As I've said repeatedly, it'd be one thing to see Dems go down based on some sort of actual, factual, reactual. But when it's based on overt insanity, what's a person to think? Where are we headed? What will become of us? I refer to these guys:
Allen West (R) in Florida's 22nd
West first gained notoriety during his military service in Iraq, when he was forced to retire from the Army for engaging in abusive interrogation techniques. More recently, he'sincorporated violent rhetoric into his campaign speeches, and made demonstrably ridiculous claims about his own background. Last month, we learned about West's ties to a violent gang of criminals, which the Justice Department believes is involved in drug running, arson, prostitution, robbery, and murder. Yesterday, he won by eight points.
Renee Ellmers in North Carolina's 2nd
Ellmers is perhaps best known for running on a virulently anti-Muslim platform, and based much of her advertising on her opposition to the Park51 project (which is nowhere near her district). In September, she appeared utterly humiliated during an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, but nevertheless narrowly won yesterday.
Austin Scott in Georgia's 8th
Scott ran on a platform that would, among other things, push mandatory drug testing for those Americans who receive unemployment benefits. He won by five points.
Scott DesJarlais in Tennessee's 4th
Roll Call reported a couple of months ago that DesJarlais, during a messy break-up with his ex-wife, allegedly held a gun in his mouth for three hours and was accused of spousal abuse. He nevertheless defeated incumbent Rep. Lincoln Davis (D) yesterday in a landslide.
Ben Quayle in Arizona's 3rd
Quayle, the son of the ridiculed former V.P., is perhaps best known for having contributed to a raunchy, sex-themed website -- and then lying about it. Yesterday, he won by double-digits.
And how to explain this, in Florida, a state where Medicare is like ATP reductase?
Rick Scott is, of course, best known as the disgraced former head of the Columbia/HCA health-care company that got caught up in a massive fraud scandal in the 1990s -- and nothing says victory in Florida like "Medicare fraud." Scott's firm later pleaded guilty to charges that it overbilled state and federal health plans, and agreed to pay $1.7 billion in fines, a record penalty for a health care company. The fines covered fraud perpetrated under Scott's watch, and he was forced out of his job as a result of the scandal.
More recently, Scott used his personal fortune to hire the Swiftboat liars' p.r. firm, and proceeded to launch a breathtakingly deceptive right-wing ad campaign in opposition to health care reform. He is, by the way, also at the center of an ongoing scandal stemming from his alleged fraud at a different health care company he created.
When the initial HCA scandal broke, and Scott was forced to give a deposition about his role, he pleaded the Fifth Amendment -- 75 times. After the second fraud scandal broke, Scott gave another deposition just days before he announced his gubernatorial campaign, but refused to let the public know what he said.
And despite his scandals and alleged crimes, and the fact that he's never held any public office and at any level, Rick Scot will now be the chief executive of one of the nation's largest states.
Usually, far-right Republicans get elected and then become criminals. It's not every day an apparent crook gets caught and then gets elected.
So what shall we make of all this? One thing, for sure: the power of Fox "news" to control the message and influence elections is complete. Absent ideas -- and Republican candidates' ideas were nothing if not absent -- elections can be won simply by ginning up rage over falsities, counting on the bottomless gullibility of teabaggers, and spending huge sums of money on deceptive ads.