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The September 23 edition of The New Republic has an article titled “The Year of the Nutjob,” in which Ed Martin is one of nine crazies the author featured (p.15). Martin fits right into the distinguished company of politicians like the Colorado gubernatorial candidate who fears that a Denver policy encouraging people to ride their bikes to work is actually “‘part of a greater strategy to rein in American cities under a United Nations treaty.'”

Here’s the conclusion of the blurb on Martin:

He [Martin] told a rightwing radio host that Obama wants to “take away [the choice] to find the Lord.” When challenged about these remarks, he insisted that government bailouts made the demise of religious freedom “a growing concern.”

The kindest way to characterize that statement is to call it a non sequitur, but those of us who are more critical than that would say–and I’ll try to put this as delicately as I can–that he’s completely full of shit. And nuts.

Apparently, Martin has caught on that he stepped over the line, because at Gov. Bob Holden’s monthly Pizza and Politics meeting, when I asked him what particular policies had gotten him so paranoid, he didn’t bring up bailouts. Instead, he smiled tolerantly and talked at length about the context of the whole interview–until I pressed him to name a government program that had made inroads on people’s ability to be saved. Then he gave a … marginally … more rational response than the bailout baloney. He said that including funds for abortion in the health care reform bill had many Christians upset. Whatever. Marginally more sane still means he’s a nutjob.


Nevertheless, he did a creditable imitation of sane that evening–despite the way some in the audience needled him. One questioner asked him whether he was aware of Carnahan being involved in any scandals that equaled Martin’s own role in the Scott Eckersley brouhaha and the million dollars that the scandal cost the state. Martin’s answer is a masterpiece of saying nothing in many words.

The actual answer to the gentleman’s question came in the final sentence of all that maundering around and could be baldly translated as, “I didn’t get indicted.”

The gentleman also wanted to know, since Martin talks often about being blessed, whether Martin will feel blessed on November 3rd if he loses. I talked to that man after the meeting, and he pointed out that in the interest of civility he didn’t say all he had planned to, which was to ask if Martin would feel as blessed if he lost as the questioner himself would.

Yet another pesky questioner, a Webster student, wanted to know if Martin supports the Paul Ryan plan. That’s a roadmap by a rightwing Congressman for reforming the country’s finances. A centerpiece of the plan is privatizing Social Security.

Martin stated unequivocally that he opposes privatizing Social Security. But, oops, he failed to point out that this viewpoint is a recent revelation for him. In the past, he has said repeatedly that he favors the Ryan plan. In March, he spoke in favor of the plan at a town hall meeting (clip at 8:40). In May, he called Paul Ryan “THE man with THE plan.” And this month, he had a high dollar fundraiser with John Boehner, who has consistently favored privatization and raising the retirement age to seventy.

True, Ed Martin is not on record ever having uttered the words, “I support privatization of Social Security,” but unless he didn’t know even the most basic information about the Ryan plan, he implicitly stood in favor of privatization.

Only lately has Martin started acting as if he hadn’t noticed that little privatization thingie in the Ryan plan. But he is, at least, very sure where he stands now–in the only safe spot for a candidate with a prayer of getting elected. You can bet he wasn’t about to show those liberals at Webster University any of his loonier beliefs.

Maybe one or two people came away from the Pizza and Politics event thinking that Ed Martin has a sober view of reality, especially if they didn’t know about his past support of the Ryan plan or understand all his illegal behavior in the Eckersley debacle–which, by the way, cost you and me more like $2.4 million. He can project a moderate, sane image.

So could Mr. Hyde some of the time.