The violent right running for office

By Amanda Marcotte
Monday, June 21, 2010 13:34 EDT
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Fresh on the heels of Sharron Angle running around to conservative media and telling everyone that her base, if they can’t win at the ballot box, will turn to “Second Amendment remedies” comes the news that a congressional candidate from New Mexico is suggesting that we stop illegal immigration by blowing people up as they cross the border.

During the May 18 interview with KNMX radio in Las Vegas, N.M., Mullins said the U.S. could mine the border, install barbed wire and post signs directing would-be border jumpers to cross legally at designated checkpoints.

“We could put land mines along the border. I know it sounds crazy. We could put up signs in 23 different languages if necessary,” Mullins says in the radio interview, where he also expressed concern that terrorists could carry a nuclear weapon across the Mexican border.

He’s now said that he didn’t mean it, which is something that folks are saying on Sharron Angle’s behalf, too, even though she’s repeated her comments many times. Presumably, the rest of us are supposed to just understand that these violent fantasies are fantasies, and that speaking as a leader on the campaign trail should be considered the same thing as perhaps playing a game of “Grand Theft Auto”. Or writing the screenplay for a horror movie.

Of course, if we don’t get that right wing campaigns should be considered not campaigns but performance art, I’m not sure why we’re expected to believe these candidates’ base should be able to tell that this isn’t a for-real campaign. They vote for the candidate and give money, so I’m 99% sure they think they’re supporting actual candidates who are running on actual platforms for actual jobs, and don’t think they’re participating in a piece of bad performance art that should be understood strictly as fantasy.

What’s interesting is that right wing candidates are issuing these violent threats, and then trying to escape responsibility by blaming their base. Angle’s escape clause is built into her well-rehearsed soundbite about “Second Amendment remedies”—she acts like she’s just describing the mood out there. So when she says that Nevada should elect her or else someone will turn to “Second Amendment remedies”, she can claim she’s not encouraging it. Of course, she’s still saying, “Elect me or else.” And Mullins similarly is blaming his base:

He explained Monday the suggestion about land mines was something he’d heard while campaigning, and that it came in response to a complaint that nothing could be done to secure the border.

“When I heard it, I said, ‘Well, that’s an interesting concept,”‘ Mullins said.

I hear interesting shit from wacky people you shouldn’t take seriously all time, and somehow I avoid bringing it up as if it’s a serious policy proposal worth considering. Call me old-fashioned, but I think that people running for office should have an ability to simply overlook the half-baked rantings of every conspiracy theorist they run across on trail.

What’s fascinating to me is that someone like Angle or perhaps Mullins is willing to play the game of pretending not to be the powder kegs of right wing crazy that they are. You’d think that if you agreed with Angle that fluoride in the drinking water was a communist mind control plot, you wouldn’t take such great pains to hide that fact. You’d think your overwhelming concern for the people who are being mind-controlled would cause you to speak up, and frequently. Perhaps they think they can’t win through honesty when the public is being mind-controlled? If the communists are in fact forcing the voters of Nevada to vote for Harry Reid through the use of fluoridation, I don’t think Angle will defeat their diabolical plan by simply becoming a little more circumspect about how much of a wingnut she really is.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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