitutional. They anticipated we’d do that. And we haven’t. And there is no way one dime can be spent unless the House agrees to it.
And I know that you’ve heard repeatedly – look, we’re only one half of one third. Look, we’re the most important half of the legislative branch from which all money comes. If we don’t agree to it, it doesn’t happen, they don’t get the money.
So if we just have the courage of our convictions, we could cut off spending to anything. But as I told you earlier, we were told that – gee, now that we’ve got the debt ceiling bill behind us, and we’ve given him enough debt ceiling increase to get through the election, now we can go about passing the things we want to pass, that the Senate will never take up, which is what happened. So it’s just a matter of having the courage of our convictions. And we could do it.
Actually, I was inspired by Jim DeMint’s action. And after hearing a number of House members saying – look, I’m under attack, and the only way I’m going to get help from the party is if I go along on this issue or that issue. So I’m with you, but I’m not going to be back if I don’t tow the line on this so I can get help.
So I started a PAC, and actually trying to build a group – we need at least 20, and hopefully we’ll get 25 to 30 – of people who will be uncompromising. We can force our party into doing the right thing. Because if you have [enough, more] than the majority, then you have to be willing – and I think people in Washington know that I am – to bring down something important to your party if they don’t do the right thing on an entire issue.
And also, some of us have been meeting by camera with some senators, conservative Republican senators. We’re starting to meet every couple of weeks. And Rand has kind of pushed that. But we’re trying to do just what you suggested – develop a strategy of consistency and then force our parties to stay consistent.
But you got to have strong leadership to do that. And if you don’t have strong leadership, you’ve got to have enough of a stick over the heads – I mean, they were ready to kick Michele Bachmann off of Intelligence, and the Speaker had threatened that. And we were able to delay that action long enough that enough people responded that it scared the Speaker’s office that they better not kick her off or there’d be a lot of people coming after the Speaker.
That makes a difference, when people make their voices heard. It really does. American people still have that kind of impact, and that’s what it’s going to take if we’re going to get anything done.
Unidentified Speaker: Steve’s going to get the last question.
Louie Gohmert: Okay, Steve.
Steve: We would all like your strategy to win, your PAC to raise sufficient funds, to be able to hold the line. But what is the realistic expectation for how this budget crisis winds its way out into the summer? What do you really expect?
Louie Gohmert: I think you’ll see the sequestration – I think our leaders are concerned enough that if they cave here at the last minute, they may end up out of leadership. But I’ve heard that repeatedly for the last few years, and it hasn’t happened. But I think you’ll see the sequester play out through the summer, as you bring up. And there’s going to be a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth. And what we have got to do – and I’m hoping our leadership will be good about it, because actually this week, they’ve sent out a lot of good messages – this was the President’s idea. And I think we need to hang it around their necks.
And like in California, the bad news is the Democrats control everything. The good news is you ought to be reminding the public of that every day. You don’t like something that’s going on? You can’t blame the Republicans, because your people are controlling everything. And once you realize the damage that they’ve been doing, then you come over and support us. You’re a minority? You’re tired of the way you’ve been taken for granted, and you’ve been lured into ruts you can’t get out of by government benefits, and it’s not enough to help you? And you really want to do something with your life? Support Republicans, and [we’ll get this done].
This is the opportunity we have to keep pointing out the truth and drowning out all of those mainstream, lamestream media moguls that don’t do their jobs. And so I think it’s a chance for us to do well.
I thought that we – I didn’t think – we had 21 people who had signed in writing, their own handwriting – I will not vote for John Boehner for Speaker, and sign their names. We thought if we got it in writing, they’ll be afraid to back out. Because they’ll know we can wave that around in the future. But we had 13 that did not vote for the Speaker. It fell apart, but at least a couple of our guys got chairmanships, you know, and some good things. So it’s okay to break your word if you can get something good out of it. But – that’s sarcasm, y’all.
In Washington, people don’t recognize sarcasm, so they blast me for thinking I really mean something I say sarcastically. If we stand firm in the House and do what we promise, it gives them more credibility with the public, to let them take back over the majority in the Senate, and the country will benefit.
So I’m hoping that we can be the example that we should be. And I thank you for all the help to do that.
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