Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Another Couple Of "Sarah Palins Of The South"-- Tough Love/Soft Hate


With right-wing congressman Bill Cassidy running for Mary Landrieu's Senate seat, his Baton Rouge-based House district looks very attractive to an awful lot of candidates. It's a grotesquely gerrymandered (i.e., ethnically-cleansed) deep red district with a PVI of R+21. Obama won 31% there against McCain and 32% against Romney. In 2012 the Democrats didn't even bother putting up a candidate against Cassidy. There are 18 Republicans in the open primary but an inordinate amount of coverage has been about the campaign of former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards.

The video above, though, is from one of the leading Republicans in the race, Lenar Whitney, a crackpot who isn't given much of a chance to break through the clutter. Still, she is one of the 7 candidates to have raised six figures. This is how much each had raised by June 30 and how much cash they had on hand
Garret Graves ®- $814,932/$722,071
Paul Dietzel ®- $429,201/$111,500
Craig McCulloch ®- $257,176/$93,368
Dan Claitor ®- $220,944/$128,617
Edwin Edwards (D)- $210,476/$141,342
Trey Thomas ®- $135,387/$82,043
Lenar Whitney ®- $123,173/$104,952
David Wasserman from Cook is not known for hyperbole, let alone for hysteria. He analyzes House races for the Cook Report but his report on Whitney in this morning's Washington Post was pretty hilarious. This isn't what anyone would expect to hear from Wasserman: "As a House analyst for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, I’ve personally interviewed over 300 congressional candidates over the course of seven years, both to get to know them and evaluate their chances of winning. I’ve been impressed by just as many Republicans as Democrats, and underwhelmed by equal numbers, too. Most are accustomed to tough questions. But never have I met any candidate quite as frightening or fact-averse as Louisiana state Rep. Lenar Whitney, 55, who visited my office last Wednesday. It’s tough to decide which party’s worst nightmare she would be." But that was how Lenar Whitney was introduced to a national audience.
Whitney, a graduate of Nicholls State University who is running for Louisiana’s open 6th District, owned a dance studio in Houma, La., for 34 years and also worked in sales for small telecommunications and oilfield equipment companies. She clearly relishes poking Democrats in the eye, cites Minnesota’s Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) as a political role model, and takes kindly to the nickname “Palin of the South.”

Whitney has only raised $123,000 to date (fourth in the GOP field), but she has sought to boost her profile and appeal to conservative donors with a slickly made YouTube video entitled “GLOBAL WARMING IS A HOAX” (84,000 views so far). In the video, Whitney gleefully and confidently asserts that the theory of global warming is the “greatest deception in the history of mankind” and that “any10-year-old” can disprove it with a simple household thermometer.

Whitney’s brand of rhetoric obviously resonates with some very conservative Louisiana voters who view President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency as big-city elitists directly attacking the state’s energy industry and their own way of life. And she would hardly be the first “climate denier” elected to Congress. But it’s not unreasonable to expect candidates to explain how they arrived at their positions, and when I pressed Whitney repeatedly for the source of her claim that the earth is getting colder, she froze and was unable to cite a single scientist, journal or news source to back up her beliefs.

To change the subject, I asked whether she believed Obama was born in the United States. When she replied that it was a matter of some controversy, her two campaign consultants quickly whisked her out of the room, accusing me of conducting a “Palin-style interview.”

It was the first time in hundreds of Cook Political Report meetings that a candidate has fled the room.
Know Nothing imbeciles are in no short supply on the fringes of instinctual, brainwashed right-wing populism. If deranged KKK-oriented gun-totin' pastors Jody Hice and Mark Walker can win primaries in Georgia and North Carolina against Establishment faves, anything goes, right? And a job in Congress is made to look so easy by folks like Bachmann, Louie Gohmert, Virginia Foxx, Steve King… Anybody could do it! And look how far Palin has gotten! Lenar Whitney may come off like a witless, brainwashed zombie who spent too much time listening to Fox and Hate Talk Radio, but another GOP queen of clowns in the making, Laura Ingraham, isn't just a victim of Hate Talk Radio's massive epidemic of ignorance; it's her stock in trade. And every since she started taking credit for defeating Eric Cantor, there has been speculation on the fringes that she would eventually run for something. Last week, London's Sunday Times DC bureau chief, Toby Harnden, filed a story explaining Ingraham to British readers by comparing her to their own neo-fascist party, UKIP, a comparison Ingraham understood… and embraced.

[S]he is fast becoming the most powerful conser­vative voice denouncing any compromise on immigration and call­ing for the deportation of the Latin American children who are amassing on the southern border of the United  States.

At a raucous campaign event in Nashville last week, Ingraham accused President Barack Obama of "fomenting a crisis at our border that seeks to undermine the very fabric of American rule of law, our sovereignty, our national identity."

Her most withering contempt was aimed at her own party’s estab­lish­ment-- the "good old boys" and "go along to get along Republican politicians doing backroom backslapping" with Democrats, being as eff­ective as "beige wallpaper."

Ingraham has already claimed the scalp of Representative Eric Cantor, the third most powerful Republican in the House of Representatives, by headlining a massive rally that helped to propel his obscure opponent to a shock victory in a party primary last month.

Her appearance in Nashville was on behalf of Joe Carr, a rough-edged candidate from Tennessee who has support from the grassroots Tea Party movement. He is standing on a "no amnesty" platform to oust Senator Lamar Alexander, a genteel deal-maker on Capitol Hill, in an August 7th primary. [The most recent polling show's Ingraham's nut-bag candidate losing by 30 points.]

…Ingraham, 50, has been branded a xenophobe because of the stand she has taken. The satirical comedian Stephen Colbert recently described her approach as "a tough love-- or a very soft hate."

She said accusations of racism were a sign of panic among her opponents. "I stand a lot more for the suffering of the American people of every colour or background than they can ever claim to," she told the Sunday Times.

"Plus, the last time I checked, I had three children living in my home from pretty difficult backgrounds, one adopted from Guatemala and two from Russia. I don’t wear that on my sleeve but, OK, I don’t like Latino people? It’s ridi­culous. I cared enough about the region to rescue someone who was abandoned there."

Carr, who is lagging in the polls and is vastly outspent by Alexander, said Ingraham’s support could be crucial. "For us to get her endorsement is huge. It’s real important when you get somebody with a microphone that big. For crying out loud, her show’s on more than 300 stations," he said.

Matt Studd, 57, a car haulage driver and Tea Party activist who was wearing a shirt emblazoned with the Ameri­can flag and images of Iwo Jima and the US constitution, said that the intervention of Ingraham, a Catholic convert, had energised conservative voters: "She’s awesome. She stands for the traditional Christian core values that we know she holds dear."

Republican leaders support centrist incumbents such as Alexander because they believe it is the easiest way to regain control of the Senate in November’s mid-term elections. Candidates such as Carr, they fear, would alienate moderate voters.

Ingraham said this outlook was akin to living in the past, explaining that she sensed a profound shift in American politics with a new element-- similar to Ukip in Britain-- emerging on the right.

"There are Tea Party elements but it has kind of an independent, anti-corporatist streak, a populist strain running through it. There’s a younger sensibility too," she said.

Republican grandees were fool­ish to believe that allowing illegal immi­grants to stay was a way to attract new voters, she added: "You make real headway in the Latino, black and immigrant communities not by selling a policy that would lower their wages and burden their communities, but by econo­mic rejuvenation. You have to be unafraid to say these things. UKIP's done that pretty well in Britain."

Ingraham hinted that her forays into Republican primary races this year could be the foundation for a political career of her own. "I've been approached by various people to get involved," she said. "I'm keeping an open mind about running for office in the future."
So if Ingraham runs for the House, where will she set up her circus tent? She lives in DC but she's from the Hartford, CT area. She could challenge popular Democrat John Larson there but the D+13 district gave Obama a 63-36% win over Romney and the last cycle saw Larson beat his GOP opponent, John Henry Decker 70-28%. Maybe they could debate Larson's resolution to honor Pope Francis, which radical right GOP bigots like Ingraham oppose. Or maybe she's smart enough to realize running in Connecticut isn't the way to go. Virginia is right down the road from her current home. The 3 districts in the DC suburbs, the 8th, 10th and 11th, are all very moderate and would be an awful fit for a kook like Ingraham. The 1st, 5th and 6th are more her style-- and they all have Republicans she could go after in primaries, respectively Rob Whitman, Robert Hurt and Bob Goodlatte. None of them is a moderate by any stretch of the imagination bit none of them is nearly extreme enough for Ingraham and her followers. And Goodlatte is a close ally of the hated Boehner and a co-sponsor of the resolution to honor Pope Francis that the extremists are all world up over.

Of course, Ingraham could run anywhere. She's a national figure-- like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Palin. They could all run-- form a third party or something. I'd like to see Ingraham run against a Blue Dog like John Barrow in Georgia. She'd beat him easily and her votes in Congress wouldn't be that much different than his anyway. And he's as dull as a doorknob and she would at least be entertaining, in the same way that Palin, Gohmert and Bachmann are entertaining.

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