Glenn Beck's Favorite Congressman Takes On Cass Sunstein, Glenn Beck's Most Hated Foe

May 25, 2011 1:06 pm ET

During a May 25 oversight hearing, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) challenged Cass Sunstein, Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, with a series of attacks that mirrored Fox News host Glenn Beck's past smears of Sunstein. Beck has previously identified Sunstein as "the most dangerous man in America" and as someone who is "evil." As Political Correction has previously noted, Chaffetz has often used his position on the House Oversight Committee to serve as Glenn Beck's man in Congress

Chaffetz Uses Beck's Attacks In Questioning Sunstein

Chaffetz Echoes Beck On Sunstein And Hunting

Chaffetz Asked Sunstein About Comment That "We Ought To Ban Hunting." From the May 25 hearing of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Technology:

CHAFFETZ: In a 2007 speech, I believe you said, quote "We ought to ban hunting." End quote. Is that something that you or anyone in the administration is working on at this point?

SUNSTEIN: Absolutely not. [House Oversight Subcommittee on Technology hearing, 5/25/11]

Beck Cited Sunstein Quote As Evidence Obama Administration Wants To "Destroy The Second Amendment." From the March 16 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: By the way, Cass also wants to reverse the Constitution from a charter of negative liberties to positive liberties, which means government tells you what you're allowed to do, not you telling the government.

Sunstein also talked about this -- now this is, this is -- this is so normal. He just thinks we should ban hunting as well.


SUNSTEIN: We ought to ban hunting, I suggest, if there isn't a purpose other than sport and fun. That should be against the law.


BECK: OK, Wayne, how could you say that you're sitting down with a group of people that have worked their whole life to destroy the Second Amendment? These people are not extremists. It's you, Wayne LaPierre, and your people at the NRA. Wait a minute, I'm one of those people that joined the NRA. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/16/11, via Nexis]

Chaffetz Echoes Beck On Sunstein And Gun Control Legislation

Chaffetz Asked Sunstein About Book Statement That "Almost All Gun Control Legislation Is Constitutionally Fine." From the May 25 hearing of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Technology:

CHAFFETZ: Um, you had said, um, in your book - or written in your book - Radicals and Robes [sic], quote "almost all gun legislation is constitutionally fine. And if the court is right, then fundamentalism does not justify the view that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to bear arms." End quote. Is that something that you or anybody in the administration is working on?

SUNSTEIN: No, that quotation actually is from a position, not a position I held at the time, I was describing a position that some other people held. In any case, one thing that's very clear is what academics write in their academic capacity has exactly no appropriate bearing on what governmental officials do in their governmental capacity. [House Oversight Subcommittee on Technology hearing, 5/25/11]

Indeed, Sunstein Was Saying "Almost All Gun Control Legislation Is Constitutionally Fine" Based On "One View," And Said He Was "Not Saying There Is No Individual Right To Bear Arms." From Sunstein's Radicals in Robes:

If fundamentalists have their way, we should expect a kind of constitutional revolution in which the Second Amendment results in judicial decisions striking down gun control laws. Those who favor gun control legislation are now on the constitutional defensive. In Judge Douglas Ginsburg's words: "And now let the litigation begin."

Should we really want that? Let's start, as fundamentalists rightly do, with the constitutional text. There is something unusual about the words of the Second Amendment. Uniquely among the provisions of the Bill of Rights, it has its own preamble, "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State." Why does it begin this way? On the basis of the text alone, we might plausibly think that this amendment does not create an individual right to bear arms at all. Indeed the Second Amendment, which applies only to the national government, might really be about federalism. On one view, it was understood above all to prohibit the young government from banning state militias - which the amendment's supporters saw as "necessary to the security of a free State." On this view, the Second Amendment forbids Congress to ban state militias, but it does not stop the national government from regulating guns for controlling individual gun ownership, so long as militias are not implicated.

Does this interpretation seem implausible? In fact the major Supreme Court decision on the Second Amendment seemed to adopt it; and this has been the law for more than sixty years. In United States v. Miller, decided in 1939, the Supreme Court held that Congress could forbid the interstate transportation of sawed-off shotguns. The Court said that the Second Amendment must be interpreted in light of the constitutional goal of recognizing and permitting militias. "With obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such forces the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted and applied with that end in view." The Court believed this point was enough to establish the legitimacy of the law in question. There was no evidence that sawed-off shotguns have "some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia." Hence the Court could not "say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument."

If this pronouncement is taken seriously, then almost all gun control legislation is constitutionally fine. And if the Court is right, then fundamentalism does not justify the view that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms. Those who contend that it does are arguing politics, not law.

Of course, the Supreme Court could have been wrong in the Miller case. But its reading of the text is reasonable, and the history is not without ambiguity. I am not insisting that there is no individual right to bear arms; the history can plausibly be read to support that right. But on the Constitution's text, fundamentalists should not be so confident in their enthusiasm for invalidating gun control legislation. [Radicals in Robes, 2005, pg 219-220, via]

Beck Used Gun Control Legislation Quote To Pit Sunstein Against Thomas Jefferson. From the October 29, 2009, edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: Next, gun rights versus gun control. Thomas Jefferson on gun rights, "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain their right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."

Gee, I thought it was all about the hunters. Compare that to what White House regulatory czar Cass Sunstein said about guns, "Almost all gun control legislation is constitutionally fine. And if the court is right, then fundamentalism does not justify the view that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms."

America, that's pretty clear. You going to go with Thomas Jefferson or Cass Sunstein? The Senate went for Cass Sunstein. How about you? [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 10/29/09, via Nexis]

Beck Called Sunstein "The Most Dangerous Man In America" In Part Because He Allegedly "Doesn't Believe" The Second Amendment "Creates An Individual Right." From the March 16 edition of Glenn Beck:

BECK: Then we go to the regulatory czar, the most dangerous man in America. And this is when he's beginning to come into his full power. These are his days. I told you about him, and told you earlier -- or last year watch it, because now we go into regulatory nightmares.

Here is Cass Sunstein. He's called the Second Amendment the Constitution's most mysterious right. He doesn't believe the amendment creates an individual right. No, no, no. That right is so that we can give guns to the militias and to the army.

Oh! We had to right that one down? [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/16/11, via Nexis]

Chaffetz Echoes Beck On Sunstein And Animal Rights

Chaffetz Asked Sunstein About His Statement That Animals Should Have Some Legal Rights.

CHAFFETZ: You were, I believe the quote is - you had said- quote, "animals should be able to bring suit with human beings as their representatives." Is that something you're working on or anybody in the administration is working on?

SUNSTEIN: We're working on implementation of Executive Order 13563. And not on those issues. [House Oversight Subcommittee on Technology hearing, 5/25/11]

Beck: "A Rat Could Sue You" Based On Sunstein's Writings. From the September 2, 2009, edition of Glenn Beck:

BECK: Then, let's move to another office in the White House, another advisor of the president, a regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein. He didn't want to control pet populations. He wanted your pet to have an attorney.

Animals should be -- I'm quoting -- "Animals should be permitted to bring suit with human beings as their representatives to prevent violations of current law." What kind of animals would be included in that? Well, if they could find out if rats suffer, and you're trying to trap rats or kick them out of your house, a rat could sue you. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 9/2/09, via Nexis]

Beck: Sunstein Said "You Should Not Be Able To Remove Rats From Your Home If It Causes Them Any Pain." From the September 9, 2009, edition of Glenn Beck:

BECK: Now, what does that mean for you? Well, from a man who doesn't believe we should be eating meat, from a man who believes that animals should be provided attorneys in the courts of law, a man who believes that everyone must be an organ donor, a man that believes that you should not be able to remove rats from your home if it causes them any pain.

I mean, I'm fond -- you know, when I was 8 -- of the Michael Jackson song "Ben," I mean, just as much as any 8-year-old kid was. But do you really want a police officer, you know, telling Ben, who's just shown up in your home, "Ben, you have a right to remain silent. If they try to remove you from the home, you have the right to an attorney. And if you can't afford an attorney, Ben, one will be provided for you." [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 9/9/09, via Nexis]

In Fact, Sunstein Argued Humans Have "Strong Justification" For "Eliminating" Rats Because Of Disease Risk. From the introductory chapter to Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions, titled "Introduction: What Are Animal Rights?"


There is an obvious question in the background. We have seen that animals might have rights in a minimal sense or in a much larger sense. But people do not see all animals in the same way. They might agree that human beings should protect the interests of dogs, cats and dolphins; they are unlikely to think the same about ants, mosquitoes, and cockroaches; rats, mice, and squirrels seem to be an intermediate case. It is often objected, to those who believe in animal rights, that their position would lead to truly ludicrous conclusions -- to the (ridiculous?) suggestion that people cannot kill ants or mosquitoes, or rid their houses of rats and cockroaches.

Those who emphasize suffering have a simple answer to this objection: Everything depends on whether and to what extent the animal in question is capable of suffering. If rats are able to suffer, then their interests are relevant to the question of how, and perhaps even whether, they can be expelled from houses. At the very least, people should kill rats in a way that minimizes distress and suffering. These claims should not be taken as radical or extreme; many people already take steps in just this direction. On this view, if ants and mosquitoes have no claim to human concern -- if they can be killed at our whim -- it is because they suffer little or not at all. Here we have some empirical questions about the capacities of creatures of various sorts. And utilitarians should certainly be willing to engage in a degree of balancing. If human beings are at risk of illness and disease from mosquitoes and rats, they have a strong justification, perhaps even one of self-defense, for eliminating or relocating them. [Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions, 2004, page 12, via Media Matters]

Beck: Sunstein Is "The Most Dangerous Man In America," "Evil"

Beck: Obama Official Cass Sunstein Is "The Most Dangerous Man In America." From the September 22, 2010, edition of Glenn Beck

BECK: Let me start with the most dangerous man in America: Cass Sunstein. Here he is. He seems like a nice guy. I know Republicans who love him. I know Republicans who say, "I'm crazy about" -- that's fine. That's fine. Let the evidence of his actions and his own words -- and you decide. Let me put them out, and you decide.

I say he's the most dangerous man for a couple of reasons, and for about a year and a half, you haven't understood, because you haven't seen his work, and I haven't been able to point to his work until now. But now that I can -- look out, the clock is ticking. He doesn't have to post his work online anywhere. He doesn't answer to you. He doesn't have to hold a press conference. He doesn't have to do anything except what he wants to do. And you're not gonna know anything about what he's done until long after he's gone.

Now, that's the first reason. The first reason he's dangerous is 'cause you never see him coming. But he's also dangerous because, beside the unlimited, unchecked power that he has to regulate every single industry and every single person in America, he also believes that the best solution for America to fix it, because we both agree it's unsustainable, is the redistribution of wealth and a global government run by elites. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 9/22/10, via Media Matters]

Beck: Sunstein "Controls Everything Through Nudges," Has "More Power Than The Fed." From the September 9, 2010, edition of Glenn Beck:

BECK: This is the man that controls everything through nudges. He'll just nudge you. He'll never tell you what to do, he nudges.

Do you remember the "Truman Show"? Do you remember the guy, the director up in the control room? Watch this. Remember? Where is he?

That guy! That guy. Truman still had his freedoms. He was just -- he was just nudging him in the right direction.

Cass Sunstein actually calls this, what he does, "choice architecture" -- architecture to help you with choices. He is the guy who controls the storms that keep -- you know, keep Truman from leaving. He's the guy who controls the traffic light to make you late. He is the guy doing this.

Put it up on the sign, Cass Sunstein, will you? He's off the island. Uh-oh, forest fire -- don't go that way. Nudge!

If that's not enough, oh, what are we going to do? We get -- oh, light the road on fire. Nudge! You drive through again. What happens in the end?

Cass Sunstein has wanted the job in the control room his whole life -- his whole life. In 2008, on campaign trail, he went on a date with his soon-to-be wife Samantha Power. She asked him, "Cass, what is your dream job?" He said and I quote her, "I expected him to say he dreamt of playing for the Red Sox. His eyes got real big and he said, 'Ooh! OIRA!'" Geek!

Most people will say, well, what's the big deal, so, he wanted a geek job? Well, only geeks know what this job really is. Any geek who knows history knows why you say "Ooh!" It's one of the most powerful jobs in the world. You're looking at more power than the fed. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 9/2/10, via Nexis]

Beck: Sunstein Is "The Most Evil Man, Most Dangerous Man In America." From the October 18, 2010, edition of Glenn Beck:

BECK: Now, they're transitioning to make health care a right along with education -- just as FDR planned on doing. Oh, the Second Bill of Rights, FDR and unfinished revolution, and why we need them more -- oh, written by Cass Sunstein, the guy I've saying for about a year as the most evil man, most dangerous man in America.

This has been the plan from the beginning. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 10/18/10, via Media Matters]

Beck: "Refounder" Chaffetz Is One Of The "Good Republicans" "That I Trust"

Beck Named Chaffetz As One Of The "Good Republicans Out There." From Beck's Fox News program:

BECK: Now, there are good Republicans out there. Obviously, DeMint is one. I think Michele Bachmann of Minnesota is one -- Jason Chaffetz of Utah, Ted Poe and John Culberson of Texas. I'm sorry -- and the more I name, the more I keep thinking, I'm sorry guys for calling you out like this because -- now there is just a hate on you. Mike Pence of Indiana. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 10/25/10, via Nexis]

Beck Said Chaffetz Is One Of The "Good Guys" "That I Trust," Hosted Him To Discuss For Whom His Audience Should Vote. From Beck's Fox News program:

BECK: When it comes to voting, who do we send? What do they need? What are we looking for? How do we get our country back on course?

America is awake now. Now, maybe we need just a little bit more focus.

I wanted to show you some of the good guys that need your help.

From Minnesota: Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

These are three people that I trust.

There is the Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz. Jason first came to mind or came to my attention when -- there was a story printed in a local newspaper that he was embarrassing his daughter when he went to, I think it was a Wal-Mart.

Jason, was it a Wal-Mart?

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: A little grocery store, not a Wal- Mart. But a little grocery store. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 10/26/10, via Nexis]

Beck Would "Vote For" Chaffetz Because He Is A "Person Of Character." From Beck's Fox News program:

BECK: OK. So, let's kind of open this up to you, guys, in Congress.

I will tell you that I'm done wasting my vote. I'm tired of people telling me I'm wasting my vote by not voting for somebody who I really believe in because they don't have a chance, you know? Well, then you're going to get -- then you're going to have the liberal -- well, I got the Republicans in anyway and they stunk on ice for a very long time. So, didn't I waste all of those votes for a long time?

I'm going to vote for a person of character -- so I guess I would go with you, Jason. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 10/26/10, via Nexis]

Beck: Unlike Most In Congress, Chaffetz Still Has "An Ounce Of [His] Soul Left." From Beck's radio show:

GLENN: You bet, bye bye. I want you to know I don't endorse any candidate, I don't endorse any congressman, any senator. I don't trust any of them. But I decided I'm not going to go to I'm going to go to the barrel. I'm not going to keep going. I'm going to go to the tree; I'm not going to go to the barrel. I've stopped looking for people who have been there for a long time. Name the person that has gone to Washington and come back years later as a better person. I can't. So I'm going to go to the freshmen, while they still have an ounce of their soul left, and Chaffetz is one of them. And he really does want to get in there and expose the corruption, and he really doesn't care which side it's on. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program12/11/09, Via]

Beck Said Chaffetz "Should Be A Refounder" Because He "Gets It And Is Always On The Front Line Fighting For The Right Things." From Beck's radio show:

GLENN: We have a guy who -- I don't know if he's a refounder or not because they don't tell me who the refounders are. He should be a refounder. Jason Chaffetz is a Congressman in Washington DC. He's from Utah and he's one guy who gets it and is always on the front line fighting for the right things. He has been helping us on the freedom of information to be able to find out what the hell is going on with Freddie and Fannie, especially in relations to the cap and trade business and the climate exchange, the Chicago climate exchange.


GLENN: Jason, thank you very much. We'll talk to you again. All right. There are good guys in Washington and Jason Chaffetz is one of them. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program7/15/10, via]

Beck: Chaffetz Is "One Of The Good Guys In Congress." From Beck's radio show:

GLENN: We have Jason Chaffetz on, Congressman from Utah. Jason is one of the good guys in Congress and I say that I think I can count many of them on I think I might count all of them on one hand, but maybe it will take two, but he's one of the fingers, if I'm counting the good guys in Congress. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program9/27/10, via]

Beck: Chaffetz Is A "True Republican" From "The Jefferson Part Of The Movement." From Beck's radio show:

GLENN: No, that was only the, that was only the Jefferson part of the movement. The tea party thing is really the Jefferson, Jefferson. A Republican. Not in the way we know them now. Before daddy's favorite president. Before there were progressives. A true Republican, which is for state control. Not a big federal government. I mean, how far away from the true Republican can you possibly be? If I said a Republican is somebody who is for the smallest possible government and does not like state wants state control, not federal control, name the Republicans that think that way.

STU: You mean currently?

GLENN: Yeah.

STU: That want the small I mean like obviously Jim DeMint type.

GLENN: Jim DeMint,

PAT: Michele Bachmann.

GLENN: Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul.

PAT: Jason Chaffetz.

GLENN: Jason Chaffetz. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program2/9/10, via]

Beck Identified Chaffetz As "An Honest Guy," Says "Take Him At His Word." From Beck's radio show:

GLENN: - being exposed. Now, remember the things that you are seeing - according to Jason Chaffetz, he says that this is not - what you are seeing is not real. He's seen the - he's seen the actual classified photos. Because it's all classified because they are - you know, they're citizens.

PAT: Yes.

GLENN: So he's seen the classified photos. He says it's absolute pornography. He said you can see absolutely everything. And they can save it and they can send it from the machine.

PAT: Didn't he say you could see the sweat on their back?

GLENN: Oh, yeah. He said it is so crystal clear, if somebody's sweating, you can see the sweat come down their back.

STU: And I know, and he's very against it. I haven't seen the photos. It's hard to judge from that perspective.

GLENN: Just take him at his word. I mean, he is an honest guy. [Premiere Radio Networks,The Glenn Beck Program11/22/10, via]

Chaffetz "Love[s]" Beck's Show, Thinks He's A "Great Educator"

Chaffetz To Beck: "Congratulations On Your Show. I Love It." From Beck's Fox News program:

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: You know, I -- Glenn, thanks for having me on this show.

BECK: You bet.

CHAFFETZ: Congratulations on your show. I love it.

BECK: Thank you. Thank you, sir. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 2/2/09, via Nexis]

Chaffetz Reportedly Calls Beck A "Great Educator." From a column by Bloomberg News' Al Hunt: "More than the other right-wing talk show provocateurs, Beck's devotees see him as a teacher. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican congressman from Utah, calls him a 'great educator.'" [Bloomberg News9/6/10]

Chaffetz Has Appeared On Beck's Fox News Show At Least 8 Times. According to a Nexis search, Chaffetz appeared on the following editions of Beck's Fox News' program: March 10, 2011; January 3, 2011; December 13, 2010; October 26, 2010; May 17, 2010; June 24, 2009; February 9, 2009; February 2, 2009. Chaffetz was interviewed by guest host Andrew Napolitano for three of those appearances. [Nexis search, conducted 3/24/11]

Chaffetz Is Reportedly "Beloved By Glenn Beck's Devotees." From The Salt Lake Tribune: "By all accounts, Rep. Jason Chaffetz is a Republican's Republican. Beloved by Glenn Beck's devotees and tea party activists, he has proposed ways to shrink government and even the paychecks of its highest paid employees." [Salt Lake Tribune8/3/10]

For more on how Chaffetz is Glenn Beck's favorite congressman, click here.