Christine O'Donnell is not a witch. She's a distraction. Granted, it is very easy to get laughs and gasps pointing out the antics of a trained monkey dressed up as a sexy candidate for public office, but let us not lose track of the fact that she is a fringe extremist with as much chance of winning her state-wide election as Mel Gibson has of winning a commendation from the National Organization of Women. While we, the concerned humor community, have a riotous time getting laughs from the most apparent punch line, other horrible candidates equally worthy of ridicule go unscathed. I think we owe it to our readers, our listeners and our nation to broaden our satirical range of fire. A few cases in point:
Sharon Angle, running for Senate in Nevada, runs racist ads talking about immigration policies while exclusively exhibiting images of dangerous looking Latino thugs and dark, lurking figures. Speaking to a Latino students' organization, she says these ads were not about Latinos at all, but rather about protecting the border with Canada. You know. That long stretch of unprotected boundary between Nevada and Canada. She also said that this was not about the Latino students in her audience, many of whom, she said, looked more Asian to her. Was she suggesting that they were lying about their ethnicity? Or was she suggesting that she only wants to protect America from those Latinos who look Latino? But wait. She's not fully off the rails yet! She went on to say that she has been described as Nevada's first Asian-American legislator. As far as anyone can tell, this is not true. Not that she is Asian-American. We know that's not true. No, what we can't find is anyone ever even describing her that way. Once, apparently, a reporter told her that she looked sort of Asian. I can see the campaign ads now, "I'm Sharon Angle. I'm not racist. I've been told that I look sort of Asian."
Rand Paul, a professional ophthalmologist who has no vision, feels very strongly that the budget should be balanced by not cutting services to anyone and not raising taxes on anyone. He is a strong supporter of universal health care for anyone who can afford it. As a Tea Party activist with an immigration stance that is firmly rooted in xenophobia, he wants to take America back to a simpler time before public education enabled so many people to do simple math and figure out when things just don't add up.
Meg Whitman, candidate for Governor of California, has spent $119,000,000.oo on her campaign, more than three times as much as was raised from actual supporters. Apparently the former CEO of eBay mistakenly believes that she can have the governorship just by being the highest bidder. Her confusing stance on public education suggests that by relying on her experience as a corporate officer, she will be able to get the California school system to begin turning a profit. I think she plans to raise test scores by outsourcing homework to nations in which kids are taught things.
Colorado Senate candidate Ken Buck declared that homosexuality is addictive, like alcoholism or smoking. Offending gays by suggesting that their natural sexual preference is a disease isn't enough for Ken Buck, though. He also offends addicts and alcoholics by saying that he does not see addiction as a disease but rather a "lifestyle choice with limited biological influences." I don't know what the guy is thinking. If he can't get the booze addled to vote for him, I can't imagine who will think he's a good candidate. (For the record, Ken Buck is really his name. It's not something he made up to sound more like a porn star.)
Running as Ohio's Republican candidate for District 9, Rich Iott likes to dress up like a member of the Nazi Wiking Panzer division for war reenactments. Seriously. It's not even a kinky, private sex thing. He actually does this with his buddies in public. Questioned about it, he explains that they weren't really "collaborators." The Wikings just fought for the Nazi army because they were patriots. When it was pointed out that one member of the division was charged with the killing of 58 Jews, he said, "The war on the eastern front was extremely brutal on both sides. Nobody was lily-white, that's for sure. Horrible things happened on both sides." That's right. There's enough blame to go around. Apparently all 58 of those murdered Jews had the audacity to go around being Jewish.
There are others. Carly Fiorina whose personal contribution to outsourcing earned massive profits for herself, now runs on a platform based on her success as a business woman, having run Hewlett Packard briefly before being publicly forced to resign. Jeff Flake of Arizona, a man of limited government and intellect, should be on our radar just for his name for crying out loud. From Mark Miller, the twelve-year-old who asserts that America never encounters violence in its political system (Lincoln, Kennedy, MLK, Ford and Reagan notwithstanding) to the half-dozen or so GOP bigwigs who should be old enough to know better than to circulate racist e-mails, there are plenty of targets out there, people.
This is important. I know, Christine O'Donnell is fun to ridicule. I know she's the comedic gift that just keeps giving. But let's do our work. Let's not lean on her for all of our material, lest others, guilty of equally hilarious and far more dangerous craziness go unridiculed. It's not the tea-baggery that worries me so much as the nut-baggery.
The Republican Party, leaning farther and farther to the right, must not be allowed to look sane by comparison to the craziest. The really dangerous candidates must not be overlooked thanks to clever misdirection. Don't look at the pretty assistant over on the side, undulating oddly. I know, she's cute and she's doing hilarious shtick, wrapping herself in the American flag and offering suggestive peeks at the Wiccan tattoo on her ankle. Still, it would serve you well to keep your eye on the guy who's about to make your money disappear. And your job. And your house. And your public services. And your educational system. And your infrastructure.
They're dressing up as Nazis and building fences, guys. Seriously.