For GOP Candidates, Having a Past Means Never Having to Say:
By the standards of the current crop of Republican candidates, Ted Bundy, if still alive, could run for office. Sure, sure, Bundy murdered dozens of young women and was one of the most notorious serial killers in American history, but he was a loyal Republican, even engaging in dirty tricks to help the re-election campaign of Washington Governor Daniel Evans in 1972. And if Bundy was running now and some pesky reporter asked him, say, "Howzabout all that raping and bludgeoning?" he could call it a "personal attack" and add, "We've drawn a line in the sand. You can ask me about background, you can ask me about personal issues. I'm not going to answer."
Which is exactly what Alaska Republican Joe Miller, the teabagger running for Senate, told the press yesterday. No, Miller hasn't been revealed as a serial killer (yet - but that skeevy beard reeks of backwoods burials), but the fiscal conservative who is anti-poverty programs owes about $100,000 in credit card debt and he and his family received low-income health care assistance. In other words, his actual life runs counter to his beliefs.
But his past is off-limits. Unless, of course, his past has some good shit in it. So, according to his website's bio, "Miller served as an officer in the United States Army. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his leadership in combat during the First Gulf War." That's within the realm of polite discussion and is an obvious qualification for public office, by Miller's standards. However, if he's a welfare user who can't keep his finances straight despite, as his bio states, having a Master's in economics? That is an "attack that is based upon avoiding the issues, where we're at as a state, where we're at as a nation and looking at other things that basically distract people's attention."
This whole idea that the actions of one's past have no bearing on the qualifications of a candidate is laughable for how it is conveniently deployed when something inconvenient comes up. George W. Bush ran several companies into the ground. He was a fucking failure who had a special name. But that was a no-go for discussion in 2000 and 2004. John McCain's ability to survive at the Hanoi Hilton was totally cool to bring up, though.
This year, though, it's particularly pronounced because so many of the Tea Party-supported or Palin-anointed candidates are either devoid of anything that might be considered qualifications for office, like Christine O'Donnell, or are simply incompetent, like Miller (although the Rude Pundit's sure he's got some literal and figurative dead hobos plastered in the walls of his house). Indeed, if you shitcan everything that O'Donnell has said in her wild and wacky past as a conservative bombthrower, she's done absolutely nothing with her life except accumulate a bunch of debt. Yet she's a major party's nominee to become a senator, which means, if elected, she could pull a DeMint and shut down the running of Congress. Seriously, the Rude Pundit thinks the main reason O'Donnell and Miller are even in the game is that senators pull down a pretty sweet salary and benefits.
Senate candidate Linda McMahon dismisses the fact that the corporation she ran, World Wrestling Entertainment, actively promoted violence against and the degradation of women. She's focused on the future for the voters of Connecticut. That part of her job doesn't matter, but, boy, didn't she make a lot of money and isn't making money awesome?
The sad part is that voters will probably see Miller's life story as emblematic of their own in Alaska (even if they don't have a Yale JD). The sadder part is that, for most Republicans, this shit just get's picked up off the lawn and tossed away. David Vitter balls hookers? Whatever. Newt Gingrich is a sleazy twatmonger? Run that motherfucker for President.
Of course, Democrats are held to a different standard. Their pasts are unforgivable. Rand Paul, a man who is lick-his-own-taint insane, derided Bill Clinton's support of his opponent. "I'm not sure I would trust a guy who had had sexual relations with an intern," said the man who looks perpetually like he just masturbated on a cat. (And if he's got that as a standard, Paul's gonna have a really hard time trusting anyone in DC.)
Shit, Barack Obama's past is a constant debate in GOP circles. And the one they've concocted isn't even his real one. But that's par for the course: if a politician's life is too honorable, you gotta just make shit up. Ask John Kerry.