I’ve written before about Herschel Walker, the former footballer who is now running for a seat in the United States Senate from the state of Georgia. Walker … well, I think he may have taken a few too many hits to the head in his football career, because I swear that every time he opens his mouth, it comes out stupid. But his take on the well-being of the planet and life here on Planet Earth is simply jaw-dropping. Back in July, he gave a speech and had a rather convoluted take on air quality and how he thinks it works …
“We in America have some of the cleanest air and cleanest water of anybody in the world. The U.S would spend millions of billions of dollars cleaning our good air up. Since we don’t control the air, our good air decided to float over to China’s bad air so when China gets our good air, their bad air got to move. So it moves over to our good air space. Then now we got to clean that back up, while they’re messing ours up. So what we’re doing is just spending money. Until these other countries can get on board and clean what they got up, it ain’t going to help us to start cleaning our stuff up. We’re already doing it the right way.”
And then on Sunday, in response to the environmental protections built into the newly-signed Inflation Reduction Act, he had this to say …
“They continue to try to fool you that they are helping you out. But they’re not. Because a lot of money, it’s going to trees. Don’t we have enough trees around here?”
I literally grabbed my head and groaned when I read that one. I think, perhaps, Mr. Walker has already suffered from oxygen deprivation at some point in his life! No, Herschel, we don’t have enough trees, but what we do have a surplus of is ignorant wanna-be members of Congress! Please, Georgians, do not send this man to Washington!
There is a complete roster of highly unqualified and improbably candidates on the Republican ticket this year, and Eugene Robinson has done a great job of highlighting the worst of the worst, with the conclusion that while the former guy’s picks have racked up points in the primaries, they may well have brought about the opposite when it comes to November’s election …
Which Republican Senate candidate is worst? There are so many choices!
22 August 2022
The race for the title of most incompetent, least electable Republican candidate for the Senate has become a real competition. Thanks, Donald Trump.
The former president’s endorsements led enough bad Senate nominees to primary victories that the GOP’s hopes of seizing control of the chamber — in what should be a Republican year — are fading. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) acknowledged ruefully last week that “candidate quality” is an issue. The “lack thereof” might have been implied, but his point was obvious.
Former football star Herschel Walker, whom Trump muscled his party into nominating against Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael G. Warnock in Georgia, had an early lead in the contest for hands-down-worst Republican standard-bearer. His across-the-board incoherence remains unmatched. But while Walker trails in the polls, he is actually doing better than some of his Trump-endorsed counterparts in other states.
Take Mehmet Oz, who trails Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman by 7½ points in the RealClearPolitics polling average in the battle for retiring GOP Sen. Patrick J. Toomey’s Pennsylvania seat.
It makes sense that Trump, a former reality television star, backed a reality television physician. But Oz’s supposed media savvy hasn’t made up for his other problems, chief among them, a lack of connection to the state he wants to represent.
Oz, a longtime New Jersey resident, only moved to Pennsylvania two years ago. Fetterman’s campaign has made gleeful, social-media-friendly hay from that fact, pushing for Oz to be nominated to the New Jersey hall of fame and spotlighting the number of Oz’s residences.
It certainly didn’t help last week that a video of Oz going grocery shopping and complaining about inflation went viral. Oz was trying to portray himself as Joe Average. He did not succeed.
In the video, first he gets the name of the store wrong — it was a Redner’s, a well-known Pennsylvania-based chain, not “Wegner’s,” as he called it. He then examines some raw broccoli, asparagus and carrots, and explains, “My wife wants some vegetables for crudités.” Fetterman, a cargo-shorts and hoodie-wearing Joe Average in everything but height, responded: “In PA, we call this a veggie tray” and issued a bumper sticker with the slogan “Let Them Eat Crudité.”
Then there’s Blake Masters. In Arizona, Republicans had high hopes of defeating incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, who looked vulnerable. But Trump pushed the GOP to nominate Masters, a venture capitalist and political novice who has disturbing support from far-right extremists, and who backs Trump’s false claims about the purported illegitimacy of the 2020 presidential election.
Masters has also attacked McConnell as being “not good at” legislating and has called for him to be replaced as GOP leader in the Senate. While Kelly’s political skills are seen by Democratic strategists as less than dazzling, a Fox News poll last week found him leading Masters by eight points, 50 percent to 42 percent.
In Ohio, the GOP ought to have had a lock on retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s seat; Trump won the state by eight points in 2020. But a mid-August poll by Emerson College showed Republican J.D. Vance ahead of Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan by a mere three points, and a string of earlier polls by the nonpartisan Center Street PAC consistently showed Ryan in the lead.
Vance might have gotten rich writing his best-selling memoir, “Hillbilly Elegy,” but Ryan has deep roots in the state’s post-industrial Youngstown area. Vance was stridently anti-Trump before he became stridently pro-Trump, and — like Walker, Oz and Masters — he is a political novice.
Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, a MAGA true-believer, trails Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes by four points, 50 percent to 46 percent, in a recent Fox News poll. Even Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is suddenly running for his political life against his likely challenger, Democratic Rep. Val Demings. The polling averages have Rubio ahead; but the only recent survey, by the University of North Florida, showed Demings with a four-point lead. These races are close. And given polling errors in Democrats’ favor in recent elections, the contests might be even fiercer than these figures indicate.
Still, if the GOP snatches defeat from the jaws of victory and falls short in the Senate, Trump will be to blame. It is not clear what impact the Supreme Court’s decision striking down Roe v. Wade — made possible by the three justices Trump appointed — will have on Democratic turnout. But if voters across the country come out in huge numbers to support abortion rights, as they did in the recent Kansas referendum, then all bets are off.
Could Democrats even keep their majority in the House? Still unlikely. But watch this space, because it looks impossible to overestimate the damage Trump can do to his own party.