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14 Oct, 2010 21:29

Political circus ravages US midterm elections

Things are heating up in the countdown to the November 2 US midterm elections. RT highlights the top five dumbest or most bizarre things candidates have said or done.

Kicking the list off is West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin who is running for Senator. Apparently the best way to protect the US is with a big riffle; which he utilizes to emphasize his NRA endorsement while shooting a cap and trade bill.

Next up was Sharron Angle, candidate for Senate from Nevada. When asked what she would do as a Senator to secure more jobs for Americans, she simply responded, “Well, that’s not my job as a US Senator.”

Number three, Ilario Pantano, running for Congress from North Carolina first gained attention because he was accused of murder by the US Marine Corps, he is now in the lime light for his comments on China’s moon program, their satellite lasers and China’s potential to use Cuba as a base of operations to attack the US with the equivalent of “1000 Pear Harbors”.

On the other end, Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois targeted his opponent, Senator Bill Brady, with an ad about mass euthanization of animals.

But, taking the top spot is none other than Delaware’s Senate candidate, Christine O’Donnell. In a debate with her opponent she explained what she believed to be the reasons behind the war in Afghanistan.

She said, “When we were fighting the Soviets over there in Afghanistan in the 80s and 90s we did not finish the job, so now we have a responsibility to finish the job”.

There is a long tradition in the US House and US Senate of saying stupid things, said Keith Koffler, the editor of the White House Dossier.

I think really these people are sort of practicing for their time in Washington,” he added.

In the upcoming elections candidates do not have a lot to say, so they are resorting to weird and off the wall topics, explained Brent Budowsky, a columnist at The Hill newspaper in Washington.

This is a serious time in America with complicated issues and people are suffering hardship. The candidates, in truth, don’t have a lot to say that’s constructive, that’s positive and it’s clear,” said Budowsky.

He argued that the Republicans have moved to the far right, citing Angle’s opposition to unemployment benefits, and other anti- minimum wage campaigners.

With the Anti-Washington fervor that’s out in the country you see a lot of candidates who are new candidates; these are not experienced politicians. Frankly, they’re saying a lot of unusual things,” said Koffler.

Many on the right see President Obama’s administration as radical and highly liberal, he explained. Because of this the right is shifting further right to counter what they see as threatening.

A number of candidates have also avoiding sounding to elite or intelligent in order to remain in-touch with the American people.

“If you talk to political consultants and campaign managers, and many American cable television producers, and I’ve done some American cable television, they believe the American people are dumb. I think in the end that if you talked respectfully to the American people, which nobody is really doing right now, very few candidates are doing, I think the republic would respond. But, these are people that have nothing profound to say, nothing profound to suggest,” said Budowsky.

Koffler added that many who are running for office on the right feel they represent the average voter; they feel Obama is talking down to the voters.

Issues like the 2nd amendment are important out in the country, which is shocking to Washington but not to the voters they are targeting.

Independents are moving away from Obama, they see him as too far to the left and Republicans as well clearly are very energized and angry,” said Koffler.

Lots of people are simply not experienced in political campaigning. It’s not that these candidiates are saying anything for attention, although that may be part of the equation, Koffler explained. 

Wonkette blogger Sara Benincasa described the 2010 midterm campaign cycle as utterly unbelievable.

Unfortunately, we no longer have the tradition of the scholar statesman. There’s not going to be another Thomas Jefferson anytime soon," said Benincasa. “We live in a time where people want to see themselves reflected everywhere; whether it’s on reality television or in their local Senator’s office. I don’t know what that is exactly. I think it has to do with some kind of weird ego trip like, well; I’m not that smart so my Senator shouldn’t be that smart either so he can appeal to me! It’s ridiculous, but that is the trend right now.”

The campaigns have focused on finding an enemy and the use of fear; evil China or the evil terrorists.

The fear tactics, the politics of fear are so powerful and we don’t have, despite what Christine O’Donnell might thing, we don’t actually have the USSR to kick around anymore,” she said. “There’s nothing that unties people so much as fear. Unfortunately kindness and happiness and love and forgiveness don’t whip people up into a frenzy all that often.”

She explained that some are simply seeking attention.

“We live in a culture that emphasizes fame for fame’s sake,” she said.

A candidate, who Benincasa would not name, actually came to her requesting she do comedy videos with the candidate for his campaign.

When I talked to the consultant, they said yea, well we just want to get him more national media attention. It doesn’t seem to be about being elected. Sara Palin has shown you don’t need to be elected to become a super star. In fact, she’s making way more money now than she would have been as the Vice President. So yes, I think there is a big emphasis on becoming a star rather than necessarily an intelligent viable political candidate,” she said.