So let’s get this straight: if you won’t reveal who you voted for in a past presidential election, then you have “disqualified” yourself with voters, according to Meet the Press host Chuck Todd (about Kentucky Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes. Now, let’s list a few things you CAN say, according to the idiot inside-the-Beltway political press, and still be qualified for election.
*You can repeatedly lie, as Barbara Comstock did, about your reasons for voting for Barack Obama in the 2008 Virginia Democratic presidential primary, and still be “qualified.”
*You can, as uncounted Republican candidates have done, deny climate science (or claim that you’re “not a scientist” and not answer the question) and still be “qualified.” Denial of climate science (or gravity, or evolution, or the fact that the earth is round, etc.) of course, should be an automatic disqualifier for ANY public office, let alone high public office.
*You can, as Paul Waldman notes in this piece, flirt with the “‘Agenda 21’ conspiracy theory – in which the U.S. government and the United Nations are supposedly conspiring to force rural people in Iowa and elsewhere to leave their homes and be relocated to urban centers,” and still be “qualified.”
*You can suggest, as Republican Tom Cotton in Arkansas has done, that “ISIS is now working with Mexican drug cartels to infiltrate America over our southern border,” and still be “qualified.”
*You can suggest, as Virginia Republican Ed Gillespie recently did, that “the fact that we have a porous southern border today is not just an immigration concern, it is a…public health threat…with the growing concerns about Ebola,” and still be “qualified.”
*You can lie and claim the “Personhood” bill you sponsored, legislation that would ban all abortions, as well as numerous forms of contraception, embryonic stem cell research, etc., doesn’t exist, yet somehow still be “qualified.”
*You can constantly make offensive, extremist, bigoted, insane comments – like “perennial wingnut powerhouses…Iowa Rep. Steve King and Texas’ resident wacko Rep. Louie Gohmert,” yet still be “qualified.”
*You can vote to shut down the U.S. government, after threatening the financial stability of the world economy over the debt ceiling, as Mitch McConnell and many other Republicans did, and still be “qualified.”
*You can, as god-knows-how-many Republicans (including Barbara Comstock and Ed Gillespie) have done, take anti-government extremist Grover Norquist’s crazy pledge, and still be “qualified.”
We could go on all day, but you get the picture. As Paul Waldman writes:
… in the last few years, there’s a baseline of crazy from the right that the press has simply come to expect and accept, so the latest conspiracy theorizing or far-out idea from a candidate no longer strikes them as exceptional. Sure, there are exceptions, for remarks that are truly, deeply bizarre or comical.
But during this cycle, Republican crazy just hasn’t broken through at all. It’s almost as if the national press has just come to accept as normal the degree to which the GOP has moved dramatically to the right.
So ideological extremism and insane conspiracy theories from the right have been normalized. Which means that when another Republican candidate says something deranged, as long as it doesn’t offend a key swing constituency, reporters don’t think it’s disqualifying. And so it isn’t.
That’s how you can be “disqualified” for not giving a smooth answer to who you voted for in 2012 or whenever, but perfectly qualified for all sorts of extreme, men-in-white-coats type comments that Republicans make just about every day. Of course, this says a lot more about the utter intellectual and moral bankruptcy of our country’s political press – Chuck Todd being the latest example – than anything else.