On Hardball last night, Chris Matthews did a pretty good job of making Rick Barber, the Republican campaigning for Congress in Alabama who has commercials wherein he has seances with dead presidents, look like both an extremist and and a guy way in over his head.
Getting your head handed to you on MSNBC is probably a badge of honor among the righties, but it does point out that by and large, folks like Mr. Barber, Sharron Angle of Nevada, and Rand Paul of Kentucky, who all have a catalogue of extreme views and WTF statements on the record, are treated as sideshow freaks. No one within the Beltway seems to take them seriously; they’re good for a laugh and mockery on The Daily Show until suddenly they’re running ahead in the primary against the establishment retainer like Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah or Rep. Bob Inglis in South Carolina… and winning.
It used to be that candidates with these extreme views and who use images of Hitler and Auschwitz to make their points were ones who had the little talk shows on the public-access cable channel and showed up on the primary ballot representing these obscure parties that you never heard of until you got to the voting booth. Now, spurned by the outrageous action of the federal government holding an election in 2008, they’ve taken it upon themselves to declare that revolution is at hand. And now they’re getting on TV, and not just wedged in between the lady who teaches decoupage with dryer lint and the ads for all-natural boner pills, either.
It’s good to see them on shows like Hardball and such; it gets them out there so that they’re not just talking to the people who agree with them. (And I suppose you can understand why they’re reluctant to do interviews with reporters or talk show hosts who aren’t wearing Reynolds Wrap.) It gives us a chance to see what is passing for “common sense” in the new GOP. For instance, you get to hear how Sharron Angle explains that there’s nothing in the Constitution that proclaims the separation of church and state, and then, five seconds later, explains exactly how the Constitution establishes it.
And at that point, it would be appropriate to turn to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner and ask them if they endorse the views and the positions of these lunatics.