Lighter than air

Rep. Hank Johnson is, as they say in presidential nominating speeches, “the man who.” Rep. Johnson is the man who worried that the island of Guam might capsize. In 2010 Johnson expressed concern at a hearing that the planned military buildup on the island of Guam might cause the island “to tip over and capsize.” The testifying naval officer struggled manfully to reassure Rep. Johnson that the island would survive.

On Thursday Rep. Johnson spoke in favor of helium legislation before the House. But the real purpose of his speech, the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake explains, was to attack Republicans for spending two days debating helium legislation rather than other important issues.

“Imagine, Mr. Speaker, a world without balloons,” Johnson said. “How can we make sure that the injustice of there being no helium for comedians to get that high-pitched voice that we all hold near and dear to our hearts.”

Johnson continued: “Too often lately, this body has sat deflated — not for lack of hot air, mind you. But seriously, ladies and gentlemen, unlike a noble element, this House has failed to act on Americans’ real concerns.”

Johnson concluded: ”I’d like to float a simple idea: Stop wasting out time. Let’s get to the business that is meaningful for Americans.

The Post contacted Johnson spokesman Andy Phelan to confirm that Johnson was speaking satirically. He was, according to his spokesman, being humorous: “He was emphasizing the fact that the Republican-led House was taking two days to pass a non-controversial bill while they should be working on more important issues such as creating jobs, fixing the sequester and on budget issues.”

Well, what did you expect him to say? He’s already used the “metaphor” shtick.

Let me translate. Back in 2010, Rep. Johnson was funny unintentionally. This time around, according to his spokesman, Rep. Johnson is being funny — intentionally. Hey, thanks for clearing that up.

Via Andrew Johnson/NRO.

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