Alan Grayson, the Democratic firebrand from Florida’s 8th District, made himself a nationwide household name — and angered conservatives — last year with his declaration that the Republican plan for health care amounts to hoping sick people “die quickly.”
Now his latest move could prove equally infuriating to his political opponents. In a new election campaign ad, Grayson compares Florida’s Christian politicians to the Islamist fundamentalists of the Middle East.
“Religious fanatics are trying to take away our freedom in Afghanistan, in Iraq and right here in central Florida,” declares a female voice-over.
The ad focuses on Daniel Webster, Grayson’s Republican opponent in this year’s mid-term election and a former state legislator.
“Daniel Webster wants to impose his radical fundamentalism on us,” the ad asserts. “Webster tried to deny battered women medical care and the right to divorce their abusers. He wants to force raped women to bear the child. Taliban Dan Webster. Hands off our bodies, and our laws.”
Predictably, the ad is already attracting criticism from conservative corners. The HotAirPundit blog describes the ad as “a new low” for Grayson.
The ad — which cites Webster’s voting record in the Florida legislature to back up its claims — is clearly intended to speak to a female audience, with its feminine narrator and focus on women’s rights. It also clearly indicates that the outspoken Grayson has no intention of moving his political views to the center as the Democrats face an uphill battle to retain control of Congress past November.
As Time notes, that means the battle for Florida’s 8th District — generally considered to be centrist — will be fought by two partisan politicians known for hewing to the more radical end of their parties’ ideologies.
“The Grayson-Webster contest illustrates how much more partisan our primary system, which exalts navy blue and crimson red over purple, has made our general elections,” writes Time‘s Tim Padgett.
Mark Schlueb at the Orlando Sentinel argues that the Grayson-Webster contest is a “political experiment.”
“With the national spotlight trained on them, Central Florida voters will choose between two political opposites whose views and strategies align closely with the core beliefs of their parties,” he writes. “Whoever emerges to represent Florida’s 8th District — and proves that his message works — could hand his party a road map for success in 2012.”
For his part, Webster has been described by critics as “a member of the hardcore theocratic right.” TalkingPointsMemo links Webster to conservative activist David Barton, who has been criticized for addressing white supremacist groups.
The following video was posted to YouTube by the Grayson for Congress campaign team, Sept. 25, 2010.