Maybe I’m Just Another “Howdy Doody-Looking Nimrod,” But I Think Rep. Marion Berry Was Out of Line

Are members of the House of Representatives allowed to call other members “Howdy Doody-looking nimrods” on the floor of the House?

I thought not, but when Rep. Marion Berry (D-AR) tried it on November 17, Rep. David Drier (R-CA), let him off on a technicality. Then, Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL) zinged Berry on the facts.

Transcript is below, but to get the real flavor, you really have to watch the video (note: Putnam’s remarks do not appear in the video).

Scene: U.S. House of Representatives, November 17; Rep. Berry of Arkansas has the floor.REP BERRY: I am absolutely amazed at you boys over there. I wonder what you are going to be when you grow up. For you to come to this floor and attack the Blue Dogs on fiscal responsibility demonstrates an unparalleled display of ignorance, stupidity, or just down-hard foolishness. I do not know which.

You stand there and say we are increasing spending, but we are cutting spending. I do not know whether you cannot add or subtract. I do not know what your problem is. But I can tell you this, and you can be cute, you can be smart, and you may even pull this off, son, but I tell you one thing, you are young enough, you are going to have to live with it. You are putting a tax on the next generation that they cannot pay and they cannot repeal it, and you are going to have to live with it.

Do not ask for my time because I will not yield.

I can tell you this: you are going to suffer the consequences just like everybody else in the next generation and those to come thereafter. And I cannot believe that you have the audacity to come to this floor with this assault on women and children and try to portray it, as this other Howdy Doody-looking nimrod said, that he wanted to talk about family values and values. That is unprecedented in this House.

I have the time, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield for a parliamentary inquiry?

Mr. BERRY. I yield to the gentleman from California.


Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, I would like to inquire of the Chair, is it appropriate for Members of this House to address the Chair or address their remarks to other Members?

Mr. BERRY. Mr. Speaker, I do believe that the Blue Dogs were referred to.

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. LaHood). The Chair advises all Members that they should address their remarks to the Chair.

Mr. BERRY. Mr. Speaker, as I do proceed, let me continue to tell you, if you cannot take it, go home. Do not do this to our children and grandchildren. You cannot take it, you are not man enough to pass these rules and pass these laws and build this dam on our children and grandchildren until they cannot carry it any longer.


The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair would remind all Members that remarks should be addressed to the Chair.

Mr. PUTNAM. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, my apologies for besmirching the reputation of the Blue Dogs. It is clear that their bark is still in place, though their bite is lacking.

Mr. Speaker, that was quite a performance, and I respect the gentleman’s passion; but I do not respect the fact that he chose to personalize the debate, an important debate about the future of our Nation. I do not like the way that he characterized me; I do not like the way that he characterized the gentleman from Texas. It seems to me that the sensitivities about the reputation of the Blue Dogs is where the thin skin really lies.

Mr. Speaker, this budget is about the future and this organization has created the impression over a number of years of fiscal responsibility; and yet time after time after time when given the opportunity to truly do something about it, they just fade away. They just go back to the porch. Instead of taking the tough votes, instead of bringing real reform and making government work better so future generations of men and women and businesses and children and all aspects, instead of guaranteeing a bright future for all Americans, they just choose to talk about it.

The gentleman is right when he said that our younger generation is going to be most impacted by these fiscal decisions. They are. That is why we are here today to try to do something about it. They are here today to just talk about it. Where is their plan to rein in the overarching growth of Federal spending? What are they going to do about the fact that entitlement spending takes up over half of the budget and will soon take up two-thirds? Where was their plan about what they were going to do for these same women and children, as if the country was only made up of women and children, that benefit from these programs, what about all Americans? What were you going to do about this generation and future generations’ retirement security? The same thing you were going to do about this, just talk about it, but not actually take the tough votes to do anything about securing their future.

Extra points to Putnam for the line “…as if the country was only made up of women and children…” It is nice to see somebody making that point.

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