Minnesota had a vampire running for governor, which was pretty messed up…but Pandagon has found a couple of real prizes among the new crop of candidates, Merrill Keiser and Larry Kilgore. Keiser is anti-abortion and anti-homosexuals—he thinks homosexuality should be punishable by death. Kilgore wants the same thing, and also thinks adultery warrants execution. Just crazy stuff, huh?
There is a difference between our Jonathan the Impaler and these two Christian wingnuts: the vampire is a joke without a prayer of victory, but Keiser and Kilgore are typical excrescences of Christian Fundamentalism, with endorsements and money and a voting population that contains enough insane people who will pull the lever for anyone calling themselves “Christian” that they’ll get a number of votes. I don’t think they can win, but they’ll be taken seriously by far too many people.
They’ll also have a loud segment of the media behind them. Talk radio has kooks like Andrew Wilkow (whose rant you can hear at Crooks and Liars). I don’t think Wilkow is an isolated case; I’m an NPR kind of guy, but flipping around the radio dial here is a frightening experience.
And, of course, there is the current definitive example of the inmate running the asylum: Governor Mike Rounds of South Dakota. There is a tendency to dismiss people like Keiser and Kilgore as mere radical outliers, weirdos who really aren’t at all indicative of what’s actually going on in the body politic. They’re out there, though, and what they’re accomplishing is to give cover to people like Rounds; they can always point to the people who want to kill doctors and women, and say, “See, I’m not such a bad guy after all—I just want to throw doctors and women in prison!”
Give it a few more years. We’ll have politicians who will try to highlight their deep humanity by arguing that they want to kill the homos and adulterers with a painless lethal injection, rather than the stoning method advocated by the real wackos.
Joseph O'Donnell says
Is dear Jonathan the impaler still able to run even with his conviction for, ummm, stalking was it? Mind that is what vampires are supposed to do so I guess the court threw the case out hmmm?
PS: Jonathan for president 2008.
Rob Knop says
Let’s also not forget the governor of Kentucky….
Yeah, the vampire is in jail right now, awaiting extradition to Indiana, although he hasn’t been convincted of that stalking charge yet. He was on Channel 5 the other day because it looks like he’ll be going away for fraud, too. Turns out that when he lived in Florida, he managed to convince the Feds that he was dead, and then collected death benefits from the army.
Lya Kahlo says
It’s very unpopular to say, but I think it’s pretty clear Bin Laden succeeded in his mission to destroy this country. Before 9/11 were we so knee-deep in backward religious whackadoos? Those with power, I mean.
Seems to me that since then the rise of religious extremism here (that increasingly mirrors that of the Taliban-like gov’ts) if left unchecked will negate the possibility of even the illusion of democracy.
Since then, it seems an xian theocracy is what they’re after (all the while having the gall to claim they are protecting American vlaues).
I don’t know. New Zealand is looking better and better.
Joseph O'Donnell says
Yeah we’re awesome, our Prime Minister is (at last I knew) an atheist who is going overseas to a conference. Big whoop you say, leaders do that all the time, except our PM is giving the keynote speech at a conference about increasing the importance of God in everyday life.
And she is an atheist.
DRINK IN THE IRONY, FOR IT IS RICH.
In other words: no problem with religious fundamentalism here if you want to escape. You can hide in my basement if they come hunting you down.
Alon Levy says
PZ, I agree with you that this can happen – but only if Kilgore and Keiser become well-known enough. In the clearest case in recent American politics of a more radical movement giving a less radical one cover, gay rights, the radicals (the gay marriage supporters) were very well-known thanks to an Evangelical smear campaign. Will Kilgore and Keiser attract the same levels of support within conservatism as gay marriage does within liberalism, or make the same amount of noise?
PZ Myers says
He’s a vampire, DUH.
Yeah, so far it seems we have Jonathan on charges of 1) stalking and 2) saying he was dead. Although I guess there aren’t really laws in America to protect someone from being sent up the creek for “being a vampire”.
Wait, Jonathan is under arrest for stalking AND fraud? What’re you all complaining about? He’s obviously the perfect candidate for high politics!
Also, does anyone else have this thing where they keep on having to delete cookies? I have a suspicion that the cookie for Pharyngula is clashing with the cookie for another blog (Stranger Fruit maybe?) or something.
Surely all good Democrats should support Merrill Keiser. He seems to be just the person to connect with all those Americans who think that the Democrats have gone too far in their support of secularism and gay rights!
We must get Amy Sullivan to endorse his candidacy at once!
So wishing for the good old days of Jesse Ventura already? [blink blink]