Yes, the Illinois GOP Denounced Its Crazy Candidate Already

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 21 2014 5:22 PM

Yes, the Illinois GOP Denounced Its Crazy Candidate Already

Kevin Drum takes exception to all of my liberal-baiting posts about the lefty press overhyping fringe candidates like Illinois' Susanne Atanus. He notes that when Mark Clayton won the Tennessse Democratic Party's 2012 Senate nod, the party immediately denounced him.

Has anything similar happened in Illinois? Has the Republican Party denounced Atanus and urged voters to cast their ballots for someone else? No they haven't.

Yes, they have! After Atanus made her 700 Club-worthy gaffe about God casting judgment on the land because of the gays, the chairman of the Illinois GOP denounced her and asked her to quit the race.

The offensive statements by Susanne Atanus have no place in the modern political debate, and she has no place on the ballot as a Republican. Her candidacy is neither supported nor endorsed by the leaders of our party, and she should withdraw from the race immediately.
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Later, Atanus' opponent accused Jan Schakowsky of driving voters to the fringe candidate who would not provide "a real challenge." The party spotted the problem with Atanus and tried to denounce her, just as the Texas Democrats tried to keep LaRouche cultist Kesha Rogers out of the runoff in this year's Senate race. They failed.

Ed Kilgore, responding to some of this, makes the right point.

There are so many GOP elected officials and major candidates for office espousing such views that who needs to run the risk of being accused of inflating a marginal wingnut?
Take the John Birch Society-generated Agenda 21 meme, which is just as delusional as anything Atanus has said. It’s part of the messaging of North Carolina U.S. Senate candidate Greg Brannon, who could well wind up being the nominee in a crucial Senate race this fall. It was the subject of a legislative “briefing” held by the official Republican caucus in my home state of Georgia. It was the subject of enacted legislation in Alabama. And Agenda 21 was attacked in a resolution formally adopted by the Republican National Committee.

And sometimes these ideas become popular at the undercovered grassroots level and shock the MSM only when the candidates win nominations or show up in the House of Representatives. Great point—I'm just saying news outlets should offer some context for how influential/irrelevent the gaffe-makers are.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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