Those of you who read national political blogs and newsletters, have heard by now about the total craziness of Christine O’Donnell, the anti-sex crusader turned Tea Party candidate who won the Delaware GOP senatorial primary last night. It struck me that this would be the same thing as the Missouri GOP selecting dim-witted, God-Squadie Cynthia Davis as their candidate for national office. It seems, though, that Missouri Republicans aren’t quite as addled as those in Delaware since they decided that they didn’t even think Davis was ready for the state senate.
But wait, you say, the Missouri GOP still has time to prove that they are as over-the-bend in thrall to the Tea Party craziness as the good folk in Delaware (and Nevada, Alaska, and New York). Isn’t nutty Ed Martin running on Tea Party gas? To which I respond that that might be true, but Ed Martin actually strikes me as slipperier than he is crazy – a opportunist who sees how the Republican party is beginning to roll and thinks Tea Party might be the way to the goodies if he plays his cards right.
Then, of course, you could pull out your pièce de résistance, super-looney Todd Akin who dreams of an overtly Christian state. Conservative but quite sane Republicans in the 2nd district keep sending him to Washington time and again. The usual response is that Todd keeps a low profile with his craziness – although you could also point out, if you were so inclined, that the Missouri Democratic party also seems content to write the 2nd district off.
You could probably say similar things about many of the Missouri Republican pols – I just picked my favorites. And in point of fact, Tea Party bassackwardness* may just be current GOP politics as usual in Missouri – certainly evidence exists that the Tea Party in general is no more than that part of the the hard right Republican base that likes to dress up in eighteenth century costumes. Certainly, for all their populist blather, the TP “patriots” here don’t seem to have strong objections to corporate go-to boys like Roy Blunt.
However, I wonder if these primaries might not embolden folks like Akin to crawl out a little further into the light, while the rest of our GOP contingent gets just a little bit more shrill. Speaking about the impact on the GOP that the electoral success of the likes of O’Donnell might have, Ezra Klein seems right on the money:
Politicians are, by nature, a fearful species. But their nightmares became a lot more specific last night. The Tea Party, for all its unexpected successes, cannot topple every incumbent Republican in the country. But by toppling the right ones, it can make every incumbent Republican vote and speak and act with the Tea Party in mind. So though the Te Party isn’t likely to send all that many of its own Republicans to Washington, the likely outcome of last night’s primaries is that the Tea Party takes over the Republicans who are already in Washington, and don’t want to be sent home.
I would add that Democrats aren’t immune. I would suggest that we are already seeing the effect of the Tea Party on conservadems like Claire McCaskill who last summer, in spite of her town hall efforts at rationality, seems to have been roundly schooled by the Tea Party, and now runs away fast whenever confronted by real Democratic principles.
* Bassackward: The art and science of hurtling blindly in the wrong direction with no sense of the impending doom about to be inflicted on one’s sorry ass. Usually applied to procedures, processes, or theories based on faulty logic, or faulty personnel. From the Urban Dictionary