It is rare that a leader takes the bull by the horns and corrals support for a cause in which all Americans have a steak.
I’m not referring to Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s cutting-edge decision to oppose circumcision, though voters may reward his foresight in defense of foreskin.
No, today I celebrate Rep. Devin Nunes of California, top Republican on the Intelligence Committee and close Trump ally, who has just shown the world that he has the chops to sue a cow.
Not just any cow: Nunes’s defamation lawsuit names his own cow — “Devin Nunes’ cow” is its name on Twitter — and a couple of other Twitter users, as well as Twitter itself, seeking $250 million in compensation because mean things were said about him on Twitter.
Nunes tells Sean Hannity this is “the first of many” lawsuits to come, and Trump signaled support by tweeting about it Monday night. We must hope that Nunes’s bovine broadside won’t end until he sues cows into extinction.
My friend Jonathan Chait at New York magazine calls this “bonkers,” and The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake sees “ridiculousness” in the lawsuit, particularly given Nunes’s co-sponsorship of a bill called the Discouraging Frivolous Lawsuits Act.
That’s a bunch of bull! Nunes’ naming of a cow as a “defamer” in his lawsuit substantially beefs up the GOP policy stable in otherwise lean times.
People are only beginning to understand the threat posed by cattle, a docile-looking but murderous beast that tramples, gores or otherwise kills, in cold blood, 20 people a year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found — way more than are killed in shark attacks. Cattle burps and flatulence are the largest component of livestock’s 14.5 percent share of global greenhouse-gas emissions, according to the United Nations — as much as the entire transport sector. And then there are all the dangerous illnesses cows spread, such as lactose intolerance.
These animals — yes, I am not afraid to call them animals — invade our country from Asia (“wagyu,” they are called) and from Mexico in menacing herds. This is why we need to build a wall, or at least a 1,500-mile emergency cattle guard.
Some suppose that Devin Nunes’ cow is not really a cow, in the same way they suppose another account the congressman sued, “Devin Nunes’ Mom,” is not his real mom. No? Anybody who has read Doreen Cronin’s illustrated work “Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type” knows that cows used a typewriter to organize a socialist collective, forcing Farmer Brown to give them electric blankets.
Ruminate on that for a moment.
The Nunes lawsuit states: “Like Devin Nunes’ Mom, Devin Nunes’ cow engaged a vicious defamation campaign against Nunes that lasted over a year. Devin Nunes’ cow has made, published and republished hundreds of false and defamatory statements of and concerning Nunes, including the following: Nunes is a ‘treasonous cowpoke’ … ‘Devin’s boots are full of manure. He’s udder-ly worthless and its pasture time to move him to prison.’” (The cow, revealing its true species, spelled “move” as “mooove.”)
Cows were an obstacle to Nunes before this week’s tipping point. Esquire’s Ryan Lizza reported last year that the Nunes family dairy farm quietly moved from California to Iowa.
Predictably, the cows went mad in response to the Nunes lawsuit (these black-and-white supremacists dominate the dark web). Devin Nunes’ cow, which had only 1,204 followers when the lawsuit was filed, had bred a herd of 119,000 followers by Tuesday afternoon. Spoof accounts proliferated: Devin Nunes Mom’s Cow. Devin Nunes’s Cow Psychiatrist. Devin Nunes’s Mullet. Devin Nunes is a Whiny Baby.
Hopefully, the lawmaker isn’t cowed by being branded anti-bovine, for there is much work to be done to protect America from the coldblooded violence the cow is causing in the British countryside. According to the BBC’s Countryfile magazine:
“In 2014, Peter Jakeman, 62, from Callington, was trampled to death by a herd of stampeding cows while walking his dogs through a field in Derbyshire.”
“In 2009, Liz Crowsley, 49, from Warrington, was walking the Pennine Way in the Yorkshire Dales, when she too was trampled to death. … Police believed that the cows had become aggressive after feeling threatened by Ms. Crowley’s spaniel and collie.”
The BBC offered tips for “Avoiding a cow attack.”
But Nunes, a patriot, will stop the vicious cow in its tracks. So gird your loins, congressman. I’ve got your flank. And, before long, a grateful nation will say: Well done.
Dana Milbank is a Washington Post columnist. Folllow him on Twitter: @Milbank.