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Drunken Republican Congressman Skinny Dips in Sea of Galilee

Galilee was the scene of many of the most important moments in the life of Jesus Christ, from the miraculous transformation of water into wine at the wedding in Cana, to his walking on water on the Sea of Galilee. Not that we expect them to walk on water, but some Republican congressmen and staffers seem to have rather miserably failed to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.

Politico has the details on last year’s junket, which apparently included the consumption of a great deal of alcohol at a restaurant on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, followed by a clothing-optional dip in said waters. The exploits have earned the troupe an FBI probe and the scorn of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor:

These trips to the Holy Land are a rite of passage for members of Congress, as they visit the most sacred sites in the Jewish and Christian faiths – while their Israeli government hosts drive home the huge importance of U.S. support of Israel. That’s partially why, when the trip devolved into drinking and merrymaking, Cantor was livid.

We’re betting that the Politico story is the beginning rather than the end of the published details of this dreary mess. Unfortunately this comes at a time when American public relations with Israel would be best uninterrupted by messes—even goofy ones like this cheeky dip in the Sea.

Only Jesus could still the waves of scandal that otherwise threaten to sink this sorry ship of fools, and at the moment he seems to have other things on his mind.

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  • WigWag

    And then there’s the Tea Party hero, Todd Akin, running as the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri who assures us that women who get raped can’t become pregnant if the rape is “legitimate.”

    To his credit Governor Romney disavowed the comment but there is no indication whether he checked with his running mate to get his views before he condemned Akin.

    For more go here,

  • ben h

    Sorry but isn’t the story that the FBI is spying on opposition politicians? I didn’t see anything in that Politico story alleging any illegal behavior whatsoever.

    I am under the impression that late night intoxicated behavior isn’t precisely in the jurisdiction of the FBI. I thought they had one or two other more important things to do but I guess not. Maybe we should reconsider their funding…

    Considering the behavior – late night swimming – is not actually scandalous you really have to ask where these stories are coming from. News flash, people take off most of their clothes to go swimming most of the time.

  • John Burke

    I agree with ben. The real issue is why the FBI is “probing” this incident and not incidentally, did the FBI leak details despite its on-the-record statement of no comment.

    That does not get the GOPers off the hook for behaving like teens on spring break while on a supposedly important junket to another nation, but the story carries force because it begins with “the FBI is probing” as if someone broke the law.

  • thibaud

    More miraculous transformations, courtesy of this stunningly amateurish and incompetent GOP campaign:

    Medicare, formerly the scourge of Norquistians everywhere, has been infused with the breath of the divine. Fie upon those infidels who want to make Medicare more efficient! Hie thee hence, o wicked ones, from the Holy House of Medicare!

    Zygotes now have human rights. Miscarriage and in vitro fertilization are tantamount to manslaughter.

    Killing Osama Bin Laden is actually evidence of Obama’s deep hatred of America. Plus he took his eye off the ball. Or something.

  • Andrew Allison

    I agree with the previous two commentators. VM missed the story here.

  • thibaud

    Wig – Akin’s merely continuing the proud GOP tradition when it comes to dismissing rape.

    GOP governor candidate Clayton Williams (TX): “Just relax and enjoy it.”

    GOP senate candidate Sharron Angle (NV), GOP Idaho state senator Brent Crane: “Have a little faith” – rape is all in God’s plan.

    GOP senate candidate Ken Buck (FL): as a DA, Buck argued that a rape victim had “buyer’s remorse.”

    GOP state legislator Kathleen Passidomo (FL): an 11 year-old who was gang raped deserved it because she was “dressed like a prostitute. And her parents let her attend school like that!”

    GOP Cong. Steve King (IA): lone vote against empowering Native American law enforcement to investigate rape on tribal lands. No argument as to why.

    GOP state Rep. Henry Aldridge (NC): “The facts show that people who are raped — who are truly raped — the juices don’t flow…”

    GOP vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan: Abortion is murder and must be criminalized in all circumstances, including cases of rape, and even when carrying the pregnancy to term would endanger the rape victim’s life.

  • Eurydice

    I join the rest in wondering what the FBI has to do with this. And if the substance of this probe was one guy making a call to a staffer and asking a couple of questions (as mentioned in the article), maybe the FBI was wondering why the heck it was involved, too.

  • Jim.

    [Please refrain from disparaging other commenters.]

    As for the article- yeah, this strikes me as a partisan hatchet job, too. I’m surprised Cantor fell for it.

  • Bryan

    I cannot possibly conceive of a bigger non-story than this. Has anyone ever been to Israel in August? It’s HOT. What do you do when you’re ridiculously hot and next to a body of water? Jump in.

    This didn’t happen in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan. Nobody in Israel would care about this. In fact, Israel Hayom, Israel’s largest daily newspaper, takes basically the same position as previous commenters: why is the FBI even investigating this at all?

  • Art Deco

    If the trip was privately funded, there is no scandal unless there is some indication the donors were subject to promises or extortion.

    Some people had too much to drink and several went swimming in their clothes (and one without his clothes). That is somewhat silly and vulgar, but it is difficult to believe this would ever be the subject of press inquiries much less a federal police investigation if there were not some sort of political object. There are few serious Methodists or Mormons in the press corps.

  • Boritz

    Was the sex between consenting adults? If so there is no issue. Let’s put Bill and Monica to bed once and for all.
    Wait, there was no sex? Nude swimming?
    This is about nude swimming? What?
    Ha! You had me going’ there.
    I even believed the part about the FBI too. Yeah! Send in Jack Bauer to torture some answers out of the participants.

  • Mick The Reactionary

    System has swallowed 2 of my comments today.

    Is there a problem with Comments system or I was bannned from this site?

  • Luke Lea

    Speaking of walking on the water and all, no matter your politics this is pretty funny:

    You Didn’t Build That

    Readings from the Book of Barack

    1 In the beginning Govt created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the economy was formless and void, darkness was over the surface of the ATMs, and the Spirit of Govt was hovering over the land.

    3 And Govt said, “Let there be spending,” and there was spending. 4 Govt saw that the spending was good, and that it separated the light from the darkness. 5 Govt called the spending Investments, and this he did in the first day.

    6 Then Govt said, “Let there be roads and bridges across the waters, and let dams divide the waters from the waters.” 7 Thus Govt made the infrastructure and the patronage jobs for eternity under the firmament from the Potomac which was above the firmament; and it was so. 8 And Govt called the firmament Washington. This Govt did on the second day.

    9 Then Govt said, “Let the regulations and the guidlines under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the Bureaus appear”; and it was so. 10 And Govt called the Bureaus demigovts, and the gathering together of them He called AFSCME. And Govt saw that it was good.

    11 Then Govt said, “Let there be police, and firefighters, and teachers according to their kind, for they will create more jobs”; and it was so. 12 And then Govt bade the void bring forth crime, and arson, and stupidity, that each would yield seed to bring forth more police, and firefighters, and teachers, and jobs. And Govt saw that it was good. 13 So the evening and the morning were the third day.

    14 On the fourth day Govt said, “Let Us make the economy in Our image, according to Our likeness; let it have dominion over the cars of the road, over the appliances of the supercenters, and over the pet groomers of the strip malls, over all the clickthroughs of Amazon and over every creepy thing of the Dollar Stores.” 15 So Govt created the economy in His own image; services and wholesale and retail He created them. 16 Then Govt blessed them, and Govt said to them, “Be fruitful and use the multiplier effect; fill the land with jobs; thou have dominion over thy realm, within limits, as long and thou remember to get thy permits and tithe thy taxes, for they are good. Hope to see you at the fundraiser.”

    17 And on the fifth day Govt made an official Govt holiday, and headed off for a 3-day golf weekend at Camp David. But first Govt said to the economy, “you are free to eat from any tree in the garden, except the tree of Knowledge. There is a serpent in that thing, and thy health care does not cover it.”

    from Iowahawk

  • Charles R. Williams

    People on junkets get drunk and misbehave all the time. Skinny dipping at night in a lake with a mixed group of grown-up colleagues? This is probably not even illegal. Boorish and rude, yes. It is not immoral to swim naked. It is rude under certain circumstances. When people have too much to drink they do boorish things. The sea of Galilee is a holy site? It is a large fresh water lake. This should be viewed as either a momentary lapse in judgment or an indication that Yoder may have a drinking problem. This is something sensible people laugh about.

    Akin’s comments are another matter entirely.

  • Jim.


    That had to be the most gentle case of “disparaging” the Internet has ever seen.

    Please consider, if you’re trying to maintain a high-minded level of discussion here at this site, you need to wield your censor’s brackets with a bit better judgement. More “disparaging” comments than that one, and certainly comments more damaging to the tone of the site, have gone through unchallenged.

    Off-topic posts of regurgitated talking points are more of a threat to this site’s discussions than comments calling out said posts. Talk to the Professor about that.

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