Boy, there are a lot of horrible, unqualified, inept Republicans running for office! In Georgia, Senate candidate Herschel Walker continues to make little sense while mangling facts every time he opens his mouth. Carl Paladino, the New York GOP’s candidate for Congress who already declared that Adolf Hitler was a “doer” and the kind of leader we needed today, recently said the US attorney general should “probably be executed.” After people had a problem with this for some reason, Paladino swore he was just joking. He’s a funny guy!
In Pennsylvania, where the Democratic candidate for on open U.S. Senate seat is suffering the after-effects of a stroke and still has trouble speaking (though his party’s President has lowered the bar on that score considerably), the GOP is running TV doctor and Oprah acolyte Mehmet Oz because Republican primary voters just can’t resist unqualified celebrities (See Walker above). Oz made his honesty an issue when he was asked an easy question: “How many homes to you own?” Dr. Oz’s reply: “Well I, legitimately, I own two houses. But, uh, one of them we’re building on; the other ones I rent.”
Translation: “Huminahuminahumina…” As a little research rapidly demonstrated, the former TV doctor actually owns ten residential properties (plus as many as eight commercial ones). After this was pointed out by his opponent, Oz “clarified” by resorting to the Clintonesque tactic of distinguishing a house from a home. Obviously Oz wouldn’t give an honest answer because it would make him look like what he in fact is: someone who is, by average American standards, wildly wealthy…not that there’s anything wrong with that.
And now we arrive at Kari Lake, another Trump-endorsed Republican candidate, running for Governor of Arizona. She’s attractive! She’s female! She’s conservative!
She endorsed a raging anti-Semite!
That would be Jarrin Jackson, an Oklahoma legislator who has proclaimed in the past that “the Jews” are evidence that “evil exists” and that “Jews will go to hell.” As recently as February, Jackson wrote, criticizing what he argued was a too timid right-wing documentary about enemies of the Catholic Church, ““Outline & detail the evil…The Jews, Illuminati, Covid shots kill. Rothschilds. Communists. Woke pastors. Social gospel. Christ will chuck a bunch of stuff in the fire.” Yeah, he’s nuts. Yet Lake, who is already trailing in most polls, just became a Jackson booster. Lake gave an enthusiastic endorsement to the GOP candidate, saying he is a “fighter” and a “patriot” who is being smeared by “the Soros media.” (This is roughly the conservative equivalent of the racist Minneapolis union official blaming publicity of its “fire whites first” policy on the “MAGA media.”)
This is what political pros call an “unforced error,” as there was no pressing reason for an Arizona candidate for governor to endorse an Oklahoma state Senate candidate. It is also what Ethics Alarms calls signature significance. Responsible and competent candidates literally never endorse outspoken anti-Semites. If she didn’t know he was a bigot, then she is reckless and foolish. If she does know…well, I shouldn’t have to finish that sentence.
Predictably and appropriately, Democrats “pounced.” Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) tweeted, “Only reason @KariLake supports an antisemite or a homophobe for office is because she is both.”
Now, Lake had two options that would begin to back her out of that mess. She could claim that her endorsement was a mistake, and withdraw it, stating her opposition to bigotry and prejudice. This should come naturally to Lake by now: last November, CNN reported that Lake posed at a campaign event with Greyson Arnold, who has a history of making antisemitic and pro-Nazi statements, including once calling Adolf Hitler “a complicated historical figure which many people misunderstand.” Then Lake was endorsed by Andrew Torba, another outspoken anti-Semite who claims America is run by a “Judeo-Bolshevik” society. Lake’s campaign rejected Torba’s endorsement, saying she “absolutely denounces bigotry in all its forms.”
But she didn’t take this course, leaving Door #2. That would have meant somehow explaining that Jackson was unfairly tarred as an anti-Semite, and that her endorsement showed that she wouldn’t be intimidated out of supporting unjustly maligned conservatives. Lake didn’t choose this option, probably because Jackson IS an anti-Semite and there’s no denying it without sounding like the Secretary of Homeland Security insisting “the border is secure.” Or like Kevin Bacon…
No, Kari Lake settled on the good, old-fashioned, unethical course of an ad hominem attack, deflection, changing the subject and whataboutism. She tweeted back, posting a picture of Gallego riding camels with Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA),
“Are we playing the guilt by association game, @RubenGallego? How’s your friend Eric doing? Did he introduce you to Fang Fang?”
Oh, good one, Kari. The “Fang Fang” reference related to Swalwell’s scandal in which he was found to be having an affair with a Chines spy named Christine Fang in 2012. The episode has literally no relevance to the issue of Lake endorsing Jackson, which isn’t “guilt by association,” it is guilt by vouching, or more simply, guilt. Lake might as well have said to Gallego, “Oh yeah? Well, your mama is ugly!”
She’s an embarrassment.
I have to mention, in fairness, that Gallego is also a terrible character to have in Congress. Here was his response to Lake’s attack:
Stay classy, Congressman! Way to be role model for impressionable kids and to repair the hyper-partisanship and incivility in public discourse and national politics!