|Name||John G. Schmitz|
Corona Del Mar, California , United States
|| August 12, 1930
|Died||January 10, 2001
Aug 12, 2021 06:02pm
Caucasian - Marine Corps - The John Birch Society - Catholic -
|Info||John George Schmitz |
John G. Schmitz served in the House of Representatives and ran for President and the Senate. He was the kind of pure reactionary who surfaces occasionally on the national stage and leaves the mainstream gasping for breath. But at the height of the welfare state - the 1972 presidential election - he garnered a million votes. "I lost the presidency by a mere 44 million votes," he said in what was perhaps the least offensive joke he made in his entire life.
Schmitz was born in Wisconsin and studied philosophy at Marquette University. His hero was Wisconsin's gift to the assembly clause, Senator Joseph McCarthy. He became a pilot in the Marines. By 1960 he was teaching a class called "Communist Propaganda Techniques" at a Marine base in southern California. He also taught political science at Santa Ana College, where he remained a popular and charismatic lecturer until his retirement in the early 90s.
He first came to public notice in 1962 when he disarmed a man who was assaulting a woman with a knife by the side of the road, wielding only the sheer authority of his voice. The victim died, but Schmitz was elected to the California state senate in 1964, in part on his reputation as a hero. The remainder was pure Orange County John Birch Society reactionary conservatism.
Schmitz found he had a great talent for garnering controversy merely by opening his mouth. He called the Watts riots a year later "a communist operation." In 1968 he said California Governor Ronald Reagan was unsuitable for President because Reagan had abandoned conservative principles. He said, "Jews are like everybody else, only more so." Schmitz was anti-immigrant, anti-women's lib, anti-communist, anti-black, anti-homo. He named his dog Kaiser and thought that giving a Hitler salute was a good joke.
In June of 1970, still in the state Senate, Schmitz won a special election to fill the seat left vacant by the reactionary Rep. James B. Utt who had died in office. He won the regular 1970 election as well, and moved his family to Washington. His tiny reactionary stone created barely a ripple in the great pond of Congress. His politics alienated even his most prominent constituent, President Richard Nixon, of San Clemente, CA. When Nixon went to China Schmitz quipped, "I have no objection to President Nixon going to China. I just object to his coming back." This didn't just sink him in the eyes of Nixon and the Republican party; his own constituents abandoned him, and Schmitz was not nominated to run for the house seat in 1972.
His loss in the primary led Schmitz to seek the highest office in the land on the American Independent Party the same year. The party was originally a vehicle for George Wallace's second know-nothing assault on the two-party system. But Wallace dropped out after an assassin's bullet left him crippled. When Schmitz's lackluster presidential bid garnered only a million votes nationwide, he noted that this was more votes than George Washington ever received. Then he slunk back to lick his wounds and teach embittered civics lessons to credulous conservatives-in-training at Santa Ana.
By 1978 he was back in the California state senate, making trouble and saying things so outrageous that even the John Birch Society kicked him out. When Reagan was elected president, Schmitz was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt: "A good military coup might be the best we could hope for if President 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."
In 1982, a committe he chaired held hearings on abortion, after which his office issued a press release titled "Senator Schmitz and His Committee Survive Attack of the Bulldykes." It described pro-choice supporters as "a sea of hard, Jewish and (arguably) female faces." Feminist Attorney Gloria Allred, a wife and mother who had testified at the hearings, sued for $10,000,000 for defamation. In settlement Schmitz was forced to pay $20,000 and issue a statement that read in part, "I apologize to Gloria Allred and to all others who may have been wrongly characterized - I have never considered her to be 'a slick, butch lawyeress.'"
The same year he announced his candidacy for the US Senate, he stood at a podium with Yasir Arafat by his side. Surveying the room of reporters, he snarled, "Hello all you commies."
But the man who saw conspiracies everywhere, who was an equal opportunity bigot, and who decried America's moral decrepitude, had, himself, a skeleton in the closet. It came to light in a curious way. An Orange County child abuse case in 1982 concerned a thirteen-month-old infant who was discovered with hair so tightly wound around his penis that the organ had nearly been severed. The baby was placed in protective custody, and the court demanded that the father step forward. It turned out to be none other than John G. Schmitz, now again a state Senator, paterfamilias of five children and, er, two others with his German mistress, once his student at Santa Ana. It marked the end of Schmitz's political career (although he did attempt to run for Congress once more). The charges against the mother were eventually dropped and the infant restored to her care. But it was never explained what was going on with the hair-wound penis. One historian has suggested that it was a "mysterious sex - or probably anti-sex ritual - as if a chastity device." Schmitz, feisty as ever, remarked, "I ought to get the Right to Life man-of-the-year award for this."
In a scandal that broke years later, Mary Kay LeTourneau, the notorious Seattle schoolteacher who bore two babies with a young teenage student, turned out to be Schmitz's daughter. Her boy lover, a Samoan, was said to be mature for his years; perhaps he had been reading that arch-liberal Margaret Mead on his own customs. "Can't you understand that this is not a story about me," an unrepentant LeTourneau told George magazine. "It's a story of two remarkable men." Those would be her thirteen-year-old student and her domineering father, both of whom LeTourneau loved beyond reason. Schmitz researched the Samoan treaty to see if there was something in it that could save her from prison. There wasn't.
As the LeTourneau case played out in the national media, the Schmitz household was revealed to have been a chilly place, often under siege due to John's latest atrocious remark. Mary Kay and her brother would sometimes play German marching music out the window to drown out angry demonstrators. Schmitz's wife Mary was said by Mary Kay to be an unaffectionate mother who stressed personal appearance, counseling her daughter to always wear lipstick and even toenail polish. Mary was a vocal ally of Phyllis Schlafly, and appeared on TV to denounce the ERA. She stuck with her man to the end.
After dropping out of politics, Schmitz went back to indoctrinating the youth of California and pretty much stayed out of sight except for a brief bid for Congress in 1984, in which he was defeated by "B1" Bob Dornan. When the LeTourneau scandal erupted in 1994 he had retired from academia and was discovered working at a souvenir stand at Washington DC's Union Station. He had purchased the home of his hero, McCarthy. "I don't talk to reporters any more," were his unwitty and last recorded words for a public hungry for the thoughts of a fallen paragon.