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.