You know, if the state and national Republicans really want to take back Minnesota’s First Congressional District from Tim Walz, they’re going to have to deal with the Clown Car Syndrome that has afflicted their candidates over the last few election cycles.
First, they assumed that nobody would really be able to take out Gil Gutknecht, who had been the representative of that district since 1994, when he came in as one of Newt Gingrich’s barbarians at the DC gates. Surprise! Walz won by six percentage points due to hard work, shoe leather, and a tremendously savvy and well-funded ground organization.
Second, they assumed that MN-01, since it had been a Republican district for most of the previous century before Walz’ win, was still a Republican CD at heart and that his win was a fluke. This meant that they didn’t really take the 2008 race all that seriously, allowing joke candidates like Dick Day and Brian Davis to slug it out for the RPM nomination to face Walz in the general. The result? In a CD that only went for Obama by four percentage points, the new incumbent Walz crushed eventual Republican nominee Brian Davis by nearly a two-to-one margin.
Now, one would think that the Republicans would have been ready with a credible candidate from the start after Walz handed them their buttocks last year. But nooooooo — the first person to throw his hat into the proverbial ring was none other than longtime antigay, antifeminist Christian conservative and failed gubernatorial candidate Allen Quist, whose second wife Julie works for Michele Bachmann as her district manager and who is most noted locally for being the man whose first wife Diane was killed while pregnant with their tenth child in a car accident in December 1986; he showed his undying love for her by a) pulling the six-and-a-half-month-old fetus’ body out of her womb and putting it in her arms so they could be displayed that way in the casket, and b) marrying his second wife about six months later.
Quist’s quirkiness, plus his habit of losing elections, apparently makes some local Republicans quite nervous, as Bluestem Prairie’s Sally Jo Sorensen discusses here and here. That nervousness may well be why Jim Hagedorn, the son of former Minnesota congressman Tom Hagedorn and a Washington, DC resident and insider for 25-odd years, has now decided to move back to Minnesota and compete with Quist for the right to challenge Tim Walz.
But if anyone thinks that Hagedorn is an improvement over Quist in terms of Clown Car Syndrome, they might want to think again. As Paul Schmelzer reports for the Minnesota Independent:
As mentioned earlier, GOP candidate Jim Hagedorn removed posts from his “Mr. Conservative” blog prior to announcing his bid this morning for U.S. Rep. Tim Walz’s seat, but a review of scrubbed posts reveals a brand of humor that might not sell well in southern Minnesota, including jokes about the death of Northfield-professor-turned-U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone just 11 days earlier.
He concluded the section with a prediction — a Walter Mondale win in the Senate race that Norm Coleman eventually won: “Goofdale will win, something like 50 – 46 with the independent parties taking the remainder.”
As mentioned earlier, the post also includes an analysis of the 2002 race in South Dakota, in which Hagedorn wrote of voter registration irregularities on Native American reservations:
Voter backlash against the Democrat’s (typical) election-stealing maneuvers will be the margin of victory for Thune. Leave it to liberals to ruin John Wayne’s wisdom of the only good Indian being a dead Indian.
BSP’s Sorensen also notes a few more of the now-scrubbed bons mots by Mr. Conservative, such as this musing on the failed nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court:
The nomination of White House legal hack Harriet Miers to fill the bra of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor simply enhances the bush-league legacy of a family that time and again proves the Peter Principle applies to elective politics.
Yes, kids: Hagedorn is one of those conservatives who thinks the Bushes are too liberal. Plus, he’s prone to bouts of racist, sexist tastelessness that aren’t even close to being funny. No wonder he — or whoever is advising him — had his site scrubbed.
As Schmelzer points out, this is all reminiscent of similar efforts by Gil Gutknecht to scrub away the inconvenient history of his term-limits pledge from online repositories. And as I mentioned already, Gutknecht just happens to be the the gent that Tim Walz defeated back in 2006.
Like I said: Clown Car Syndrome.
[UPDATE: Geez, I forgot all about Randy Demmer's entering the race! The RPM's Clown Car is getting pretty crowded.]