GOP candidate for Tennessee governor becomes bizarre Internet sensation

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, August 2, 2010 21:17 EDT
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If you’ve not heard of this gentlemen yet, let this story serve as an introduction: Long-time safety inspector and aspiring Republican politico Basil Marceaux is running what could be the best-worst candidacy for public office in U.S. history.

Marceaux, a 58-year-old native of Soddy Daisy, Tennessee, wants to be his state’s governor, and made an earnest debut as a candidate during a recent local news broadcast that’s since become an Internet sensation.

Picked up by Wonkette, Mediaite and Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert, Marceaux’s YouTube clip went viral, being viewed by hundreds of thousands and sparking immense and unexpected media attention.

What makes Marceaux so special? Just watch:

If you thought that was bad, take a look at his Web site, where he vows (among other things) to “immune” anyone who votes for him of all state crimes. In his other political writings, he seems to take issue with traffic stops by conflating public safety and slavery, giving a strange interpretation of what he calls “federal law 241,” a civil rights statute (Title 18, U.S.C., Section 241) which makes it illegal for two or more people to oppress or intimidate any person exercising a constitutionally-protected right.

Whether it makes sense or not, this is his platform, word for word, as published on the free-site attached to BasilMarceaux.com:

I Basil Marceaux Sr. as a Force Recon Marine is the first Freedmen’s Bureau Agent/ Great Man of 2008 who is asking for your support and vote for the following republican prosition:

U.S.Senate of Zack wamp in 2010

Make the Court system, Congess, Army, Navy ,Air Force to Fly the same flag as the Marine Corp which is the three color U.S. Flag.

Make sure that if national insurance is put in place, I will make sure the roots of such bill with not inclued any type measuring of the waist like other counties. quoted on 1/3/09

As Tennessee Governor in 2010
Using the Civil Right Act of 1966 for the first time in history to find out two things:

1. why Democracy invaded the U.S. State on July 16 1866

2stop Constitutional Right violations in our state at all cost I will tell you all this

VOTE FOR ME AND IF I WIN I WILL IMMUNE YOU FROM ALL STATE CRIMES FOR THE REST OF YOU LIFE! (Except violating a citizen rights this would be a special punishment ) Making Tennessee the first state in the United States to actually listen to the U.S.and state Constitution ,and all cities charters

His YouTube channel is similarly befuddling, as he’s posted two videos beseeching Americans to listen to him, but apparently did not configure his recording equipment correctly. Static, silence and a garbled image of Marceaux’s face is all his fellow Americans get, for nearly twenty minutes across two clips.

Since his sudden rise to fame, campaign staff for Marceaux made a new YouTube channel and published two somewhat more intelligible clips — one about campaign finance reform and one about gun control. In each, he repeatedly says, “I’m BasilMarceauxdotcom” and “please vote for BasilMarceauxdotcom,” then pledges to make voters “happy in many places.”

Naturally, “I’m BasilMarceauxdotcom” is being sold on an official t-shirt.

“It is impossible to blog about Basil Marceaux because everything he says or writes is absolutely amazing,” joked Wonkette. “Just look at his website. It is indescribably perfect. What can be made fun of first? We just want to live in this man’s brain forever.”

Matthew Newton, writing for the now-defunct Web site True/Slant, took a less sarcastic approach to Marceaux’s candidacy.

“While much will be written about Marceaux in the next few days (as he quickly burns his way through a Minor Internet Celebrity Famecycle), mainly fueled by a bored American workforce spreading OMGs and LOLs among friends, there’s something to admire in the man’s apparent buffoonery,” he wrote. “He’s rather honestly asserted himself, however haphazardly, into a political process permeated with cynicism and contempt. It appears Marceaux means well, if only in his own mind.”

Not mentioned by many reports is that over the last decade, Marceaux has become something of a serial candidate who’s staged runs for numerous public offices. In addition to bidding for Tennessee governor, he’s also a candidate for Tennessee’s third congressional district, a seat currently held by Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN). Marceaux also ran for Tennessee’s 10th state senate district in 2000 and 2004.

Here’s Marceaux’s takes on campaign finance reform and gun control, for whatever they’re worth. Note: his badge is actually a medal for, as he’s explained, being a “great man,” and does not imply any former law enforcement experience.

This video is from Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, broadcast July 28, 2010.

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Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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