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CawthWatch: Slate lampoons freshman class of 'notorious national bozos'

The latest installment of CawthWatch, a compilation of Cawthornia.


Slate features freshman class of 'Nation's notorious bozos'


If you want my guns ...

If you want my guns, you'll have to come get them, U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn warned on the House floor as he defended Second Amendment rights.

"Mr. Speaker, if we lose the 2nd Amendment, then the 1st will fall," Cawthorn said. "I want to remind my colleagues of a simple fact that too often seems to just be swept under the rug by the left. Americans have a RIGHT to obtain firearms for lawful purposes. I’ll say it louder so that those on the left sleeping in the back of the room hear it as well: Americans have a right to obtain firearms.

"This is my right. And Mr. Speaker, it’s your right as well. But let me be clear to everyone in this chamber. You will not take this right away. It’s easy to be sucked into the D.C. bubble, but I am here to tell you that outside this bubble, in real America, when we say, “come and take it” We damn well mean it.

"This bill would unconstitutionally place the burden of proof for firearms transfers on American citizens instead of placing the burden firmly where it belongs, on the shoulders of the government.

"But let us be clear, the left is not here today to debate this bill, nor are they here legislate in the best interest of the American people, they are here to shove it down our throats. My colleagues and I on the right have been called here to defend one of our most sacred rights. Because you Mr. Speaker think that the Constitution is just another piece of paper to tear down the middle and toss aside.

"I speak for millions of Americans, I speak for the 700,000 plus Americans in my district, when I say,'If you think that this bastardization of the Constitution will be met with silence, then you know nothing of the America I know.' You want my guns, I know it – we all know it. Well Mr. Speaker, you can come and take them."

This is the latest installment of CawthWatch, a regular feature of the Lightning. Here is the introductory installment:

When it comes to national political coverage, Madison Cawthorn is the gift that keeps on giving.

We've elected a representative who seems to be worthy of two superlatives. He is in fact the youngest member of Congress and one might argue that over the past three months has been the most covered in the press, on line and on cable television.

Today we debut CawthWatch, a service of to keep readers updated on the dozens soon to be hundreds of stories, profiles, Tweets (some not all), newsletter updates (from the congressman) and the rest of the flotsam and jetsam in the over-wrought current of Cawthornia. Why CawthWatch? Because we like anagrams.

Let me be clear: CawthWatch is not original reporting of the Hendersonville Lightning. We take no credit nor blame for the stories that we discover — or, as often, are discovered by others and brought to our attention. As far as I can tell, the rate of Madison Cawthorn stories or startling and interesting Tweetstorms is running better than one a week — more than the Lightning with limited resources can try to match. The closer it happens to where we're sitting, the more we care about it. Cawthorn himself — whether he would admit it or not — has become already a creature of Washington and a magnet for coverage by a press corps always eager to raise the profile of the fringiest members of the House and Senate on the left and right extremes.

Have you seen this???!!! is the tenor of many email alerts we get about the various profiles, revelations or what Cawthorn supporters might regard as hit pieces. They cut both ways. I had two readers beg me for a week to "run the story" about Rep. Cawthorn carrying pizza to a parking garage where National Guard soldiers deployed to protect the U.S. Capitol were bivouacked. Although Rep. Cawthorn tweeted a photo about it, there was no news release from his communications office, no coverage to link to.

The dozens of stories on Cawthorn's personal history — from his home-schooled high years here in Henderson County to the life-altering crash that became a pivot-point in his biography to his decisive wins in last year's primary and the general election — typify the derivative nature of Washington coverage in the digital age. Back when newspapers had librarians who cut out stories from that day's paper, stuffed them in envelopes and filed them in the morgue, we called these stories "clip jobs."

Two in-depth stories on Cawthorn published in the past week — one by Buzzfeed and the other by the Washington Post — are clip jobs for the digital age. The World, a conservative magazine and website based in Asheville, was the first as far as I can tell to publish a story about Cawthorn's unwanted sexual advances as a 17- or 18-year-old. Tom Fiedler, part of a herd of top-notch semi-retired reporters that is doing some strong work in the new Asheville Watchdog, followed The World with an in-depth story on Cawthorn's time at Patrick Henry College, providing more detail than anyone before him and reporting on a petition signed by Patrick Henry alumni calling Cawthorn a predator and opposing his election to Congress.

Both the Buzzfeed and Washington Post stories drew heavily on these two earlier stories but broke new ground as well. Decide for yourself.

To update CawthWatch as often as warranted, we'll try to spot Cawthorn stories or retrieve them from our in-box and pass them along.

FoxNews on Cawthorn at CPAC: The U.S. is "walking down a road very near socialism. They are trying to turn this country into a Communist ash heap. It is not enough take on the status quo and say, I’ll just patiently wait for my time. ... This new generation of young conservatives, we do not want a seat at the table to talk about, react to what Democrats do, we want to run the whole damn table."

Cawthorn prays with a fellow wheelchair-bound attendee at CPAC. "I had a very emotional moment, praying with my young conservative brother," he said. "I don’t want to ever forget that the people I work for are men and women just like myself."

Video highlights of Cawthorn's speech at CPAC (1 minute, 35 seconds), included as a link in Cawthorn's monthly newsletter on Thursday:

Buzzfeed story on accusations of unwanted sexual advances by Cawthorn when he was a student at Patrick Henry University in Virginia:

Washington Post story, "How falsehoods helped propel career of a new pro-Trump star of the far right.":

N.C. Republicans who censured are Burr silent on Cawthorn, accused ot sexual harassment and lying about his background (Washington Post):

Although not a mix of positive and negative coverage like CawthWatch, IndyWeek in the Triangle tells its readers "All The Reasons Why N.C. Congressman Madison Cawthorn Is The Worst":

CNN: "Who is Madison Cawthorn really." In a sure sign that the refrain of Cawthorn lied about the car crash, has a thin work record, wasn't a particularly devoted student, made unwanted sexual advances, lied about having been admitted to the Naval Academy, is neverthless successful as a Trump mini-me and self-styled Washington "outsider" has run its course, CNN editor at large Chris Cillizza interviews longtime political reporter John Boyle of the Asheville Citizen-Times about Cawthorn. In which Boyle coins a right-on one-sentence description of the 11th Congressional District. Check it out here:

For more — and no doubt there will be more — come back to CawthWatch frequently.

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Send CawthWatch fodder to Lightning editor