Speed Reads

Beam Him Up

Remembering Jim Traficant: Watch the former congressman's legendary, wild speeches

Former Rep. Jim Traficant, the expelled lawmaker and renegade Democrat, has died after sustaining injuries in a tractor accident. Many political junkies — this one included — will remember Traficant for his infamous, irreverent one-minute speeches on the House floor, which would often end with an exhortation to "Beam me up," because there was no intelligent life to be found on Earth.

Here's one of Traficant's House speeches, showcasing his brand of right-wing populism, that he excelled at long before the "viral video" ever existed:

And here's Traficant at his expulsion hearing in 2002, after he was convicted on corruption charges: "I want you to disregard all the opposing counsel has said. I think they're delusionary (sic); I think they've had something funny for lunch in their meal. I think they should be handcuffed to a chain-link fence, flogged, and all of their hearsay evidence should be thrown the hell out. And if they lie again, I'm gonna go over and kick 'em in the crotch. Thank you very much."

Whether you loved him or hated him, there's no denying Traficant was one of a kind.