A few weeks ago, Congressman Steve Buyer of Indiana's 4th District made the absurd statement that smoking lettuce amounts to the same thing as smoking cigarettes. Well, he didn't say cigarettes, but that's what he meant. The comment that Buyer made in an open session of Congress made him the target of such programs as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and became somewhat of a viral video for a while.
Of course, this was anything but the first goofy thing the Monticello Republican has said. Back in 1992, he voted for a term limits bill, but his values must have changed. He is now serving his 16th year in Congress. Buyer once advocated dropping nuclear weapons into caves in Afghanistan as an appropriate step in the War on Terror. Buyer, a veteran of the Gulf War campaign who once used his dusty combat boots as a campaign prop, scored a ZERO in the legislative ratings for several years running from the Disabled American Veterans. Buyer has accepted thousands and thousands from issue lobbies such as the pharmaceutical and tobacco industries in campaign contributions.
So, Indiana's 4th District Congressman now wants to TAX YOU FOR HAVING SEX??? In a purely odd bit of political posturing, Roll Call reports that Buyer wishes to have folks that engage in risky behavior such as unprotected sex pay higher health care premiums. Buyer said, “Someone who smokes, drinks, participates in bad conduct and behavior, unprotected sex, maybe bad things happen to them, maybe they should pay higher premiums...That is a radical thought, isn’t it?” Yes, it is radical. It would also amount to a "baby tax" since you can't have kids without having unprotected sex.
Clearly, this must be posturing, right? With Buyer, I'm not so sure. He clearly feels untouchable in his own district, and voters out in the 4th District (heavily Republican by registration) have done anything but send him a message of protest returning him with healthy margins each time he runs. In 2002, Buyer even knocked off Congressman Brian Kerns after reapportionment elimintated Kerns Congressional district in the year before. I guess the Republicans in the 4th District must like him or something.
It makes you feel bad for the folks in the 4th that want to feel the winds of change. There's really little more than a sliver of a glimmer's chance of beating Buyer in this district, but that chance will likely get even more slim. Redistricting happens in 2011 after the census, and it's very likely Buyer's district will be left alone or move into the safer column. Republicans will draw the districts with Governor Mitch Daniels having the final appointments to the board that reviews the redistricting (more to come on that later this week). We all know what a great job the GOP did in redistricting Texas. They did such a political hack job on those districts that they were eventually thrown out in court.
One can only hope that Buyer decides to resign to run for the Senate if and when Senator Lugar retires so that statewide voters can send him back to Monticello with a <
The Buyer Circus continues. To the national media, the quote machine's name is pronounced, "BOO-YER." We do emphasize the "BOO."