Stateside,  The Right,  Wingnuttery

USA tossing out political class?

Cross-posted from Roland Dodds at The Propagandist

There were plenty of head scratching results following Tuesday’s election, but the outcome of the Colorado governor’s race provides the most significant reason to despair. Tom Tancredo, ex-Republican and all around nutcase, received 36.7 percent of the electorates support running on the openly theocratic Constitution Party’s ticket. The party has been the home to right-wing candidates too extreme for the Republican base, but this is the first time I have seen one of their candidates receive significant support from the voters and the conservative establishment. Sarah Palin, in an attempt to earn a world record for the most candidates endorsed in an election cycle, publicly backed Tancredo. The reasons to detest Palin and her bit were plentiful, but her willingness to endorse a candidate running with a political party as abhorrent as Tancredo’s is astonishing. 

Here are just a few highlights of the Constitution Party’s platform:

  • Repeal an act making it illegal to use force or the threat of force to interfere with a woman seeking an abortion
  • Repeal the Voting Rights Act of 1965
  • Pornography “is a distortion of the true nature of sex created by God for the procreative union between one man and one woman in the holy bonds of matrimony” and should not be protected under the First Amendment.
  • To restore our government to its Constitutional limits and our law to its “Biblical foundations”
  • Retake the Panama Canal
  • Prevent women from serving in combat as “these ‘advances’ undermine the integrity, morale and performance of our military organizations”

A winning platform if I have ever seen one.

Tancredo brings his own brand of crazy to the party. He argued in 2005 that the U.S. should “take out” Muslim holy cities if Islamic terrorists nuked the United States. Tancredo has been unabashed in his anti-immigration rhetoric and policy prescriptions, believing illegal immigration to the United States represents a “clash of civilizations.” Even conservative commentators at RedState have addressed the unsavory anti-immigration backers Tancredo has gathered around his campaigns.

The fact that a candidate running on a party platform that includes such reactionary bile could receive the endorsement of major conservative leaders like Sarah Palin and a sizable percentage of the vote should distress those on both the left and the right. Palin and the Tea Party want to claim that they are fighting for a return to “conventional” American values; their willingness to side with a political party so vastly removed from the mainstream exposes both the cynical and ideological nature of these actors. Tea Party supporters backed a slew of candidates that should never have been given a place on a major parties ticket, but their support for Tancredo takes the cake. In a rush to support politicians outside of the beltway, conservative activists have dug deep into the reactionary past and brought elements of the movement into their fold that should have remained obscured.

There is something to be said for tossing out the political class every few years, but it matters who is sent to Washington to replace them. In a rush to find “authentically” conservative candidates, the Tea Party and its supporters have started down a road that will lead them far from the rational small-government conservatism the movement claims to champion.