PRESCOTT - Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Prescott, the self-styled "Hound of the House," barked loudly Monday, Feb. 8, taking on not only Democratic lawmakers and President Barack Obama, but also the current Republican U.S. House leadership.
At the monthly luncheon of the Yavapai Republican Men's Forum, held in the ballroom of the Hotel St. Michael, Gosar accused other members of Congress of not knowing the U.S. Constitution and failing to obey the rule of law.
Gosar opened with an attack on Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a fellow Republican, claiming he "folded like a cheap suit" on a vote for the omnibus spending bill.
"In that thing, that crappy bill, you have to remember, this is the first time in U.S. history that bureaucrats did something different: They stole $115 billion out of the Social Security trust fund and put no I.O.U. back," he said. "Because of that bill, you're going to inherit over a trillion additional dollars in deficit spending over the next four years."
The Democrats, he said, told the Republicans what they wanted, and got it.
"So what did the leadership do? 'OK, we're fine,'" he said.
"Why didn't we stand and fight?" he fumed, explaining that he wanted a House Speaker who would push back and insist that Congress stay over the Christmas break, if necessary, to get the bill changed.
But, instead, Gosar said, arms were twisted and pressure applied. The bill "was shoved down our throats."
"The system is broken," he added.
Gosar went on to describe a challenge he made to an immigration bill that he was told would mean a legal battle.
The Speaker was hesitant. "He said, 'Paul, what do you want me to do, go to court?' and I said, 'Yeah, that's the point,'" he recounted. "Stand for something - this isn't rocket science."
Situations like that, he said, have given him the nickname on the House floor, "Hound of the House."
Gosar dismissed Obama and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as "Alinsky-ites," followers of Saul Alinsky, who wrote the book "Rules for Radicals," and reiterated his support for Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, whom he has endorsed.
Cruz, he noted, "challenged his own leadership" in the Senate.
In response to an audience question about how states such as Arizona, which allows medical marijuana, can disregard the federal law that makes marijuana illegal, Gosar said the law "needs to be enforced by the (federal) Department of Justice, who refuses to do it."
The country needs an attorney general "who doesn't interpret the law, but actually enforces ... the rule of law."
Gosar also railed against a movement to eliminate the power of the Electoral College in favor of the popular vote, which has gained some traction in Arizona.
"I mean, we're a republic, not a democracy," he said, to applause. "Come on folks, let's wake up."
Also speaking at the luncheon were Yavapai County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Smith, who spoke about changes in District 5, and Dr. Dwight Jeager, who talked about climate change.
Follow Scott Orr on Twitter @AZNewsguy. Call him at 928-445-3333, ext. 2038, or 928-642-7705.