Edwin Edwards yard sign spotted in Uptown New Orleans yesterday. (New Orleans is not part of the Sixth Congressional District where Edwards is a candidate.)
You do seem to attract more flies with crazy. David Wasserman was impressed, anyway.
As a House analyst for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, I’ve personally interviewed over 300 congressional candidates over the course of seven years, both to get to know them and evaluate their chances of winning. I’ve been impressed by just as many Republicans as Democrats, and underwhelmed by equal numbers, too. Most are accustomed to tough questions.Oftentimes the the hyper-crazy niche is more of a fundraising strategy than anything else. Candidates like Whitney pop up in congressional races across the country and serve as poster children for various right wing PACs to splash all over their websites. Whatever money is raised via this modern form of televangelism then gets piped around to other races all over the country where it might be useful to GOP candidates.
But never have I met any candidate quite as frightening or fact-averse as Louisiana state Rep. Lenar Whitney, 55, who visited my office last Wednesday. It’s tough to decide which party’s worst nightmare she would be.
Both sides rely on interlocking networks of political action committees, party organizations and nonprofit groups, often based in states with forgiving campaign finance rules, that work in concert to raise contributions and shuffle money to thousands of local races around the country. In some states, liberal or conservative donors have established political nonprofits that function like shadow parties, often exempt from the contribution limits or disclosure requirements that apply to candidates and traditional parties.Thus Whitney, who calls herself the "Palin of the South," could be part of a con similar the one her idol just launched.
Not unlike a political version of Cayman Islands banks, the networks allow political strategists to sidestep regulations and obscure the source of funds. Campaign contributions that would be banned or restricted in one state can be sent to a state where the rules allow money to flow more freely, often scrubbed of the identity of the original donor. Some groups work behind the scenes to orchestrate “money bombs” of smaller contributions from hundreds of different donors, allowing the groups to provide candidates with large doses of cash — fingerprint-free — even in states with low contribution limits.
Given the content available and the affectedly simple presentation, it’s hard not to see the new Sarah Palin Channel as simply a moneymaking enterprise.It works the same way for Democrats too, of course. Their fundraising shadow banks are just as happy to frighten their donors with right wing boogeymen as Republicans are to show them off for the Palinistas.
Her competitor Glenn Beck’s vertically integrated TV-website-dogwhistle aggregator, the Blaze, takes in $36m per year before ad revenue. And, as both Rick Perlstein and Alex Pareene have noted, one of the animating principles of the conservative movement over the last 40 years has been soaking every last dollar out of people whose intellectual incuriosity has never been an impediment to further rage and paranoia.
This is why you see Republicans and Democrats arguing with one another about who really wants to see impeachment discussed all over the news this week. Each side is accusing the other of a cynical but effective ploy to raise money. They're both right, of course.
This isn't to say that the Republicans won't go ahead and impeach the President at some point if they think they can get away with it. They will definitely cut off all of our noses to satisfy their own spite... and hopefully raise a little more scratch in the process.
Similar can be said for Louisiana Democrats who, as Wasserman suggests with that "which party's nightmare" remark, appear to be cheerleading Whitney a bit from afar. They think she might be the most beatable target for Edwin Edwards who will probably squeeze into a runoff with one of a crowded field of GOP candidates. I'd caution against such alchemy. You never know when you're going to create a monster.
Besides, Edwards seems to be handling the regular clowns well enough as it is.