Orly Taitz, who’s been called everything from “The Birther Queen” to things unrepeatable here, lost her bid to be California’s GOP Secretary of State candidate in the fall. No, wait, she didn’t lose — she barely even placed. Taitz lost to “mainstream” Republican candidate Damon Dunn by 49 points. That’s a difference of around 650,000 votes. Taitz didn’t win a single county in California.
Yet as of 5 p.m. Pacific Time yesterday, I was still reading that she might have a shot — that Dunn had run hardly any campaign at all, banking on the fact that crazy defeats itself whenever it goes public.
Of course, it doesn’t, always. Sharron Angle, the Tea Party-backed candidate in Nevada, won her primary last night against Sue Lowden, the more mainstream-seeming candidate, and will take on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the fall. Reid, one supposes, is already looking side-long at Damon Dunn’s campaign tactics.
Reid, though, stands at a disadvantage if he wants to follow Dunn’s strategy at all. Sitting senators — and particularly Majority Leaders like Reid — aren’t mentally able to Keep Calm and Carry On. The trick to dealing with crazy is confidence: confidence in your own point of view, and confidence that your opponent’s crazy, if left to blossom under the full attention of the public, will out itself and, eventually, out her from the campaign.
Sharron Angle seems a promising crazy self-defeater; Sam Stein at Huffington Post has the definitive and pre-packaged day-after assessment of all her many foibles and strange beliefs. It seems, though, that none of this is particularly news to Angle’s staff, and none of it may even be news to those who voted for her last night. If she — instead of Reid — manages to stay the course of calm, it could spell big trouble for the Majority Leader.
I’m not convinced he won’t win; in fact, I think the race is now more than ever Reid’s to lose. I’m just afraid that he’ll be pretty successful at doing just that.
(And: lest anyone think I believe or mean to infer that The Crazy happens only on the GOP side, please take note of the new Democratic Senate nominee in South Carolina, Alvin Greene. Plunking down $10K of your own money for a campaign that includes what seems to be no actual campaigning? The chance for crazy seems high, here).