John G. Schmitz, In His Own Words
Illustration by Bob AulIn honor of John G. Schmitz's Jan. 10 passing at age 70, Clockwork turns this week's installment over to the ultraconservative firebrand and former Orange County lawmaker. And now, ladies and gentlemen, heeeeeerre's Johnny:
"I wished to identify with the moderate wing of the Republican Party in Orange County."—Schmitz on joining the John Birch Society.
"If you get to be a supervisor in Orange County, you get to zone the fastest-growing part of the country. If you throw a $1,000 cocktail party, are the land developers going to come? You bet your sweet Aunt Molly they are. You've got to be virtually a St. Thomas More to be [an honest] supervisor."
"I didn't know we were supposed to come in uniform."—on seeing a man in a brown suit and tan shirt at a meeting of OC conservatives.
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"I lost the presidency by a mere 44 million votes."—on his 1972 run as the American Independent Party nominee.
"I have no objection to President [Richard] Nixon going to China. I just object to his coming back."
"Jews are like everybody else, only more so."
"I may not be Hispanic, but I'm close. I'm Catholic with a mustache."
"I would have voted for a three-tier system—have one school that the blacks could go to, one school that all the whites could go to, and those who want to mix go to a third school."
"A good military coup might be the best we could hope for if President [Ronald] Reagan's policies are not successful. A lot of people can't imagine anything like that happening in our country. These same people could never imagine themselves stealing to stay alive."
"Tonight, when I go to sleep, guys and girls, I am going to sleep very soundly."—reacting to the state Senate's formal reprimand of his 1982 press release titled "Senator Schmitz and His Committee Survive 'Attack of the Bulldykes.'" Written by aide Brad Evans after Schmitz chaired an anti-abortion hearing, the release called feminist attorney Gloria Allred "a slick, butch lawyeress" and described pro-choice supporters as "a sea of hard, Jewish and (arguably) female faces." It denounced witnesses as "imported lesbians from anti-male and pro-abortion queer groups in San Francisco and other centers of decadence."
"I apologize to Gloria Allred and to all others who may have been wrongly characterized, hurt or harmed in any way by these statements. Based upon my relationships with Gloria Allred, her husband and her family, I have never considered her to be, and recognize that she is not, a 'slick, butch lawyeress.'"—in a statement to settle Allred's $10 million defamation suit against him.
"Hello, all you commies. I want to deny the rumors that I have been attending candidates' school in Chile or Argentina."—greeting reporters as he announced his 1982 candidacy for the U.S. Senate with Yasser Arafat at his side.
"I ought to get the Right to Life man-of-the-year award for this."—on revelations that the staunch critic of declining American morals and father of six also had two more kids with a mistress. The scandal killed his political career.
"I don't talk to reporters anymore."—to a scribe who discovered him selling knickknacks in a Washington, D.C., shop in 1994.
"No one has used the argument that statutory rape—at least according to the Blackstone [law] dictionary—was solely a crime that a man could commit."—offering a legal defense for his then-35-year-old daughter Mary Kay LeTourneau, a Seattle schoolteacher convicted in 1997 of having sex with a 13-year-old boy.
"Basically, an honest man who just didn't realize the immensity of what he was up against. In a way, I'm sympathetic to him despite his mistakes because he was so easily caricatured, and I've seen myself caricatured. And if I were a more important figure, I'd be caricatured in history books, too."—on his hero Joseph P. McCarthy.
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