by Paul Goldman
Let’s cut to the bottom line: The idea that somehow our political process and country would be better off by requiring Jamie Radtke and the others similarly situated in the Virginia GOP U.S. Senate primary be included in the Allen vs. Kaine AP debate is not the case. Radtke has been campaigning the longest of the Tea Party posse, with no discernible success in convincing even the wrongest of the right wingers to support her. She can talk the talk because she can pretend to be Sarah Palin-lite or a Tea Party “founder.” But the truth is, as they say in Rick Perry country, “she is all hat and no cowgirl” even to the Teasters who aren’t supporting her.
Radtke does have a legitimate point in saying the 15% polling threshold and additional financial litmus test are questionable as to their particulars. This is a primary contest, not a general election presidential debate. Those parameters are too high in my view. But, like the Attorney General’s healthcare lawsuite, she simply doesn’t have standing to argue the case.
The fundamental issue – does Radtke qualify to be in any or all debates because she has filed for to run – isn’t changed by these particulars.
Remember: Radtke hasn’t even qualified for the primary ballot. Kaine and Allen will definitely qualify for the primary ballot. There is also someone in the Radtke category claiming to be a candidate against Kaine based on news reports. True, this Democratic wannabe doesn’t issue press releases every day like Radtke. But they both register the same in the polls: within the margin of error from zero.
It may be that Jamie Radtke will become a giant killer. As I wrote months ago, the polls indicate substantial Tea Party unease with former Senator Allen. This is due to the unbelievable belief that the former Governor isn’t sufficiently conservative. Say what?!? George Allen defined conservative in Virginia a generation ago. The right side of the field has admittedly moved further right since then, testing the theory of whether it is possible to fall off the edge of the Earth (this was the view for 4.49999999999999999999999 billion years of the Earth’s 4.5 billion years of existence, unless of course you believe – as many on the right do – that “The Flintstones” is animated history).
Sure, the right wing could be right about all this: after all, the dinosaurs allegedly existing with us could have eaten all our bones, explaining why none have been found. I would have liked having a baby T-Rex for a pet. I wonder why one didn’t step on the Great Pyramid and crush it?
So yes, a lot of smart people in Columbus’ day thought he would fall right into the Radtke zone, never discovering America (okay, he never actually discovered it anyway, but he came close enough to make the history books and get a national holiday next month). Sadly, Columbus would probably be seen as way too liberal by Jamie Radtke, as he got that big government job from Queen Isabella and all…
Hey, you never know: Jamie Radtke might be a political Columbus, about to discover a new world of political possibilities, carrying her to victory in the GOP primary. Nobody believed Galileo in what passed for Radtke thinking back then. But so far, all she’s done is talk: at least those folks actually went out and proved the establishment wrong.
So yes, Mrs. Radtke can bash away, accusing Allen and Kaine, along with the “lamestream” media of whatever, whenever, forever.
But her exclusion is not a matter of missing a chance to let the light shine in. There is no light to shine in or out of her campaign. Rather, she is excluded, along with the rest, because she has been campaigning for seemingly forever, without anyone suggesting she has now or ever shown any political or policy leadership on matters of importance.
Bottom line: Jamie Radtke isn’t in the debate because she isn’t taken seriously for a seriously good reason: she has done nothing to earn it, except try to draft onto the work of others in the Tea Party movement.
Why would any group hoping to be taken seriously find that she has earned her way into a debate with former Governors George Allen and Tim Kaine? In fact, Radtke has so little support because even her fellow Tea Partiers don’t think she is credible. Think about what this says.