About Schmitz

Let us pause a moment and remember one of those people who made Orange County so very Orange County-ish: John Schmitz (1930-2001). Usually when Schmitz is remembered these days, if he is remembered at all, it is for being the father of Mary Kay Letourneau, who became internationally famous as a dedicated teacher/statutory rapist. But Schmitz was a remarkable piece of work in his own right– a barking-mad right-wing Republican politician, who did his best to live up to the high standard of barking-madness set by OC Congressman James Utt, whose seat Schmitz held for two years after Utt's death in 1970. Utt, who inspired the memorable slogan “Utt is Nuts”, achieved national fame in 1963, when he claimed that the United Nations had a secret military camp in Georgia, where it was training an army of “barefooted Africans” as part of planned coup to take over the United States.

Schmitz also briefly grabbed a little of the national spotlight by talking about a coup, and today is the 25th anniversary of Schmitz's famous statement. On October 19, 1981,

California state senator John Schmitz [after losing in the GOP congressional primary in 1972, and losing in the 1972 presidential election, in which he ran as the candidate of a far-right, pro-white-supremacist party, he was elected in 1978 to represent OC in the state senate] tells a TV interviewer that if Reagan's policies fail, “the best we could probably hope for is a military coup or something like that.” He explains that he is talking about “a good military coup, not a bad military coup.”

That's right, a good coup, not a bad one. Presumably a good coup is one that doesn't involve barefooted Africans.

Schmitz's political career came to end the following year. Not because of his political views, but because some hair was so tightly wrapped around the penis of a baby, that the little Orange County boy required medical attention. Doctors were convinced that the hair had been deliberately tied around the penis– one doctor described it as “a square knot”– and in the ensuing investigation, it emerged that Schmitz was the boy's father, even though the mother wasn't Mrs. Schmitz. And it was revealed that the boy with the hair-clamped penis wasn't the only extramarital Schmitz offspring. Schmitz's political career was over. To sum up: being pro-military coup, acceptable; cheating on your wife, game over.

So, as we come up to an election in which Republicans have been more shamed by the sexual appetites of one congressman than by enshrining torture in U.S. law while gutting habeas corpus, let's take a moment to remember John Schmitz. He was more than just the father of a statutory rapist, he was one of the people who made Orange County so very Orange County-ish.

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