No figure in American politics combines weirdness and consequential power like the state legislator. Just in the past decade, examples include the Georgia senator who was tricked by Sacha Baron Cohen into biting the head off a dildo and screaming the N-word to deter terrorists, the New Hampshire state representative who founded /r/TheRedPill, one of the most misogynist areas of Reddit, and the Tennessee state representative who drank out of a chocolate syrup bottle on the House floor (a privilege that I would ABSOLUTELY take advantage of).
Many of these civil servants reside and work in other states outside of Michigan. Here, we usually have legislators who don’t stray too far into personal weirdness no matter how strange their beliefs. However, there always seems to be an exception to the rule, and Michigan’s exception truly embodies this spirit of deep weirdness to go along with his munted conservatism — Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain).
You may wonder why this publication, which usually writes about campus issues, is writing about a guy who represents a remote part of Michigan over 400 miles north of East Lansing. Well, about two months ago (ten years in COVID-19 time) we came into the possession of meeting minutes from a joint meeting between the MSU College Republicans and MSU Turning Point USA. The slides were filled with useful information about upcoming conservative events along with some cursed boomer memes. These organizations wanted to bring LaFave to the university in some capacity, which brings us to the man himself (a recent graduate of this very university).
Here are many things that Rep. LaFave has done that would be bizarre to any sane human, but are selling points for MSU’s College Republicans.
Thirsting for Ben Shapiro
His pinned tweet, from a session of the Michigan House where he argued in favor of a now-tabled bill that would limit colleges’ ability to restrict speech. It’s a pretty benign bill, but LaFave’s argument — that conservatives never care when liberal speakers come to campus, but liberals descend into a shrieking horde when Ben Shapiro shows up — is wrong. Challenges to campus speakers come roughly equally from conservative, neutral, and liberal students. It doesn’t feel that way because liberals don’t have the same cottage industry of speakers going around deliberately provoking the other side, as Shapiro tends to do. Also, he’s begged for follows from personalities on Shapiro’s Daily Wire website.
Getting Into Pointless Fights With Dana Nessel on Twitter
He has bestowed the nickname “Emperor In Name Only” on Nessel. He is also convinced that it’s illegal for her to block him on Twitter from her personal account.
His issues with Nessel began when she stated (paraphrasing) that victims of clergy abuse should go to the police rather than grabbing their rosary. I couldn’t agree more with the AG’s comments. Going to the police to investigate pedophiles seems more likely to generate results now than hoping for judgment in the next life. Who should get involved if the police don’t? Not everyone who commits heinous sex crimes gets a swift, karmic retribution, as we have all noticed over the last few years of #MeToo.
LaFave is a proud Catholic, but he let this benign statement slide. Then came an incident where a retired judge was brought in to ensure MSU’s Title IX investigations comply with legal standards. Turns out that judge had argued with the Saginaw County prosecutor’s office about a home raid on a priest while working on cases of Catholic sex abuse. Although the dispute was resolved, it’s the kind of thing that should raise an eyebrow when that judge is again dealing with institutional sexual assault.
Performative Gun Usage
He open carried an “AR style pistol” to this year’s State of the State address to protest insufficiently pro-gun policies from Gov. Whitmer. In full view of the entire Michigan legislature, he then proclaimed that the Democrats were trying to take away his guns and his seat while brandishing the pistol, according to Menominee County Democratic Party chair Mari Negro. Although it was a dramatic stand, his challenge was answered a few days later when someone broke into his Lansing apartment and took two guns, including the one he took to the State of the State. Oh, how the tables turn.
That wasn’t the first time he brought out the firepower. As a candidate in 2018, he filmed himself shooting a pumpkin with “NO FAULT” carved into it as a demonstration of his dislike for Michigan’s no-fault car insurance system. In fact, he blew the pumpkin to smithereens. One moment there’s a pumpkin, the next there’s a pumpkin-colored cloud. Republicans have been doing these kind of performative displays with guns for years, but he may be the first politician I’ve ever seen show off a gun to campaign against car insurance.
Having Even Worse COVID Takes Than The Morning Watch
He released a statement blasting Whitmer for her ban on large gatherings, which he called unconstitutional. Good to know that in these times of crisis, there’s one representative fighting for my right to have one of my legendary basement raves!
He also posted videos of himself making homemade hand sanitizer with rubbing alcohol, which is very difficult to do correctly. According to people who know about this sort of thing, trying this usually results in sanitizer that’s too weak to work or so strong it destroys your hands. If you don’t have rubbing alcohol because idiots are buying it all to make bad sanitizer, never fear — he helpfully points out that you can drive to Wisconsin, buy 190 proof Everclear there since it’s illegal to sell in Michigan, and use that instead. To top it off, he places the sanitizer in a Leftist Tears tumbler (from The Daily Wire, of course) before he puts it in the fridge. Fucking deluxe.
Way back in January, he posted, with all the power vested in him as a representative, that Sears delayed his shipment of a new dishwasher to sometime in March. It’s one thing to raise these concerns privately, but this man wanted the whole world to know that Sears couldn’t authorize his card. With Sears stores closed through at least this month, it’s probably not coming anytime soon.
I know this just sounds like a long, unorganized list, but it’s truly bizarre what this man has accomplished in just four years in Lansing. A guy who brandishes guns in the Capitol, blew up a pumpkin to protest car insurance, and called the Attorney General anti-Catholic. This is the future of conservatism, the future of the Republican Party: a legion of weirdos doing performative spectacles to prove their right-wing credentials to themselves. If you think this party will turn itself around and get back to whatever rose-colored vision you had of its past, think again — the presence of weirdos like LaFave ensures that it won’t happen.