Politics 2010: You’ve got to see it to believe it

I start most days in this oh-so-strange political season by rubbing my eyes hard to make sure I’m not dreaming.  Then I launch into my daily diet of visits to such political websites as electoral-vote.com, politicalwire, politico, and realclearpolitics.com.

In some ways, this routine has made for an awfully gloomy fall for an aging liberal  political junkie like me. It’s one that’s all about tea parties and cutting taxes, John Boehner’s “natural” tan and ascending future,  cowering Democrats and resurgent Republicans. Still, there are signs all the pundits sticking a fork into the Democratic Congress may be premature (more in a minute).

In any case, regardless of the outcome, you’ve got to love some of the crazies running out there even if you, like me, are wondering what’s become of the sanity of all those Americans supporting them.

Consider for example, this article in today’s New York Times (which I actually found through politicalwire) about the only “debate” in that state’s gubernatorial campaign.

The moderators’ questions were frequently ignored. The candidates barely looked at one another. One wore black gloves and spoke of himself repeatedly in the third person. And Andrew M. Cuomo, the Democratic candidate and the race’s front-runner, at times struggled to suppress laughter.

The first — and possibly last — debate in the New York race for governor unfolded as 90 minutes of political theater verging on farce Monday night ..
Kristin Davis, a former prostitution madam, made frequent brothel jokes.

Jimmy McMillan, the candidate of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, responded to a question about same-sex marriage by declaring “If you want to marry a shoe, I’ll marry you.”

And Carl P. Paladino, the Republican candidate, startled those watching by accidentally walking off stage during the closing statements, in search of the men’s room.

Who needs Comedy Central?  Just watch a few of this year’s real debates. Like one in Delaware, in which Tea Party Republican Christine “I am not a witch” O’Donnell expressed surprise that the First Amendment prohibits Congress from passing laws “respecting an establishment of religion.”

“You’re telling me that’s in the First Amendment?” she shot back at her opponent, Democrat Chris Coons.   Politicalwire.com links to a portion of their exchange here.

Thank goodness “only” about 40 percent of likely voters in Delaware have told pollsters they’re behind O’Donnell.

But in Alaska, Tea Party Republican Joe Miller is leading, though this week he admitted to ethics violation and defended his security guard’s handcuffing a newspaper editor at a campaign event.  And in West Virginia, a popular Democratic governor is running neck and neck for a U.S. Senate seat against a millionaire Republican opponent whose wife is registered and children attend school in Florida.

Then there’s Ken Buck, the Tea Party Republican in Colorado, who is still clinging to a slim lead for that state’s U.S. Senate seat after announcing that being gay is partially a choice like being an alcoholic.

And Sharron Angle, the Nevada Tea Party Republican seeking to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. This week she met a group of  Hispanic high school students concerned about the way she cast ominous-looking dark-skinned men in an anti-immigration ad. First, according to CBS News, she told them that,  “I’m not sure that those are Latinos in that commercial. What it is, is a fence and there are people coming across that fence.”  Then, as if to prove her point, she reportedly told the students she wasn’t sure they were all Hispanic either, adding, CBS eports, that   “Some of you look a little more Asian to me.”

Most polls show her leading, too.

Wow. Go figure.

And now the good, not so horrrible  news. There are some signs, at last, that the American public is coming to its senses.  Senate races in Alaska, West Virginia and Colorado are tightening, in West Virginia and Colorado within the margin of error. A new Public Policy Polling survey out today gave Democratic Senate Candidate Joe Sestak a 1 percentage point lead in Pennsylvania, a 10 point jump since its August poll.  And in Wisconsin, where Sen. Russ Feingold, the Democrat who with John McCain pushed through now-gutted campaign finance reform, has significantly closed the gap on his Republican opponent, political neophyte Ron Johnson, and now trails by just 2 points, a Wisconsin Public Radio survey reports.

The illusions (or delusions) of an old Liberal?  Maybe. Certainly all the experts are calling this a tsunami year for Republicans.

I’m still a hard sell. Let’s talk Nov. 3rd to see who is right.

About jerrylanson

I teach, write, coach and sing, though you're not required to listen to the latter. I'm a journalism professor at Emerson College in Boston. My third book, "Writing for Others, Writing for Ourselves," was published in November by Rowman & Littlefield Publishing. You can read a sample chapter at www.jerrylanson.com. My passions are politics (generally liberal in outlook), music, mountains, golden retrievers and my grandchildren, though not in that order. Please stop by and mix it up with me. I always answer those who post.
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