April 28, 2010

D-Bag O' the Day (v. 1.4)—GOP Chip Tricks

Our D-Bag du Jour is an Iowa Republican other than our resident blowhard, Rep. Steve King—shocking, I know.  Nope, our D-Bag is Pat Bertroche, a candidate in the Republican primary race for the House of Representatives from Iowa's 3rd Congressional District (essentially central Iowa, including much of the Des Moines area).   During a Republican debate earlier this week, Betroche had this to say about the issue of illegal immigration:

“I think we should catch ’em, we should document ’em, make sure we know where they are and where they are going.  I actually support micro-chipping them. I can micro-chip my dog so I can find it. Why can’t I micro-chip an illegal?"

—James Q. Lynch, "3rd District GOP Hopefuls Take Tough Stances on Immigration", Cedar Rapids Gazette (April 27, 2010).
Sounds an awful lot like a plot from the X-Files, or part of a "black helicopters" conspiracy theory.  Hmm, where have I heard about the evil government plot to insert chips into people against their will?  Oh wait!  That's right, some of the loonier right-wingers in the country were spreading rumors that the health care reform bill would require people to have microchips implanted in order to receive health insurance.  Apparently microchip tracking is evil if done to American citizens, but patriotic if done to illegal immigrants.  Got it. 

Now, Bertroche is not some fringe, half-loopy candidate.  Nope, he's a psychiatrist from a Des Moines suburb.  So, the man comparing illegal immigrants to dogs is actually an educated professional with a comfortable spot in society.  Oh, and he wants to help run our government.  Let's just say that, if you have to ask the question, "Why can't I micro-chip an illegal [immigrant]?", maybe you need to be sitting on a shrink's couch yourself.

Of course, Bertroche now claims his remarks were taken out of context:

Bertroche did not deny making the comments when asked about them Tuesday by The Associated Press. But he said he never meant to suggest he advocates illegal immigrants be microchipped like dogs, which can have chips placed beneath their skin.

"I don't support microchipping anybody and it also didn't occur to me I was comparing dogs to illegal immigrants," he said by phone.

—Associated Press, “Iowa Candidate: Microchipping Comment Not Serious”, via KCRG.com (April 28, 2010).
So, when you suggest illegal immigrants be tracked with microchips like dogs, you aren't advocating microchipping immigrants, you aren't comparing immigrants to dogs, and you aren't suggesting that illegal immigrants be given microchips for tracking purposes like dogs?  Alrighty then, glad you cleared that up.  Would hate for there to be any misunderstanding.

 Peeing on the reputations of
reasonable Republicans since 2010.

ADDENDUM (28 April 2010):  While we're on the topic, I should give Rep. Steve King credit for his proposed solution to the illegal immigration problem—electric fences.  As Rep. King put it, "We do this with livestock all the time."  Now, I grew up on a farm and put up my fair share of electric fences.  Let's just say it was no fun to touch a live wire, and such fences are highly impractical as a solution to this particular problem.  How does Iowa end up with yahoos like King and Bertroche making the national news, while intelligent Republicans like former Representatives Jim Leach and Greg Ganske find themselves out of office?

ADDENDUM (30 April 2010):  Now we have another GOP yahoo, Rep. Ted Poe of Texas, comparing illegal immigrants to "illegal grasshoppers".  Seriously.  Grasshoppers.


  1. Primaries, or worse, caucuses, or worst, conventions.

    It's actually been pretty interesting (not to mention depressing and disturbing) to watch the increasing radicalization of Republican politics trickle down from the national to the state level.

    One of the things that's been particularly surprising to me is that states trending more extreme nationally (like Utah, with its convention defeats of national officials in favor of right-wing radicals) are not necessarily trending more extreme at a state level (again Utah, with moderate Republican governors and the success a few years back of a general election write-in campaign after a radical took the Republican ballot line from a popular moderate state legislator).

    California is different, trending moderate in statewide elections but radical in district elections.

    I don't know much about Iowa politics, but my guess is that its one of the states where the reasonable Republicans you speak of are getting their ass handed to them in their party's selection process.

  2. An interesting post, but I noticed you didn't answer the question, why can't he microchip them? lol

  3. I think you might have found your first solid contender for douchebag of the year.

  4. @ Fred: I think you are correct. The Iowa Republican party has become beholden to the religious right, as it has many places nationwide. So, wingnuts like Steve King get solid support, while someone like Jim Leach (an old school "Rockefeller Republican") are viewed with suspicion within their own party base.

    @Michael: It's early in the year, but I think Bretroche has a strong case for D-Bag O' the Year. He'll certainly be in the conversation.

    @ Anon: He can't microchip them because the Bible doesn't discuss using microchips on immigrants.

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