Incompetent Elected Official of the Month: Tennessee State Rep.Joe Armstrong


In a “who most deserves to have to resign?” contest between Tennessee State Rep. Joe Armstrong and sexting New Jersey County Commissioner Louis Magazzu,  Armstrong wins by a lap. The University of Tennessee bookstore has pulled a brand of novelty breath mints from its shelves, in compliance with a request from Armstrong, a loyal and incompetent Democrat. The mints  lampooned President Obama. They were packaged in tin cans with an  image of Obama and the motto, “This is change? Disappoint-mints.” The horror.

Armstrong said that the mints were offensive. Oh weally? Izzums wittle feewings wounded because evewyone doesn’y wuv your bewuvved weader?

Well, too damn bad.  Where does an elected official think he has the authority to abuse his power by censoring free speech and political criticism at a state university?  Here is Armstrong’s fatuous and unconstitutional answer:

“When you operate on state and federal dollars, you ought to be sensitive to those type of politically specific products,” Armstrong told the Knoxville News Sentinel. “If it was a private entity or corporation or store, but this is a state university. We certainly don’t want in any way to put the university in a bad light by having those political [products], particularly aimed at defaming the president.”

Suggesting that the President is a disappointment is defaming him?  What Tennessee county does this fool represent, the Moon? First of all, you can’t defame the President. Second, this an opinion, political speech, and exactly what a state university shouldn’t have to be “sensitive” to.  Finally, suggesting the President is a disappointment is nothing. If you’re offended by that, try reading half the news publications in the bookstore, Mr. Armstrong. If you aren’t disappointed in President Obama, you’re one of about twelve.

I’d argue that he would have no business using his high office to make the store stop selling T-shirts that say Obama is a  gay socialist vampire, but “Disappoint-mints”?  Does Armstrong even know what country he is in? No doubt about it, I’d rather have Magazzu representing me, even without his clothes.

Meanwhile, bookstore director David Kent, who meekly complied with Armstrong’s strongarming, should be fired. If you won’t stand up for the First Amendment, you have no business running a university book store. Although he told reporters that he  had never before received complaints when the bookstore carried similar products critical of President George W. Bush, Kent said that “ someone saw it and they were offended by it [and] brought it to the attention of a state representative. And I said ‘no problem, we’ll remove them.'”

Right. A government official censoring political speech is “no problem.”

Kent should run for the Tennessee legislature.

20 thoughts on “Incompetent Elected Official of the Month: Tennessee State Rep.Joe Armstrong

  1. I totally agree. I got a huge kick out of the “Impeach-mints” during the Bush 2 era. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

    • 1) Those are great. The “Impeachmints’ were the Bush version sold in the store; that’s not defamation either, but its a lot more insulting than the Obama candy.
      2) Idiot is right.
      3) But what are the consequences of this for him? The guy not only tried to use his government status to stifle political speech (of the most innocuous sort, not that this matters), but it worked, because he was dealing with a weenie. Everyone goes bananas over potential infringements on free speech, like in the patriot Act, but shrugs off the real thing. I don’t care if it is just candy—this is political censorship.

      • 1) Entertainingly, I bet the Dissappointmints are bought by far left liberals along with the right. I doubt far right republicans bought Indictmints. (Disclosure: I have bought Indictmints, Last Supper After Dinner Mints, and Soldier Bush Beans.)

        3) What should happen? The university should bring a civil rights suit against the congressman. They should have done that instead of not selling the mints. Now? I don’t know. Where’s F.I.R.E. at?

  2. I suppose sometime soon that that university bookstore will have to stop selling science textbooks because some evangelical is “offended” that they don’t include creationism. Individual citizens’ groups have already burned “offensive” books in several jurisdictions.

    Free speech is free speech (I know, I know, with some exceptions.) It was perfectly fine to lampoon George Bush at every opportunity, but we certainly can’t offend Obama and his supporters, can we? Who’s behind all this? I pick Barbra Streisand and Alec Baldwin (smile) and their ultra-liberal cabal, i.e., people who have so much money that no socialistic policy will ever touch them financially… conspiracy theory # 4,327. Weren’t they among the group that promised to move to Canada if Bush was elected for a second term? Too bad they and their cabal didn’t..

    Seriously though, to me, this isn’t funny. It’s frightening.

      • Yes, but the uber-rich have so much money that they suffer less for it. Paul McCartney keeps accumulating money even with Britain’s confiscatory tax rate. If I have 20 billion, I don’t care as much about losing 90% of my money as a mere millionaire does—I still have a billion left..The uber-rich also have resources to move money around, making them less vulnerable to income distribution. And then there’s the fact that a lot of the uber-rich—especially in entertainment and sports— are shallow cretins, who don’t know what the hell they are talking about.

        • Counterfactuals will get you no where. I don’t see anyone suggesting a 90% tax on millionaires.

          I was actually referencing the tea-party/right-libertarians/current-repubican-party ideas on this one. I don’t believe the proposed policies hurt the uber-rich a noticeable amount or the simply-rich a significant amount compared to the benefits to the uber-poor and simply-poor.

          We’re going off topic a bit. I was just noting that it appeared the Elizabeth was playing both sides of the Obama’s-policies-hurt-rich-people line.

  3. The Left is already in control of the curricula of the colleges- both state and private- to a vast degree… just as they are of the media. However, to them, nothing less than total control of education and communication is acceptible. This incident not only illustrates this point, but likewise the absolute gutlessness of academia to draw a line against even the silliest of things that might- conceivably- upset their politically correct regime. It’s time for the taxpayers to take their schools back from the Ivy Insurgents.

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