Teabaggers Triumphant... Well, Depends How You Define Triumph
Today teabaggers are celebrating the way their boy Marco crushed Governor Charlie Crist in a straw poll last night in his own home county, Pinellas. Although Crist has lost every single straw poll in the state-- and by far worse margins than he did in Pinellas-- Pinellas is his home county and the media is blowing this up big. One prominent extreme right blogger tweeted last night, "Ladies & Gentlemen, first we drive Crist from this race, then we march to Utah and crush Bob Bennett."
So far the only electoral accomplishment of the teabagger movement has been to crush the GOP chance to win a congressional seat in a very red district, NY-23. But that isn't going to dampen their delusional enthusiasm for lemming-like self-destruction. Yesterday the always befuddled Dan Quayle got in a newspaper by endorsing a teabagger insurgent, Ovide Lamontagne, for the open New Hampshire Senate race in which the Republican Establishment has recruited one of their own, Kelly Ayotte. (Laura Ingraham is also backing Lamontagne, who she calls the "only true conservative" in the race, code for "crazed, sociopathic teabagger.")
A recent poll that showed teabagger candidates beating Republicans in 3 party races-- Democrats would win the seats but teabaggers will trump official GOP candidates-- has encouraged more teabaggers to forego Republican Party primaries and opt for third party runs. It's happening all over the country, and this week it happened in a seat the GOP felt certain they could pick up. Tennessee's eighth district is one of those few districts where McCain actually did better than Bush, racism probably playing an outsize factor. In 2004 Bush took 53% against Kerry, while last year McCain managed 56% against Obama, light skin or not. This mostly rural district in the far west of the state (minus Memphis) hasn't had a Republican Representative since just after the Civil War. Blue Dog John Tanner has been the congressman from the 8th since 1988, but he recently announced he would be retiring, it certainly looked like a prime GOP pickup. Tanner's career-long ProgressivePunch score on substantive votes, 55.25, is the lowest of any of the conservative Tennessee Blue Dogs-- and since Obama has become president it has sunk to a dismal 39.34. Aa victory for a Republican won't do any damage to any progressive legislation, since the aisle-crossing Tanner never supports any of it anyway.
But even that easy Republican victory is now in jeopardy as an angry Republican candidate, Donn Janes, bolts the GOP to run as a pure Teabagger.
“As of today, I am no longer going to run for the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican,” Janes announced. “We need to change the way we elect our representatives. We continue to rely on the two-party system to provide us with different choices; but thanks to this corrupt system, there is little difference between the two of them. Both parties voted to increase the size of our government; both parties voted to trade your freedoms for security; and both parties are responsible for our monstrous debt, our failing economy and the exporting of our jobs overseas. I will be running as an independent Tea Party Candidate, a candidate who doesn’t answer to or work for party leadership, but a candidate who will work for the people of West Tennessee.”
When asked about what led to this decision, Mr. Janes stated that the National Republican Party continues to aggressively support candidates who lack depth on issues and conservative values, but instead focus on candidates who are able to self fund or raise large sums of money.
The GOP Establishment is supporting gospel singer Stephen Fincher, another far right kook, but not as far right and not as certifiably insane as Janes. There's also a millionaire doctor, Ron Kirkland, who just threw his hat into the fractured Republican race. Democrats are relieved and feel that if Janes stays in the race 'til the end, state Senator Roy Herron will easily keep the seat in the Democratic column.
Rachel Maddow, who pointed out last night that only a dozen or so sorry, frozen teabaggers showed up at the Detroit Tea Party yesterday, has been keeping track of the battle for dominance between grassroots teabaggers-- who I can attest are primarily motivated by racist rage-- and Republican Party operatives, motivated by purely partisan lust for power and patronage. Last week she summed up the purging instinct that has taken over the far right very well:
UPDATE: How Could I Forget The Confederate Sarah Palin?
South Carolina's most responsive-- and attractive-- political leader, Katherine Jenerette, sent us this post to emphasize how strongly an extremist teabagger like herself can absolutely crush-- that word again-- any pathetic Republican Establishment hack the party choses to field. Jenerette may be poohpoohed by the media, but she's every bit as compelling to the brainwashed Beck/Limbaugh masses as Marco Rubio is. And she's looking like a winner to replace Henry Brown in South Carolina's first congressional district-- even handily beating Insider favorite Carroll "Tumpy" Campbell III by more than double.