During the 2008 Presidential campaign, we all experienced a litany of weird moments in politics. After the trainwreck otherwise known as the McCain/Palin ticket took center stage and the Joe Biden Gaffe-O-Meter was racing at a fevered pitch, I was sure I saw the absolute worst and weirdest that electoral politics had to offer. Meanwhile – two years later as we approach 2010 midterms next week – I’ve been forced to eat my words. This, my friends, has undoubtedly been THE weirdest political cycle on record. Lunacy is abound.
How ’bout we take a little stroll down Memory Lane? For your enjoyment (to the tune of one of my “Random News” posts), I present a list of some of the strange moments of the 2010 Midterm Election Cycle:
(1) Arizona Governor Loses Her Head: As you’re probably aware, the state of Arizona has been at the forefront of the immigration reform debate. In the absence of federal reform, Arizona has proactively done everything possible to kick them them dirty ‘spics out address the issue of illegal immigration. Things took a strange turn during the first Arizona gubernatoral debate when current Governor Jan Brewer – trying to sensationalize the threat of violence courtesy of illegal Mexican immigrants – painted a gruesome picture of headless victims being found in the desert. Creepy, huh? The problem: none of that was true. When both her opponents and members of the media called her on the lie, she pulled the ole duck and dodge:
(2) Sigh! Those New Yawkas: The gubernatoral race in New York has given us more than our fair share of entertaining and weird moments. First, let’s examine some of the antics of Republican candidate Carl Paladino. To start, there was the moment where Paladino threatened to “take out” a NY reporter, after engaging in a heated discussion about Mr. Paladino’s mistress and their daughter:
For good measure, Paladino also took shots at the homosexual community:
But the attention-grabber for the humble host of this blog comes from a former Marine turned handlebar-moustache sporting, karate expert. This dude…sigh…this dude is on the ballot as a representative of the (Wait for it. Wait for it…) “Rent is Too Damn High” party. You read that correctly, people:
Not much more to be added here. Except, perhaps, a question: What the hell is wrong with you people in New York?
(3) ‘You know y’all all look alike…” I openly admit that when it comes to Asians, I have a very difficult time drawing distinctions. You put a Chinese man, and Japanese man, a Vietnamese man, and an Indonesia man in a line up and I’d flunk every time. But even I know the differences between Asians and Latinos. My dear Sharon Angle? Not so much.
Tea Partier Sharon Angle (currently in a very tight race with incumbent Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid) has offered up a few pretty funny gaffes this year. But none have been quite as stellar as her recent comments at local Nevada high school. When asked a question about ads where she appeared to negatively depict Latinos, Angle responded to the largely Latino crowd: “I don’t know that all of you are Latino. Some of you look a little more Asian to me.” Whoa:
(4) Bueeenos Dias, Vietnam! Speaking of Asians versus Latinos, California incumbent Loretta Sanchez made headlines during the midterm cycle by stating on the Spanish network Univision that “the Vietnamese” were trying to take her seat away:
By “Vietnamese”, she was referring to her Republican opponent Van Tran, who was born in Vietnam. *Slaps forehead*
(5) The Third Riech Rich: A history buff? A little dorky, but perfectly acceptable. Wanting to commerorate a special moment in history so as to “never forget” it? A little sappy, but also OK. Coming up with a creative costume for a party? So far, so good. Dressing up as an officer in the SS? Uh…yeah. About that.
(6) Treading in Kentucky: In the Bluegrass State, Tea Partier Rand Paul has been involved in quite a few interestingly weird campaign issues. First, he made headlines by upsetting Trey Grayson, the frontrunner in Kentucky. Then Paul made additional noise by suggesting President Obama was bullying BP and undermining free market business for bringing the oil company to bear for the disasterous spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Following that same pro-free market mantra, Paul also expressed his opposition to Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, banning private businesses from discriminatory practices as they provided public services. Lots going on with him, right? Oh, it’s gets better!
In a GQ magazine article, a former college classmate of Paul’s claims that he and another person abducted her, tied her up, drugged her, and forced her to worship a fake god they named Aqua Buddha. He and his friend were said to be members of a secret society known for crude jokes and mocking Christianity. As was the case, Paul denied the accusations, but it wasn’t before Democratic opponent Jack Conway came out with a damning, yet apparently unsuccessful attack ad:
Way to survive, Paul! Now, let’s see if you have the same success dealing with supporters who beat up women. “Don’t Tread on Me. I do the treading.”
(7) Christine O’ oooh Boy: If you cringed at the thought of Sarah Palin in 2008, I hate to break the news to you: but we’ve found an heir apparent. Like Palin, Delaware Senate Candidate Christine O’Donnell emerged on to the political scene as an upstart, but has quickly become a national celebrity. But also like Palin, O’Donnell carries with her tons of baggage from the past that is resurfacing during her campaign. She crusaded against masturbation, which she likened to adultery, claimed that scientists were breeding mice with human brains, has declared evolution a myth, claimed to hear the voice of God in a previous run for the Senate, and has admittedly “dabbled” in witchcraft. These are all events from the past, and any partially astute political scientist should dismiss these storylines in the present day.
Not so recent, however, was a disaster of a debate with opponent Chris Coons when she – in full view of dozens of law students and Constitutional scholars – demonstrated her lack of knowledge of the First Ammendment. Check it:
In her defense, the Constitution do not specifically use the term ‘separation of church and state.’ However the courts have affirmed and reaffirm this interpretation for years. Even Thomas Jefferson’s writings support said separation. I don’t think Senators need to have the Constitution memorized or that they need to be Constitutional scholars. But not having even the most basic, high school civics understanding of the Constitution is pretty bad.
(8) Alvin! Alvin! Alvinnnnn!: Surpassing everything weird about this year’s political cycle has been the emergence of Alvin Greene, the Democratic Party’s candidate for the South Carolina Senate seat. As an unemployed army veteran, Greene popped up out of nowhere but was still able to capture nearly 60% of the vote during the Democratic primaries despite doing virtually no campaigning. The man gives the most horrid interviews, has had his mental stability questioned, and has apparently been indicted on obscenity charges for allegedly showing porn to a college student.
Voters of South Carolina, I present to you (and sadly, the rest of the world) your candidate for United States Senate:
As for me and my house, I predict major Congressional shifts next month. We’ll have to wait and see. But in the meantime, I rest in knowing this was one of the weirdest election cycles I’ve ever experienced. Politics at its finest.