Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Do We Really Want the Insane Right to Gain Control?

It is worth taking a few minutes to look a the pure lunacy and right-wing reactionary views and people that could be elected to offices across the land on November 2. I’ve already shown video of local Indiana politicians who would force a woman who is raped to carry the fetus to term, who don’t believe in global warming, and who don’t believe in evolution. But they are just the tip of the iceberg. When you look at how many Republican candidates have expressed far-right positions or just plain weird ideas, we, as the voting electorate, should be very, very worried. Moreover, we should ask why these ideas (or the people who espouse them) have such an appeal.

So let’s look briefly at some of the many crazy candidates who could soon be in positions of power. I’m going to ignore incumbents and mainstream candidates who have mainstream ideas that happen to simply be right of center or with which I simply disagree. I’m going to focus, instead, on candidates who have ideas that are far outside what most would consider mainstream (or sane).

One other preliminary point. Almost all of these candidates have refused to grant interviews to media sources other than Fox News. Two (Rand Paul and Sharon Angle) have even been videotaped running away from local media who tried to interview them, a third (Christine O’Donnell virtually threw an MSBNC news crew out of her campaign headquarters), and a fourth (Joe Miller) had his private security guards “arrest” and handcuff a local reporter who wanted to ask him questions.

First, candidates for the United States Senate:

  • Delaware: Christine O’Donnell. Forget about her dabbling in witchcraft when she was younger. I mean, who didn’t explore the Dark Arts at some point in time. And let’s don’t worry about her anti-masturbation campaign. It’s not going anywhere in the male-dominated, seemingly sex-crazed Congress (I suspect that David Vitter [R-Louisiana] will take off his diaper and ask his hookers to stop stepping on him long enough to explain things to O’Donnell). But you should consider the fact that she lied about such simple things as where she went to school and then lied about lying. For those who haven’t followed the story, she has claimed to have taken Master’s level coursework at Princeton even though she hadn’t yet earned a Bachelor’s degree. She claimed that she attended a college when, in fact, she attended a seminar at a think tank with a similar name. And most famously she claimed to have studied at Oxford when, in fact, she took a summer class offered by a private company that simply rented classroom space at Oxford. When she was caught in the Oxford lie, she blamed her staff. Of course, when she was caught having used the same lie 8 years before she had a staff, she didn’t have much of a response.* O’Donnell has claimed that evolution is a “myth” (she says that there is more empirical evidence for creation than for evolution) and even queried where in the Constitution the government is prohibited from endorsing a particular religion. She has claimed to have received “classified” information from non-profit charities about China’s secret plans to take over the US. O’Donnell is also being investigated for tax evasion and for using campaign funds to pay for personal expenses.
  • Kentucky: Rand Paul. The son of whackjob Rep. Ron Paul, Rand Paul has famously suggested that the Civil Rights Act was a bad idea, has argued against federal regulation for mine safety (“Accidents happen,” he said), and thought President Obama was too tough on BP during the oil spill. Paul is a doctor who is “board certified”, but not by one of the boards that certifies most doctors; no, he set up his own board for that. He has also opposed the Fair Housing Act (because, you know, “a free society will abide unofficial, private discrimination, even when that means allowing hate-filled groups to exclude people based on the color of their skin”). It’s also worth noting that Ron Paul includes quite a few anti-Semites in his cadre of followers.
  • Illinois: Mark Kirk. Besides lying about his military service* (and having been reprimanded by the Pentagon for trying to mix politics into his service), has also lied about other things too (he claimed to have been named “Navy Intelligence Officer of the Year”; he had to recant when it was pointed out that award doesn’t exist). When his lies have been pointed out, Kirk claims to have “misremembered”. He also claimed to have been a nursery school and middle school teacher; in fact, he was just an aid at a nursery school while in college and taught for one year at a private school in London. He’s become a sort of “go to” joke for claiming things that he has no right to claim.
  • Wisconsin: Ron Johnson. This millionaire businessman testified against the Wisconsin Child Victims Act (to extend the statute of limitations for sexual abuse of a child). Part of Johnson’s reasoning: “I think it’s a valid question to ask if the employer of the perpetrator should also be severely damaged, possibly destroyed, in a legitimate desire for justice?” It appears that Johnson testified against the bill because of concern for how it could impact non-profit organizations, in particular the Catholic Church. Johnson has called scientists who attribute global warming to man made causes as “crazy” and claims that global warming is actually just caused by sunspots.
  • Nevada: Sharron Angle. Where to begin? How ’bout when she voted against black jerseys for a high school football team because black is the color of Satan? Or, maybe, her suggestion that people should use “Second Amendment remedies” and “take out” Sen. Harry Reid? Or her insistence (channeling her inner Michele Bachmann) that there are domestic enemies of the United States in Congress? Perhaps her penchant for denying that she’s said something that can be verified by watching a YouTube clip of her saying precisely what she claims never to have said. Maybe we could focus on her idea that there should be no requirements on insurance companies with regard to mandatory coverage (like for autism and mammograms) because the free market will make things work out. We could look to her idea to phase out Social Security or her claim that the Obama administration is violating the “First Commandment” because the government is setting itself up as a false god, though she seems to have an affinity for Scientology. Angle has even suggested that rather than legalizing drugs, we should ban alcohol. We could even look to her race-baiting anti-immigrant ad (showing a group of “scary looking” Hispanic men); when questioned about the ad by a group of Hispanic students, she claimed it showed non-Hispanics coming over the Canadian border and queried whether all of those Hispanic students were actually Hispanic because some “looked Asian”. Angle has even managed to piss off Canada by claiming, incorrectly, that the 9/11 hijackers entered the US through Canada. Angle has claimed that Sharia law is "taking over” and has replaced US law in several cities (one of which hasn’t existed since 1975…). But I think her finest moment was when she said that young girls who are raped should be prohibited from having abortions and should, instead, make lemonade out of the lemon (because, you know, rape is just like a lemon…).
  • Alaska: Joe Miller. Just a few days ago, Miller’s hired thugs (calling these guy security guards is giving them more credit than they deserve) “arrested” and handcuffed a local reporter (“crazy blogger” according the Miller campaign) who tried to ask Miller questions as he bolted from a public forum where he skipped out on promised Q&A. Miller has called unemployment compensation unconstitutional, though he had to admit that his wife received unemployment benefits. He also thinks that the minimum wage is unconstitutional. And he’s had to admit that he broke ethical guidelines while he was the attorney for a town in Alaska (and we all know by now how complicated Alaska is … just remember Sarah Palin’s time in Wasilla…).

Next, we have some of the candidates for the House of Representatives:

  • Ohio: Rich Iott. First, he refuses to tell anybody what he does for a living. On some kind of form that he filled out, he said that he was a “soldier” for the State of Ohio (he does serve in the State’s National Guard two weeks each summer). But more interestingly, is his penchant for dressing up like a member of the Nazi Waffen SS. He claims that he’s trying to educate people about the honor of these men who were fighting communism and fighting for individual rights. I’m sure that it’s hard to find other good examples to emulate instead of elite Nazi soldiers. It’s also worth noting that House Republican Leader Rep. John Boehner has contributed to Iott’s campaign.
  • Oregon: Art Robinson. He’s a scientist but he disputes global warming and has claimed that AIDS is not caused by HIV, but rather, is a government conspiracy. And he believes in some crackpot concept of taking radioactive nuclear waste and sprinkling it on our water supply because, you know, a little radiation is healthy! He even believes that nuclear power is cleaner and safer than solar or wind power.
  • Florida: Allen West. This former Lt. Col. of the US Army actually brags about torturing an Iraqi prisoner (an incident for which the Army punished him and for which he was eventually forced to resign his commission).
  • Arizona: Ben Quayle. Besides the fact that he Dan Quayle’s son (which should be enough to bar him from any public office), he makes this list for thinking that he’s qualified to pronounce Barack Obama as the worst President in the history of the US. (Whether you like or dislike President Obama, I’m not sure how you can call him the “worst” … don’t forget that he did manage to keep us out of another Great Depression, passed healthcare reform, and passed financial reform, all without any help from the minority party that did everything it could to stop him and all within less than two years; compare that to George W. Bush and torture, bad wars, a ruined economy, etc.)
  • Delaware: Glen Urquhart. I’ll let Urquhart speak for himself: “The exact phrase ‘separation of Church and State’ came out of Adolph Hitler’s mouth, that’s where it comes from. So the next time your liberal friends talk about the separation of Church and State, ask them why they’re Nazis.” (I presume that I don’t need to explain how wrong this statement is…)

Two candidates for Governor deserve special mention:

  • New York: Carl Paladino. You might remember him as the guy who sent all sorts of vicious, racist emails following President Obama’s election (not to mention a bunch of porn). And he’s accused homosexuals of trying to “brainwash” students. While he won’t take his daughter to a gay pride parade because there is too much “grinding” he had no problems with fathering a daughter with his mistress (and employee) and threatening to “take out” a reporter who wanted to ask questions. He’s also suggested turning prisons into dorms for welfare recipients. And Paladino said that as Governor of New York, he would use the power of eminent domain to stop the proposed “Ground Zero Mosque”.
  • Colorado: Dan Maes. He actually claimed that Denver’s bicycle rental program was part of a United Nations plot to take over the world. He has been fined for campaign finance violations (he reimbursed himself $42,000 for mileage). And he apparently lied about being an undercover informant for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.
  • Colorado: Tom Tancredo. When Tancredo couldn’t get the Republican nomination, he decided to run as an independent. Besides suggesting that the US should bomb Mecca, Tancredo has claimed that President Obama is the “greatest threat to the United States today, the greatest threat to our liberty, the greatest threat to the Constitution of the United States, the greatest threat to our way of life; everything we believe in. The greatest threat to the country that our founding fathers put together is the man that's sitting in the White House today.”

It is also worth noting that many of these candidates (and many others that I haven’t bothered to mention) support eliminating or privatizing Social Security, ending Medicaid, privatizing the Veterans Administration, eliminating the Department of Education (and maybe the Departments of the Interior, HUD, and/or Energy). Though I haven’t had a chance to double-check, one source notes that only one Republican candidate for Senate believes that global warming is real. Many of these and other Republican candidates also have expressed an interest at repealing the 17th Amendment (direct election of Senators rather than election of Senators by the state legislatures) and the 14th Amendment (or at least the birthright citizenship provision of the 14th Amendment). And quite a few have suggested that if the Republicans gain power in the House of Representatives, they will flood the White House with subpoenas (remember the Clinton years and Whitewater?) and even look into impeaching President Obama.

Anyway, just think about what our country may look like if any of these candidates is elected, let alone a majority of them. Add these candidates to the likes of Reps. Paul Broun, Michele Bachmann, Louie Gohmert, Virginia Foxx, and some of the other crazies already in Congress and things could get pretty ugly.


*The Democratic candidate for Senate from Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, was caught lying about his military service. Unlike almost all of the Republican candidates that I mention in this post, Blumenthal has repeatedly apologized and taken responsibility for his statement.

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