Honorables unbound! Let’s go to the tape

Once again the General Assembly takes the floor, and once again we can expect the ensuing somnolence to be relieved by intermittent bursts of rhetorical excess. Three favorites from past sessions:

— Opposing a 2006 ethics bill that would cut back legislators’ take from lobbyists, Rep. Drew Saunders, D-Mecklenburg, argued that “Even the baby Jesus accepted gifts, and I don’t think it corrupted Him.”

— Rep. John Kerr, D-Wayne, stood up for the tobacco industry in 1990: “If it’s so bad, why do you see all the Japanese and the French and the English, every time you watch them on television, they’re all smoking?”

— In 1989, speaking against obscene bumper stickers, Sen. Bob Shaw, R-Guilford, imagined the pioneers tossing aside freedom of speech “if somebody had written four-letter words all over their wagons. There would have been some hangings, ladies and gentlemen.”.