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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Nasty As They Wanna Be

Much as I enjoyed romping through the craziness that is the Colorado Republican Party in an earlier post, I have a more somber feeling about the Republican contest in one of the other states holding elections today, my home state of Georgia.
I’ve posted a detailed preview over at FiveThirtyEight, which I wrote in as detached a tone as possible. Here I’ll say that the Republican gubernatorial runoff is one of the most stomach-turning I’ve watched in a while (with the notable exception of the bald-faced-lie extravaganza of the June 8 California GOP gubernatorial primary).
One candidate, “conservative reformer” Karen Handel, has now spent more than a year attacking everyone in her path as a scum-sucking corrupt redneck robbing the taxpayers. The other, former congressman Nathan Deal, has engaged in an extremist attack on Handel that reeks of archaic homophobia and misogyny. Listening to them, you’d never guess Handel is the political protege of the incumbent governor of the state, Sonny Perdue, or that Deal faced voters as a Democratic candidate for office eight times before switching parties the moment it became convenient for him. And that’s just what bugs me about the style of their campaigns; the “substance” is worse. Handel’s main platform plank other than supreme self-righteousness is the demagogic and irresponsible idea of abolishing the state income tax, without any proposal to replace the vast revenues that would involve, even though the state is nearly broke as it is. And to gain interest-group support against Handel, Deal has committed himself to every crazy position on social issues demanded by the Georgia Right-to-Life organization and other elements of the hard-core Christian Right.
It doesn’t help that half the likely 2012 Republican presidential field came running down to Georgia to participate in this abomination.
As a Democrat myself, I ought to be enjoying the spectacle, since it improves my party’s prospects in November. But sometimes shadenfreude‘s not so easy when your own friends and families could be affected, and the familiar landscape of politics is razed by campaigns so cynical that the only thing it’s possible for them to regret is to lose.

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