The clerk at my local post office was absolutely apoplectic at the site of the motley group of young African-American political canvassers that had set up their literature table on the sidewalk in front of her station. She raged loudly to me that she would call the police and have them carted away. The trigger for her rage was the big emblazoned photo on the top and side of their table with a picture of President Obama captioned "Impeach Him Now!"
The clerk was African-American and nearly all the patrons in the station were African-American. They nodded their heads in assent at the clerk's loud threat to have the group arrested. Their pitch to other African-Americans to impeach Obama seemed bizarre, if not outright dangerous. But confrontation and danger is nothing new for them. They were members of the Lyndon LaRouche Youth Movement. This is an offshoot of the equally bizarre, Lyndon LaRouche political organization founded by the group's patron guru, Lyndon LaRouche. The LaRouche movement is known and condemned as a clownish collection of kooks, cranks, and oddballs who spout near paranoid, conspiracy theories on globalism, one world domination, and secret mind control manipulation by a cabal of global corporate leaders. LaRouche has also been tagged as anti-Semitic, racist, and sexist. He and his supporters vehemently deny this, but tidbits of dubious statements on race, Jews, and women are sprinkled through his voluminous writings.
LaRouche's positions on some major issues certainly border on the repulsive and farcical. He calls for a military buildup to prepare for imminent nuclear war, the colonization of Mars by 2025, the screening and quarantine of all AIDS patients, and he opposes environmentalism, HMOs, gay rights, abortion, and nuclear disarmament.
Now enter LaRouche adherent Kesha Rogers. Her jolting congressional win in the Texas Democratic primary has made her a national figure, and casts a fresh eye on LaRouche's philosophy. Her win was even more eye catching in that the seat she seeks in the 22nd Congressional District was once held by disgraced former House Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay. The possibility that a Democratic has a fighting chance at winning this seat normally would be cause for cheer by Texas Democrats and a sweet prize for the Democratic National Committee. Instead, it's turned into a political embarrassment and nightmare for them.
Texas Democratic party officials took the unprecedented step of disavowing her campaign. In a resolution they struck her name from the official online list of congressional contests. They emphatically warned that Rogers will not have access to Party materials or data, no listing on the Party website and no position of privilege or recognition at Party meetings or conventions. Rogers fired back and called their punitive action an "insult" to the voters. She accused the Democrats of "not acting in the interests of the people." She made it clear that she's running as much against the Democratic Party as her GOP opponent, incumbent Pete Olsen.
Stripped of LaRouche's wacky positions, philosophy, and odious taint not to mention the absurd impeach Obama campaign, some of the platform positions Rogers spells out on her official campaign website that call for tighter regulations on banks and Wall Street, massive spending on job creation, and infrastructure repair projects, are moderate, even pedestrian. Mainstream Democrats and President Obama have called and fought for pretty much the same things.
The problem, though, is that Rogers can't and won't be separated from LaRouche. In her platform, she boasts that she will work with the LaRouche Youth Movement backed congressional campaigns in California and Massachusetts. Unlike South Carolina mystery Senate Democratic primary winner, Alvin Greene, she actually raised cash, campaigned, and publicly touted her positions on the issues. On her website, she's actively soliciting donations for her general election battle against Olsen. In an even odder twist, the website looks exactly like the campaign site of the president she wants to impeach, Obama, even down to its colors, design, and layout.
Rogers's primary win raises the same daunting questions that Greene's win in South Carolina raised. That is are thousands of voters so disenchanted, distrustful, and repelled by Democrats that they would knowingly cast ballots for an unknown or a radical fringe candidate? Are Greene and Rogers political aberrations? Or, are they a harbinger of an ominous political threat to the Democrats? Rand Paul's upset win in the Kentucky GOP primary raised the same daunting questions for the GOP. There are no firm answers to these questions, as yet. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs didn't have an answer either. When asked about Rogers he begged off with the curt comment that he couldn't "read anything" into the primary results.
Greene and Rogers won in primaries that drew relatively little party and media attention, and didn't require them to spend much money. But a strong showing by Greene with little to no party backing, and by Rogers with her party disavowing her might give an answer that Democrats would find terrifying.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His new book is How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge (Middle Passage Press).
Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/earlhutchinson