Rep. Hank Johnson Worried Guam Will Tip Over

This video is making the rounds this morning and is NOT an April Fools joke.  Man oh man…

Johnson’s office told the AJC’s Jim Galloway that he was using “tip over” as a metaphor.

h/t: Fresh Loaf

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99 thoughts on “Rep. Hank Johnson Worried Guam Will Tip Over”


  1. First we suffer the ignominy of Cynthia McKinney, now we get to relive the experience with Hank Johnson. Stupidity and ignorance are the order of the day in government at all levels and across all ideologies. How we went from the brilliance of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton to “leaders” like Hank Johnson and Sarah Palin is beyond me. This REALLY ticks me off.

  2. And to think that it is minds such as this one that that enacted Obamacare.

    Of course, this is the mind that stated that “health care was a right”….

  3. I know Mr Johnson has some serious health issues. I do have sympathy for his situation but he should not stay in office .

    Is it really this or Vernon Jones ? Yikes !

    Please someone else jump into this race right now.

  4. He claims to have jokingly used a metaphor to describe a tipping point in the island’s infrastructure, but it looked to me like he was struggling to achieve marginal brain function during that Q&A.
    Just the fact that he allowed himself to appear so stupid on camera is deserving of bringing on the next looney Dekalb political actor.

  5. Johnson always struck me as a space cadet. He only garnered my vote because he was the lesser of two weak candidates. That and I attributed some of his weirdness to whatever treatment he was undergoing. But I think he may just be a run-of-the-mill moron.

    1. Whoops…That should have been “lesser EVIL.” Oy… Guess Hank and I have more in common than I thought.

      Feeling tipsy…

  6. I think my favorite part is just after the “tip over” quote, when the Admiral is trying desperately to maintain a dignified and respectful tone in his response. The facial squirming can’t be beat.

  7. I’ll be the first to vote for any of the bloggers here that would choose to run. I’d be willing to trade any political differences any of might have to get some functioning brain cells into Congress.

  8. Oops,
    By my own standard, I am not qualified. I left “us” out of the last sentence – it should read “…political differences any of US might have…”

  9. Holy crap. OK, if he was using “tip over” as a metaphor, what’s his explanation for “and capsize”?

    If you close your eyes and listen with a chicano accent, he sounds just like Cheech Marin.

    1. He was also making gestures with his hands that indicate he meant the comments quite literally. And of course, all of the preferatory questions about Guam’s size were a deliberate set-up to the question about Guam tipping over.

  10. the other choice was Cynthia McKinney….
    the other choice was Cynthia McKinney….
    the other choi….

  11. Have you guys have watched CSPAN or whatever channel(s) tape congressional hearings and votes? There’s weird stuff like this all the time. Not to mention empty seats and folks snoozing.

    1. ’tis true, I believe. We only see the ones that somebody pulls and circulates.
      also re Karass’s later post, I agree, he did seem more dysphasic than moronic to me.

      whatever…he’s no Cynthia McKinney, and for that I’m still thankful.

  12. Here’s Johnson’s official statement, which was just sent my way…

    “I wasn’t suggesting that the island of Guam would literally tip over,” said Johnson. “I was using a metaphor to say that with the addition of 8,000 Marines and their dependents – an additional 80,000 people during peak construction on the tiny island with a population of 180,000 – could be a tipping point which could adversely affect the island’s fragile ecosystem and could overburden its stressed infrastructure. Having traveled to Guam last year, I saw firsthand how this beautiful – but vulnerable island – could easily become overburdened, and I was simply voicing my concerns – albeit with a dry sense of humor – that the addition of that many people could tip the delicate balance and do permanent harm to Guam.”

    1. “Official statement” meaning a statement written by someone a lot smarter than Hank, who is desperately trying to lessen the shame, at least a little.

    2. The disclaimer is clearly in someone else’s voice…there’s no way the same guy makes such an articulate rebuttal for himself. It’s just not possible for him to send a proxy from his staff (who DOES possess some kind of education and sensory apparatus) to those gatherings……yikes!

    3. Points of reference: New York City square miles (including the Island of Manhattan which is about 25 square miles): 303 Guam Square Miles: 202. I’m putting my bets on Manhattan tipping over first.

      Kathy, Hank Johnson has Hepatitis C which can manifest itself in a encephalopathy. Someone on my facebook wall informed me of this when I posted the video. If this is the case, and his mental capacities are compromised, well, I’m not sure if that is any more acceptable to his constituents than if he is just naturally void of logic. I’ve actually been trying to find a reference to what is done when a member of congress is mentally incapacitated and, how would one prove it? Not to mention a president. No matter what ones political leanings are, its a bit of a scary thought. I can’t find much written on it.

      1. I’ll say. If there was no way to get the Congress to impeach George Dubya on grounds of mental incapacity, I don’t see it happening with ol’ Hankie-Baby anytime soon.

      2. All things considered, I don’t see where Hank is not within the “normal” part of the dial for Congress, he just expresses himself differently. They all should be run out of town.

  13. Until you figure out someway to get redistricting out of the hands of the politicians you’re stuck.
    I suggest a square grid laid over the entire country. It couldn’t be any worse than what we have now.

  14. I’m sorry, but after listening to the video, the statement above may be his “official” statement but it was obviously written by someone else for him. The statement is way too literate and full of too many multi-sylabic words to have come from the same person as represents us so proudly in the video.

    1. How’d you like the part with him struggling to find the words for the “narrowest” part of Guam? He stammered and finally came up with “least widest.”

  15. Has he had a stroke or head injury? His speech was like someone who is dysphasic. He kept searching for the word “narrow” but coudn’t find it

    1. I sure hope not! He’s going to need every bit strength to survive the pummeling he’s in for on here.

        1. Did Jed really say that though? (I’m only finding you on Google! :0)

          [Just as soon as DM puts up the Vernon post, I swear I’ll shut my trap, kick back, and enjoy! ]

          1. [Yep! Double standard! My many years of watching both of them on tv at County Commission Meetings formed my opinions on both. And Vernon’s documented instances of bullying says “Whomp on!!!” ]

    1. Yes I remember my ABC vote as well. I’m kinda on the fence wondering if I had it to do over, which one would be the least embarrassing for me…

  16. Hello? This is Georgia. What Georgia Representative doesn’t occasionally say some crazy shit?

    I like Hank and think he votes the way I would 95% of the time. If you don’t like Hank your other choice appears to be Three-Way.

  17. I find it very interesting that the DM readers seem to agree with Neil Boortz’s comments on Congressman Johnson. How often does this happen?
    Speaking as someone who must appear daily in front of a critical group of 9th grade students, I know from experience that the things I say can easily be taken out of context and misinterpreted. When I watched the clip on Hannnity, I noticed a slight smile on Congressman Johnson’s face after he made the comment. Maybe the joke is on us!
    I know from personal experience that Congressman Johnson’s office often provides me with important constituent services. When I write him a letter, he always replies. When I contacted his office concerning the Close Up trip next week, a member of his staff, Ms. Williams, called me back within ten minutes of receiving my email. She scheduled a tour of the capital and a possible meet and greet with Congressman Johnson. This kind of attention to constituent needs does not happen accidentally. It comes from the top of the organization.
    There are not many issues that Congressman Johnson and I agree upon but he is providing the DHS students and myself a great opportunity to get up close with what is going on in Washington D.C. I appreciate his attention.

    1. I agree . . . I believe he was joking. He represents the people of his district, he’s there for them and finally, I refuse to vote for Vernon Jones.

  18. Apparently alpha interferon and riboviron has unforeseen side effects in Democrats. It gives them the science expertize of Republicans.
    We all know the weight of all the new people will not cause it to tip over. If the weight of all the snakes hasn’t done it yet, the people sure won’t.
    I’m just saying….

  19. Just curious….what are Hank Johnson’s health issues that would cause him to speak in this manner?

    1. Kathy, I posted this in the wrong place. My apologies to everyone else for reposting it:

      Kathy, Hank Johnson has Hepatitis C which can manifest itself in a encephalopathy. Someone on my facebook wall informed me of this when I posted the video. If this is the case, and his mental capacities are compromised, well, I’m not sure if that is any more acceptable to his constituents than if he is just naturally void of logic. I’ve actually been trying to find a reference to what is done when a member of congress is mentally incapacitated and, how would one prove it? Not to mention a president. I can’t seem to find much on it. No matter what ones political leanings are, its a bit of a scary thought. I haven’t seen anyone who has questioned his political positions. The fact that he votes pretty much 100% with the Democrats does not prove anything as far as his mental capabilities are concerned. I dare say that a rat can be trained to push the button on the left.

  20. Hank Johnson (sounds like a joke name anyway) should probably limit his linguistic zingers to:

    I know you are, but what am I?

    or

    Guess what? (pause for effect) Chicken butt.

      1. Yes, thank heavens the rank and file Repubs now have the benefit of the genius of the DNC and Obamacare to put corks on their forks for them a la Steve Martin in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels…

        1. Yes, thank heaven the rank & file Repubs introduced so many viable alternatives to “Obamacare”…oh, wait…

          1. Cuba,
            Somehow going through the web your post was somehow truncated.

            Fortunately I have the non-truncated copy:

            “Yes, thank heaven the rank & file Repubs introduced so many viable alternatives to “Obamacare”…oh, wait…they did.”

          2. Since part of the thread is already jacked:

            Assume for the moment the Republicans offered zero ideas for health care reform. It’s not true, but assume that anyway. How does that support the passage of this particular awful bill, which virtually no one in Congress even bothered to read, and which the majority of Americans rejected, based on the polls?

            There was no need to reform health care right this very minute, as evidenced by the fact that much of Obama’s bill doesn’t kick in at all for several years. If it took another year to get a much better bill, why not take it, as opposing to ramming this one through?

  21. You all are being incredibly cruel to a man, who has spoken in public about being very ill. See the symptoms of his illness above. I, for one, have been very pleased with his votes and high level of constituent services. I thing the last repug rep we had in this district was indicted and barely avoided jail.

    1. You’re right…I’m just a mean ol’ Republican who is in the wrong for wanting to be represented by a competent politician. Sick or not, he made a fool out of himself, his constituents and the state of Georgia. In a situation like this, his politics are irrelevant. What IS relevant is he was on national TV making idiotic statements; if he was ill, he should have called in sick to work that day. And he should have gone to a doctor, given that he has a much better medical plan than the one he and his cronies have foisted on us.

      1. Actually, under the new law, all members of Congress will be required to get their health insurance through the new exchanges. Just curious, what medical plan was “foisted” upon you?

            1. Chris, if you are not mistaken, then you just have it plain wrong.

              Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican, offered an amendment “to make sure the President, Cabinet members, all White House senior staff and congressional committee and leadership staff are purchasing health insurance through the health insurance exchanges” established by the new law.

              Senate Democrats killed that amendment so they can continue to be covered by the luxurious Federal Employees Health Benefit Program.

    2. Another Rick,

      It is bad enough that various individuals on both sides of the aisle manage to get elected for reasons other than their intellect but there is no IQ test required to serve.

      That said, a seat in Congress is too important to be held by someone who due to illness or injury are no longer able to form a rational opinion.

      Is this the case with Johnson, I don’t know – his statements appear to be completely delusional to me.

      Is this permanent? Perhaps, perhaps not.

      If not, then perhaps he should just step aside until his health and his faculties improve. If it is permanent, then he should step down.

    3. Explain how it is cruel to judge a Congressman’s fitness for office based on his performance of official duties as a Congressional Committee hearing. Really, I’d like to hear this one.

    1. Aren’t they all? (Well, until they get caught in airport bathrooms or paying for fetish strippers, that is…)

  22. As someone who suffers from occasional dysphasia, the tone of this conversation is really disheartening. I can understand people thinking the worst if not knowing about anything about dysphasia, but several people here have brought up the possibility, and still the subsequent harsh responses. To those who have read above but still don’t understand, dysphasia is a difficulty with word retrieval and doesn’t equal mental incompetence– it just means that for some medical reason there are times when the brain has a hard time finding the right word(s) to use. Narrow/not-wide is a good example, I can also easily see tipping point/tip over. Someone who suffers from dysphasia isn’t necessarily afflicted 24/7, and I don’t think having an occasional disability should prevent someone from serving the public (perhaps they have the added compassion to do it wisely).

    While I love the flow of info in the web age, the speed of dissemination of something that might deserve more contemplation rather than ridicule is depressing.

    1. Can you explain “capsize”? I think the dysphasia that is being mentioned is being used as an appologist for more troubling intellectual issues.

  23. To Decaturs Token Republican
    You said “if he was ill he should have called in that day”. Really? You think Hep C only last one day? Since 20% of all Vietnam veterans tested have Hep C, what are you telling them? Go ahead and tell them it only makes them sick for a day. They might tell you something different……

    1. Common Sage,
      Do you REALLY think that Token Republican was trying to besmirch Vietnam Vets with Hep C?

      It seems clear to me that Token was trying to give Johnson the benefit of the doubt that this was just a particularly bad day for him and he is otherwise normally lucid.

      Maybe I am interpretting you post incorrectly though… Perhaps you are hinting that that particular day, rather than being worse than normal for Johnson was instead a typical or perhaps even better than normal …?

  24. I truly believe he was trying to express a joke. I understand he has been to Guam and I assume all adults know that coral atols do not float on the ocean. However, Hank asked us to elect him to represent us. He knew he had an illness that may affect his mental abilities. (Which I did not learn until after the election). Whether by purpose, profound ignorance or illness he presents himself (and Dekalb voters) to the nation as a waste of valuable time of Congress and high ranking military officers. Other videos of Hank seem to coincide with this style of presentation though this one was and will be particularly useful to pundits who seek proof of the stereotypes they sell. I wish him well but I do not want him put in that position again. Is Vernon Jones really the only other choice?

  25. Well said Ridgelandistan, well said.

    With tongue only slightly in cheek – if the choice is truly Hank Johnson or Vernon Jones, I have to wonder… Is it possible to vote to keep that seat empty until we can find a better candidate?

    I would truly prefer to have an empty chair represent me in congress than either of these (or Cynthia for that matter)

    just imagine the possibilities for the bumper stickers, yard signs, and endless mind numbing TV campaign spots….

      1. Yes, this is twice now you have asked, and twice I have harmonious news to report.

        Thank you for inquiring.

        My bride, though willing to extend a lengthy rope and generous benefit of the doubt; once she gets to the end of the rope is as resolute as I. We therefore had no bickering between ourselves and seem now to have a common political purpose.

        Your dinner was no less agreeable I hope.

        1. That’s good news! Two peas in a pod, I guess!

          (I was feeling for her– you’ve been in a snit all week!)

          Enjoy y’all’s weekend!

    1. He’s a hell of a lot better than Georgia’s nutbags like Lynn Westmoreland, Phil Gingrey, Tom Price and Jack Kingston. Johnson’s office is highly responsive to the community and very active in the community. Just do a little googling and you will find something equally scary about most of these people. When your job is televised, you are simply going to make a fool of yourself every now and then.

      You know that many of us Decurites are actually in John Lewis’ district- you know, those of us on the wrong side of the tracks 🙂

      What I don’t get is why people move into areas in which the predominant core values, as reflected through political landscape, differ so much from their own. So they can complain? Irritate the other side and pretend like they scoring points? Face it, no one really wants an open, honest dialogue with ideologies that oppose theirs. Most people simply want validation of their own world view. The arguments on this board prove that. I am honest enough about my own nature to know that I would never voluntarily move to areas where 80% of the populace has completely different core values from mine. Humans love to segregate themselves, though I don’t think most of it is conscious. Certainly it is nice to have a good dialogue with someone with a different point of view, but how often does that really happen?

      Sorry for the rant. But I have been reflecting on polarization a lot lately; I am not slamming anyone, just really asking the question.

      1. I just got back into town, so I didn’t have a chance to reply before this.

        Nellie, you ask a very interesting question; I’d like to respond with my own experiences:

        -When we moved here in the 90’s (in a seemingly less-polarized political environment), we were new to the area and relied on our realtor to find a neighborhood and house for us. At no time did he ever mention the political climate, nor did we ask.

        -The reason we didn’t ask is because it truly, sincerely made no difference in our choice. I don’t hold anyone’s political affiliation against them. My feelings for someone are not in the least defined by their political leanings. I follow the golden rule – discuss politics ONLY in your own home (or on an anonomous blog). 🙂

        -The things we looked for in a neighborhood, not necessarily ranked in order, were 1) a bearable commute to work, 2) homes/taxes we could afford, 3) good schools, 4) something close to Atlanta proper so we could learn and enjoy what the city has to offer and, 5) that intangible “community feel.” Decatur has all of these in spades.

        I have to disagree with your assertion that people don’t want open, honest dialogue. When I read your posts, or cubalibre’s posts, I read them for their content with an effort to keep an open mind. Yes, we are diametrically opposed in may ways, and I make every effort not to let that color my opinions, but I think you would be surprised at the number of times I have nodded my head in agreement with you two.

        Knowing what I do now about Decatur’s politics, would I reconsider my choice to move here? Absolutely, 100%, without-a-doubt NO. We lucked out when our realtor found this place, and we wouldn’t give it up for ANY other town in Georgia.

        1. I guess I was sorta frustrated when I said no one wants a dialogue. There just seems to be such a lack of middle ground these days and history is just being raped, which terrifies me . I have been drifting back to the philosophes lately; they heavily influenced the founders of this country, you know, and the true foundations of our system are found there. So I get a little depressed.

          As Kant said, sapere aude.

          1. You’re bringin’ me down, Nellie! Now I have to ask my doctor for an increase in my anti-depressant dosage.

  26. Wow, I am really surprised at the defense of the indefensible. I now know how these jokers get elected. As supposed intellectuals, you guys are bending light to defend those comments. Well, I guess we do get the government we deserve…….

    1. I actually pretty much agree with you. I guess what I was trying to say is if you condemn him for one really stupid gaffe, then they all should get equal treatment. I am bloody damn sick of politicians doing nothing but shilling for the next election and selling their souls for the next dollar.

      1. D’accord, Nell. I’ve been growing ever more weary of the polarization tactics employed across the political spectrum, but even more than that, the hypocrisy. Whether Johnson’s gaffe was caused by dysphagia (sp?) due to his (alleged) Hep C, or by simple numbskullery, the rightwing media & its sheep are gagging at a gnat & swallowing a camel by making such a big deal out of it– especially since they were content to allow Dubya’s mental midgetry to run unchecked for 8 years. Yes, that’s how bad he was– NOTHING, not even “Obamacare” (ooooo, boogety-boogety) this administration does can possibly top the profligate stupidity, arrogance, warmongering, and complete disregard for anyone except the robber barons of Wall Street from the administration that we were stuck with during Bush II’s reign. The poisonous fruit of those 8 years has manifested itself in people who fashion themselves as the “new, true patriots”, whose only goal is to topple Obama– and every time some douchebag white supremecist in Tea Partier clothing opens its mouth, my point is proven. I’m sick of the lot of them!

            1. Cuba, your prejudice is showing. Hey, there is enough blame to go around. But please do not think the high ground is held by any politician. Not possible, they keep seeking new lows. And just because Bush was a F- up does not excuse anything the current occupants are doing or not doing. I for one want Obama to be successful, I wanted Bush to be successful, I want congress to know what it is doing. But what I want makes no matter to what actually happens. We have what we have and it a real mess. Any incumbent should be afraid of his shadow…. Anyone in power when all this hit the fan has culpability and should not be rewarded with another shot. Seems to me that a whole new crew could do no worse than the current crew. Ok one other question, is the name from a cigar? Or… what?

              1. Mike, if by “bias”, you mean “opinionated”, then you’re on the money. My political views, depending on the subject, are pretty much right down the middle overall. I’m liberal on some issues, conservative on some, and moderate on most. On the particular topic of the GOP’s trenchant opposition to everything Obama, though, I’m definitely biased against them, and with good reason. Every person who still thinks, after all of its hypocritical pandering to the most radical elements of the right, that the GOP has this country’s best interests at heart (instead of a single-minded aim to plop itself back in the seats of power) is sadly deluded. Do I think the Democrats are any more altruistic? Marginally. It doesn’t mean I believe they’ve done the best job since they’ve been in control– but regardless, they haven’t done worse by a LONG shot than the GOP did under Bush II. That’s why I can’t stand to listen to the GOP any more– because I know they’re lying through their teeth, they’re being hypocritical and nasty at every turn just for the sake of contrarianism, and claiming to be the party of God whilst they’re at it. If you’re going to claim the high ground, you’d better walk the walk. They’ve done nothing but act like spoilt children ever since Obama got elected, and I (along with scores of others) am simply sick of them, period.

                My username is a play on my Cuban heritage, and one of my favorite drinks (not, as some have mistakenly surmised, a love for Castro, or my desire to liberate my father’s home country).

  27. Lucklie, not all the comments were in defense. But we still get the government we deserve. That is a very scary truth.

  28. Aside from his obviously semi-coherent comment about the island tipping over, I can’t believe how no one mentions he can’t figure out the square miles of the island. He says how long it is and how wide it is, then can’t multiply 11 X 9 (or whatever the numbers were). My son is 9 and would have been able to figure that out two years ago.

  29. Ok . I knew most of that from your comments. I would just add, that the Democrats did the same thing when they were out of power. I really do not see a dimes worth of difference between the two. Obviously you do. I find the discussions on the margins, never involved in the real problems. Everyone acts like the pie should be divided politically. My opinion is that the pie should grow and the government should provide the infrastructure for it to grow. I think there should be opposition to Obama’s policies. I happen to like divided government. Every time it is one party rule we have problems. All the BS needs to be balanced and be in the middle where I believe most Americans reside. We only hear the loud fringes of both parties. I for one do not want to stand in line for health care or anything else. Something needed to be done, and this thing will morph plenty.

    Now we need divided government, and I am not too particular how it is divided. Just that it is. I think we will see more of that in the midterms. We will see.

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