Just How Bad Can They Be, Right?

I particularly liked Gail Collins’ piece in yesterday’s New York Times.  She injects a bit of humour into an otherwise depressing situation.

Whoops! Behold the Republican Trove of Truly Terrible Candidates.

By Gail Collins

Opinion Columnist

5 October 2022

Down to the finish line, people. Elections just about a month away. A ton of races to keep track of, but if you’re looking for diversion, you’ll find some of the Senate campaigns really … unusual.

In a normal year — OK, let’s just admit there hasn’t been any such thing for ages. But if normal years existed in American politics and this was one of them, we could reasonably assume the Republicans were going to be big winners. You know, two years after one party takes control in Washington, voters have a tendency to rise up in remorse and throw out whoever’s been in.

Except — whoops — the Republicans have assembled a trove of truly terrible candidates. You’d almost think the party honchos met in secret and decided that running the Senate was too much of a pain, and that they needed to gather some nominees who would guarantee they could keep lazing around in the minority.

I know you know that we have to begin this discussion with Herschel Walker.

A few days ago, Georgia looked like a prime possibility for a turnover. It tilts strongly toward the G.O.P., and Walker seemed like your normal Republican candidate by 2022 standards — terrible, yeah, but with some political pluses. His autobiography vividly described a spectacular rise to sports, school and business success after a childhood in which “I was an outcast, a stuttering-stumpy-fat-poor-other-side-of-the-railroad-tracks-living-stupid-country boy.”

On the minus side, Walker was a tad, well, fictional on points ranging from his academic and business achievements to the number of his children.

Walker also has a very angry and social media-skilled son who describes him as a terrible father to four kids by four different women, who “wasn’t in the house raising one of them.”

Plus, Walker seems totally out to lunch when it comes to … issue stuff. He attacked Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act with its emphasis on halting global warming, as did many, many conservatives. But I’m pretty sure Walker was the only one who argued that “we have enough trees.”

So maybe not a perfect pick for a candidate to run against incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock, a longtime public speaker, community activist and pastor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s old church. But hey, Walker was a really good football player! And a Donald Trump fave!

As the whole world now knows, The Daily Beast reported that one of Walker’s ex-girlfriends says that he’d paid for her to have an abortion, producing the check for $700 along with … a get-well card.

Rather problematic for a candidate who calls for a “no exceptions” abortion ban. Walker denied the whole thing, except the hard-to-ignore check. “I send money to a lot of people,” he told Fox News. As only he can.

Walker isn’t the only awful candidate the Republicans are fielding in critical races. In New Hampshire, a Democratic senator, Maggie Hassan, is running for re-election to a seat she won by only about 1,000 votes last time around.

The Republicans had it made. All the party had to do was avoid nominating somebody off the wall, like Don Bolduc, a retired general who the Republican governor, Chris Sununu, called a “conspiracy-theory extremist.”

Surprise! Bolduc won the primary. And the way he’s handling his victory makes you think he was as shocked as the party leaders. From the beginning of his campaign, he’d told voters that he was positive Donald Trump actually won the 2020 election. In August, he was assuring them, “I’m not switching horses, baby.” Then, after he got the nomination in September, he, um, wavered. (“What I can say is that we have irregularity.”)

This is the same guy who vowed to “always fight” for the life-begins-at-conception principle. But we live now in a political world where Republicans are discovering, to their shock, that people don’t want to be told what to do about their reproduction choices. Bolduc is now rejecting Lindsey Graham’s proposal for a federal ban on abortion after 15 weeks. (“Doesn’t make sense.”)

In the Republican search for terrible candidates for winnable races, we can’t overlook Arizona. It’s a very tough state for Democrats. The incumbent, Mark Kelly, won the seat after John McCain’s death with the power of his story — an astronaut who took his wife’s place as family politician after she was shot in the head while meeting with constituents. Many of his supporters feared he’d be doomed to defeat in a year like 2022.

Enter Blake Masters, the Trump-backed Republican nominee who appeared in one early campaign ad toting a short-barreled rifle that he kinda boasted was designed not for hunting but “to kill people.”

Masters, a venture capitalist, rose into political prominence with the enthusiastic backing of Peter Thiel, billionaire megadonor. You certainly cannot dismiss a candidate with that kind of money, even if he does have a history of blaming gun violence on “Black people, frankly” and making a video while dressed in war paint in which he makes fun of people who worry about “cultural insensitivity.”

Lots to look out for, particularly if you’re not interested in baseball playoffs or another “Halloween” movie in which Jamie Lee Curtis does battle with Michael Myers. Hey, you don’t need to go to a movie theater to be horrified. Just think what the Senate would be like if these guys win.

28 thoughts on “Just How Bad Can They Be, Right?

  1. I have often wondered why Trump is backing some of the candidates he is rewarding with his blessings. It worked in 2016 to be snti-everything-politically-acceptible, which was soundly rejected in 2020. So how does he respond, aside from denying he lost the election? By doubling down on anti-establishmentarians? I think he is refusing to see how out of touch with reality he is. Yes, there are still some voters who believe in destroying America, but Americans roundly said “No! No more!”
    If America elects some of these anti-abortion Big Lie promoters (THEY ARE NOT POLITICIANS!) then I think we can safely say the American experiment is dead.
    Maybe, just maybe, Trump is out to destroy the Republican Party for not backing his attempt to overthrow an election he already knew he was going to lose. He is petty enough to do that. I hope he succeeds — in destroying the GOP. They have lost any interest they had in bring governers. What they want is total control, which cannot be allowed in a freedom-loving society.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your point is valid, BUT … a couple of other factors are in play here. First, gerrymandered districts give a larger voice to Trumpeters in some states, and second, the new rounds of voter disenfranchisement laws will make it difficult, if not impossible, for some — specifically minorities, working mothers, college students, the elderly — to vote in many states. And third, people in general are more concerned with their day-to-day needs than long-term views, thus the price of fuel, inflation, etc., all blamed on President Biden and “those evil Democrats”, will change some voters’ minds and they will vote for Republicans even as they hold their nose against the stench. I don’t know that Trump cares one way or another about destroying or building the Republican Party … Trump is out for Trump and will happily stomp on any to get his way. The ‘leaders’ of the Republican Party are not bright enough to understand that they are being used.


  2. Jill, there are several candidates like Walker, Ted Budd, Ron Johnson and Dr. Oz the Republican party should politic against on behalf of their party and our country. We should not forget Dr. Oz was hauled before Congress to testify as to why he advocated all these miracle drugs on his show without data and putting people at risk. Congress rightfully admonished him.

    Budd is a gun shop owner who simply just likes to make stuff up. He also has benefitted from federal money that he preaches against. Johnson is so far afield on his Trumpism, his own party has openly disagreed with him. Johnson should have hung up his spurs a long time ago.

    And, Walker may be a great football player, but he is not the best to represent the values so touted by the right. People should pay attention to what his son is saying. Along with Trump, he proves these are just words not values to live by. Keith

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  3. Pingback: Just How Bad Can They Be, Right? | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

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