Hoke County’s Scary Candidate
Republican U.S. House candidate Tim D’Annunzio of neighboring Hoke County would not like this editorial. But then, he considers the media to be “demon beasts” anyway.
He has also called himself the Messiah, once traveled to New Jersey to raise his stepfather from the dead, claimed to have found the Ark of the Covenant in Arizona, and has expressed the belief that God was planning to drop a 1,000-mile-high pyramid on Greenland. Or so his ex-wife claimed in divorce court records.
But don’t take her word for it. D’Annunzio himself has said on his blog, called Christ’s War, that incumbent Rep. Larry Kissell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are “anti-Constitution liberal leftist God-haters” and that President Barack Obama is gay. He has called the federal government the “anti-Christ” and called for the abolition of whole departments’ worth of government programs, including Social Security and Medicare.
Not only that, but he has a jail record. Among other things, according to court records, he failed to pay child support, was found guilty of criminal trespass, smoked marijuana daily and was once in treatment for heroin dependence.
Embraced by Tea Partiers
In short, the guy clearly has — shall we say — issues. But none of that has kept the tea party movement in the 8th District, some of whose members apparently put far-right ideology ahead of personal character, from embracing his candidacy. And therein lies a serious problem for leaders of the Republican Party in both Raleigh and Washington, who find themselves walking a very shaky tightrope.
State GOP Chairman Tom Fetzer showed some guts when he felt compelled to take the highly unusual step of going public with a denunciation of D’Annunzio as unfit for office at any level. “Mr. D’Annunzio has disqualified himself by his background, his record and his behavior,” he declared. All five of North Carolina’s Republican Congress members endorsed D’Annunzio’s opponent, Harold Johnson.
None of this fazed D’Annunzio, who told a press conference on Monday that the “power brokers in Raleigh and in Washington” fear they’re losing control of the party to “people like me who ... have refused to leave the party and decided instead to reform it and bring it back to its roots.” This must have left many traditional, family-values Republicans wondering what using heroin, ducking out on child support and doing time behind bars had to do with their party’s roots.
Afraid to Speak Out?
The bothersome thing about the reaction of the Republican establishment is summed up by national GOP spokesman Andy Sere, who said: “The issue isn’t his ideology, it’s his long criminal record and the obvious electoral challenges it represents.”
Hmm. So if the fellow hadn’t had so many brushes with the law, it would be perfectly OK for him to go around on the campaign trail urging the dismantling of Social Security, calling the federal government, of which he wants to become a part, the “anti-Christ,” and taking any number of other extreme positions?
This careful tiptoeing around an embarrassing situation speaks volumes about the fix in which the party now finds itself. Though many moderate (pardon us for using that dirty word) Republicans no doubt feel grave misgivings at the antics and excesses of the tea-partiers, the party establishment dares not alienate them for fear they’ll split off and go rogue.
It’s practically a hostage situation.
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