10 Politicians Who Kicked Ass...Literally

November 3, 2009

When you enter the voting booth and pull back that dingy curtain to make your voice heard, you have to ask yourself just one question before you pull back each lever: will this candidate fight for me? Here are 10 that would earn a big hanging chad in the "yes" box for that proposition.

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By Danny Gallagher

10. Cynthia McKinney

Any fighter will tell you the best ones aren't the haymakers who land the most punches, but the ones who can stick and jab the longest in the ring. The United States Legislature doesn't have a ring on the floor of the House (yet), but Cynthia McKinney would easily fit into it. She punched a congressional security guard in the chest with her fist when the guard stopped her because she tried to enter the chamber without wearing her identity pin. And that was just the first cheap shot she threw at the guy. She took to the airwaves and claimed that everything from her race to her "hairdo" caused the altercation until her own party made her apologize on the floor of the House. Maybe the fight wasn't so much between her and her public identity as it was between her and her capacity for sanity.

9. Bob Dornan



This California Representative may never have physically struck his victim, but his rampant temper and brain that took the L-train to crazy town long ago made him more potentially dangerous than the Hindenberg making its final approach over an archery camp. Dornan spoke to a group of New York Democrats in the late 1980s and called fellow House member Thomas Downey a "draft dodging wimp," among other things in the wave of spittle he sprayed all over the crowd like an automotive painter gliding a second and third coat of enamel over a hood.

When Downey heard about the speech, he approached Dornan as the two were leaving the House Chamber and simply asked him if it was true. Reports vary on what happened next depending on who you ask but Dornan, without batting an eye, spinned around and either grabbed Downey by his tie or grabbed him by the tie and gave him a good punch in the mug and warned him to "Stay out of my face, now and forever!" Dornan claimed that in the heat of the moment that he was just trying to straighten Downey's tie, probably so it would fit more snuggly around his scrawny neck.

8. Joe McCarthy


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It won't surprise most history buffs that the former terror of the House actually punched someone out. The man had a vicious streak in him longer than those of Saddam Hussein, Attila the Hun, and Gargamel from The Smurfs combined. McCarthy's scare crusade against the scourge of communism brought many high profile critics such as Edward R. Murrow, Sen. Ralph Flanders, and God, but none was more ferocious than popular muckraking columnist Drew Pearson. So in 1950 at a upscale Washington club, McCarthy happened upon the newspaper man and introduced his fists to Pearson's face and gut and his knee to Pearson's junk. How bad did the fight get? A budding Senator by the name of Richard M. Nixon had to break it up.

7. John Prescott


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If you've ever watched the British Parliament in session, chances are you've accidentally confused it with footage of the latest soccer riot. The only person who would willingly taunt a Parliament member's cage must never have even heard of C-SPAN. Just such a protestor hit Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott in the noggin with an egg back in 2001.


The impromptu protein spill prompted the DPM to lunge at the man with the momentum of an East India Tea Company cargo ship and pummel him in the face with his fist full of feudal fury. Cameras captured the whole thing on camera and police arrested the guy who threw the egg since Prescott was acting in "self defense." That's a fair defense since eggs are loaded with cholesterol and can increase a man's risk of heart disease.

6. Charles Bishop


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If your obscure bets bookie asks you to put down some coin on the next politician to "thump" someone, Alabama should be at the top of your odds list. The state's biggest exports are automobiles, paper and punches to the cranium. So it should be no surprise that one of their state's senators settled a debate with his opponents by letting his staff aides "Jack Johnson and Tom O'Leary" sit behind the podium for him.


Bishop's Democratic rival Sen. Lowell Barron reportedly called him "a son of a bitch" on the floor of the state's Senate in Montgomery, so Bishop "responded to his comment with my right hand." The next day, he promoted his "right hand" to press secretary.

5. Mark Latham


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Admit it. If photographers hounded you day and night, you'd want to show them what their ass looked like with their own eyes. That still doesn't mean you should because after all, they are carrying cameras. Oh and because it's immoral and illegal and against God's will and such. Former leader of the Australian Labor Party Mark Latham had been photographed eating in a restaurant with his kids when he snatched the camera out of the photographer's hands. When the photographer demanded it back, he punched him (presumably because the camera was no longer in the way of his fist) and smashed the camera into pieces.

4. Miroslav Macek

There are very few living definitions of irony in the real world. Beating your health minister, however, is one of them. Former Czech Republic Deputy Prime Minster Miroslav Macek got into a heated war of words with then Health Minister David Rath that came to a head at, of all places, a dentistry convention, the largest annual gathering of pain production in the world. Rath was accused of insulting Macek's wife, so Macek addressed these rumors on stage by walking behind Rath and smacking him in the back of the head with the palm of his hand at full speed. The two got into it on stage with Rath walking away from Macek's line-item blows.

3. Preston Brooks


Source: Adam B. Walter

If you thought Joe Wilson's impromptu rendition of Mystery Science Theater 3000 during President's Obama recent address to Congress was over the line, you probably slept through history class. During the height of the slavery debate, U.S. Representative Preston Brooks from South Carolina had a little disagreement with fellow representative Charles Sumner in 1856 over a speech Sumner made railing against slavery and its supporters. Brooks decided to express his disagreement by calmly walking to Sumner's desk on the floor of the House, taking out his cane and beating him over the head with it so hard that Sumner's skull snapped the cane in two. Brooks wasn't ejected or impeached from the Senate for committing first-degree assault. Instead, he resigned and was re-elected with only six dissenting votes against him.

2. Lee Mun Chung


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U.S. politics certainly isn't the most rotten apple in the barrel when you look at how Taiwan defines civil debating, a country that has an average of 3.2 fights breaking out on the floor of the Legislature every week. This representative turned a heated debate over a national lottery into a full-fledged wildfire by starting of a fight consisting of himself and the entire friggin' Legislature.

The legislature's prime minister refused to let the opposition speak even after some of his party members staged a sit-in on the floor of the Senate (making it the most useless form of protest since the Olsen Twins vowed to go on a hunger strike). Everything was peaceful until Chung chucked a stack of papers at the legislative leader and let his fists stage a filibuster against the prime minister's face. No further records could be found of Mr. Chung's record of having served in the Taiwanese Senate following this incident, but keep an eye out on the next Ultimate Fighter for him.

1. Earl Long


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Part of me is sad that politicians like the former Louisiana Governor aren't still around. They would make every political debate more watchable than a Sports Illustrated swimsuit shoot in Antarctica.  The brother of legendary Louisiana Governor and Senator Huey Long was well known his gold car membership in the fight club. He got into plenty of scrappings in his day and had a particularly mean penchant for biting that made Mike Tyson and Marv Albert seem grounded. He once bit off a man's finger clean off in a fight and as he stumped for lieutenant governor, he actually attacked his opponent during a debate and sunk his teeth in his throat, giving him a severe case of lockjaw. However, he still got elected three times, continuing Louisiana's long-standing tradition of nominating and electing complete wackjobs to the state's highest offices.