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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Erick the Red

There’s been a lot of buzz, mostly in the progressive blogosphere, over the news that the proprietor of the notable right-wing RedState blogging site, Erick Erickson, of Macon, Georgia, has been given a perch on a new CNN show hosted by John King.
Most of the talk has featured some of Erick’s more colorful utterances, particularly his description of Supreme Court Justice David Souter as well, a child molester who also enjoys carnal knowledge of certain barnyard animals, and his reference to First Lady Michelle Obama as a “Marxist harpy.” As a fairly regular reader of RedState, if only to get the juices going on slow days, I can say I’m most impressed with the casual cranky extremism of Erick’s stuff on a day-in, day-out, basis, and particularly his bully-boy determination to play a role in Republican primaries around the country. His obsession, for example, with the defeat of Republican Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah, a pretty conventional conservative by most standards, has long since passed Carthago delenda est levels and must be viewed as a matter of sheer ego, if not a clinical disorder. The sheer-ego interpretation finds support in another recent Erickson encyclical, wherein he judiciously gave Mitt Romney a partial indulgence for his endorsement of Bennett upon the news that the Mittster had also endorsed RedState favorite Nikki Haley, a candidate for governor of South Carolina (in the real world, Romney predictably endorsed both for the obvious reason that they both endorsed him in 2008).
Last month I spoke at a municipal association meeting in Georgia, and was asked by a lot of people there how seriously Erick, a city councilman in Macon, was taken by national political types (much as Georgians used to ask me the same question about Newt Gingrich when he first exploded on the national scene). Seems he was already letting it be known that he was entertaining various national media offers, and was about to go big-time. I have a hard time begrudging any blogger a shot at mainstream media exposure. But it’s a sign of the times that CNN filled a mandatory conservative slot with a guy like Erick, who seems to alternate between moods of blind rage and smug triumphalism, and who (like me) also has a face made for radio.
We’ll see how ol’ Erick handles the transition to a national audience composed of people who don’t already agree with him. But he couldn’t have been happy with CNN’s press release, which lauded him as a spokesman for small-town values “who still lives in small-town America.” This will not go over well in Macon, a proud old city whose metropolitan area has a population of close to a quarter million people.

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