Profiles in Crazy: Five of this election season’s most eccentric candidates
Ben Quayle: The Immoral “Historian”
“Barack Obama is the worst President in history,” a bold statement by notorious non-historian and Republican nominee for Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District, Ben Quayle. In his provocative ad, the son of former Vice President Dan Quayle slaps U.S. News and World Report in the face (the renowned publication ranks Richard Nixon as the worst president). The ad continues with another inflammatory claim devoid of logic: Quayle compares drug cartels in Mexico to the “tax cartel” in D.C. But the ultimate irony is in Quayle’s declaration that he was “raised right.”
Shortly after Quayle announced his bid, Nik Richie, founder of TheDirty.com, discussed Quayle’s relationship with the social networking site, which features graphic accounts of drunken, sexual escapades and photos of half-naked women waiting for Richie’s approval as to whether he would have sex with them. Under the alias Brock Landers (an abusive porn star in Boogie Nights), Quayle posted, “My moral compass is so broken I can barely find the parking lot.” He may not have a working moral compass, but the least I can hope is that he can spell the word potato – unlike his father.
Enter the “Empire State of Mind.” As if a governor who spent over $15,000 on prostitutes wasn’t bad enough, New York has again selected the craziest of the crazy. Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino boasts business experience as the owner of a construction and development company. But “business experience” is a flexible term. For Paladino, it means he is accustomed to forwarding e-mails that depict racism, sex, and bestiality to friends and co-workers. The e-mails, released by wnymedia.net, contained pornography, a depiction of President Obama and the First Lady as a pimp and a prostitute, racist de-motivational posters, and a video of a woman having sex with a horse.
Paladino’s latest bout of crazy came in the form of comments about homosexuality. In a recent speech given to leaders from New York Orthodox Jewish communities, he said, “I just think my children and your children will be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family; and I don’t want them to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an valid or successful option. It’s not.” Paladino even even attacked his opponent Andrew Cuomo for lacking morals: “Andrew’s actions of taking his kids to a gay pride parade defines him as a guy who is kind of out of the box when it comes to family values.” Rebuttal: at least Cuomo doesn’t have a mistress.
Alvin Greene, the Democratic nominee for South Carolina’s open Senate seat, is the ultimate underdog candidate. An unemployed veteran honorably but involuntarily discharged from the military, Greene lives with and takes care of his father. He aspires to create a universal healthcare system, provide free university education, and stop free trade and home foreclosures. That works, but problems arise when his candidacy’s legitimacy comes into question.
First, Greene faces charges of felony obscenity for allegedly showing an 18-year-old college student pornographic images in a computer lab and then allegedly asking if they could go to her room. In an interview with CNN anchor Don Lemon, Greene avoided all related questions by saying “no comment” or “my lawyer is dealing with that.” Lemon even questioned the state of Greene’s mental health: “Two lawmakers from your state have concern that you have a mental impairment. What do you have to say about that?” Greene’s response? “I say that back to them then; they are the knuckleheads.” The rest of the interview continued on in painful agony and frustration as Greene attempted to answer simple questions but could hardly form sentences. Greene may or may not have a mental disorder, but the story of his campaign and his unformulated speech sure qualify him as a little bit crazy.
Sharron Angle, Nevada’s Republican U.S. Senate nominee, lacks tact and reasoned logic and has advocated using “Second Amendment remedies” if things do not go the Tea Party’s way at the ballot box. Another case in point: her comments that “our economy is just being water-boarded here. We are being tortured, and it is all Harry Reid’s fault.” Almost as offensive as Angle’s confusing rhetoric are her actual policy positions, which include U.S. resignation from the UN, abolishing the Department of Education, phasing out social security, and shutting down the IRS.
Her campaign ads are as bad as, if not worse than, her policy standpoints. In an attack ad, Angle says, “Harry Reid voted to use taxpayer dollars to pay for Viagra for convicted child molesters and sex offenders.” Angle argues that because Reid didn’t amend a bill’s erectile dysfunction subsidy provision to exclude convicted sex offenders, he therefore endorses appropriating federal expenditures toward supplying sex offenders with Viagra. This is passion without logic, but the insanity does not stop here. Behold Angle’s claim about Sharia law, or Islamic law, taking root in Dearborn, MI, and Frankford, TX. Believing we are in danger, she suggested that Americans bear arms in response to this “militant terrorist situation.” The mayor of Dearborn responded, “I am deeply distressed that you have been misled about our community and the way that we conduct our affairs. Muslims have been practicing their faith in our community for almost 90 years without incident or conflict.” The mayor of Frankford was unable to comment; the town no longer exists.
Christine O’Donnell, the GOP’s choice for Delaware’s Senate seat, is quite possibly a perfect candidate: she is a likable, polite, and pretty working-class girl. In a campaign ad she says, “I am not a witch… I’m nothing that you’ve heard… I’m you.”
Beautifully orchestrated campaign message aside, O’Donnell might be the craziest candidate of all time.
Case study #1: mice. In a 2007 episode of The O’Reilly Factor, O’Donnell discussed research in cloning: “American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains.” Case study #2: China. The Associated Press reports that during a debate in Delaware’s 2006 Senate primary, O’Donnell said that China had a “carefully thought out and strategic plan to take over America” and that she possessed classified information from Christian missionaries there. Case study #3: masturbation. In an interview on MTV’s “Sex in the 90s” series, O’Donnell said that having lust in your heart is adultery and that you can’t masturbate without lust. Public service announcement: masturbation is now adultery. Finally, on an episode of Bill Maher’s 90s television talk show Politically Incorrect, O’Donnell was presented with the question “What if you were hiding Jewish people in your house during WWII and Hitler asked you if you were? Would you lie to him?” Her answer? No: “You never have to practice deceit.”
The 2010 midterm election season has proven extremely entertaining and somewhat frightening. Americans are uncharacteristically involved and in tune with an election that typically displays fewer moments of theatrics and grandeur. But let us at least hope that we the people of the United States understand just how crazy these candidates are. Do we really want legislators fighting terrorists in towns that don’t exist or regulating mice with human brains? Or can we accept that our politicians can be boring as long as they are sane? I cast my vote for the latter.