Target Rich Evironment Part III.

Section I. Raese to the Bottom

Tea Bagger, superstar inheritor and perennial West Virginia Senate candidate John Raese is at least a part-time resident of Florida.  That’s where Raese’s home with the fancy, not at all ostentatious and tacky, soft pink marble driveway is.  It’s also where he claim’s “homeowner exemptions, only available to Florida state residents, including a $25,000 one this year,” according to Palm Beach County property records accessed by Politico. Most famously, Florida is also where his wife is registered to vote and his kids go to school.  Yahoo/CQ-Roll Call have the latest developments in this hilarious example of bumbling Tea Party delusion, deception and cognitive dissonance, reporting that “Elizabeth Raese is registered to vote in both states but has not voted in West Virginia since 1998.”  According to the same report, Politifact discovered Raese’s wife “has been registered to vote in Palm Beach County, Fla., since 2001 and voted there in 2008.”   She is now being officially removed from county voter rolls in Morgantown, West Virginia.  Where the story really gets funny, and veers into Great Moments in Republican Implausibility territory, is the revelation that Mrs. Raese defiantly told a Time reporter the following:

“‘We are West Virginians,'” Elizabeth Raese said, according to Time reporter Jay Newton-Small. “We live here, we vote here, people know that. We also have a home in Colorado, but we’re not residents there either.”

See, normal ole’ CEO/Gilded Age enthusiast John Raese and his family don’t really live in Florida, or Colorado, except for all of the easily available evidence that says they do.   Move along, nothing for the rubes to see here.  In the latest entry to Great Moment in Republican Implausibility sweepstakes, a Raese campaign spokesman told CQ-Roll Call that “Elizabeth Raese does not remember the conversation with the Time reporter, but he added that, ‘If she did say this, she obviously misspoke.'”  I can relate, I always seem to forget speaking with reporters from Time.   Talking with members of national media outlets is so boring and commonplace, it just slips your mind during those long journeys from mansion to mansion.    The hapless Raese was also given an anvil by Palm Beach, Florida resident Rush Limbaugh who further corroborated his residence in Palm Beach by saying, of Raese, on his radio show:

“He is a part-time resident here in Palm Beach, and he has a locker right across the, right across the bench from me at a prominent local club. I’ve never played golf with him, but I’ve met him”

You know, regular guy stuff that you and all your friends who own at least 3 homes and belong to ‘prominent’ clubs can relate to in between rounds of Golf.  When are Tea Partiers going to see the absurdity and cognitive dissonance inherent in listening to one multi-millionaire defend another by saying “Hey, West Virginia voters, go vote for this good guy I know from our ‘prominent’ country club in Palm Beach, Florida.”  And Tea Baggers have the nerve to wonder why they don’t get taken seriously.  Keep on fighting for Rush and Raese’s tax rates to stay low, you brave and mighty patriots!  Godspeed.  West Virginia governor Joe Manchin, who is running for the Senate against Raese, ran an ad with one of the best lines of the entire cycle:

“Raese’s wife is registered to vote in Florida so she can’t even vote for him. Why should we?”

Section II. Joe Miller-Moron Militia

Senate candidate Joe Miller’s private security “arrested” a journalist for “trespassing” at a public event yesterday.  You read that correctly.  There are many scary WTF levels to this debacle.  Miller’s private security is provided by a company called Drop Zone.  Shannyn Moore reports, on her excellent blog Just a Girl From Homer, in a post titled “Joe Miller’s Alaska Militia,” that Drop Zone brags “to patrons about their security squad being littered with former Blackwater operatives” and that “not disclosing full names and a preference for cash transactions were commonplace” aspects of Drop Zone’s business.  The man employing these people wants to be a member of the United States Senate.  It’s chilling.   Moore continues, stating the obvious in a year where, sadly, it needs to be emphasized and restated more than ever (emphasis mine):

Having a personal militia is not common. Joe Miller’s narcissistic, militant disorder has come to full light with the detainment of journalist Tony Hopfinger. Political candidates with their own mercenaries are a recipe for disaster.”

I can’t believe this is where we’re at in our public life at this point in our nation’s history.  Before the fireworks and Kafkaesque arrest of journalist Tony Hopfinger of Alaska Dispatch, Miller favorably referenced East Germany’s border security methods and practices in an answer to a question regarding illegal immigration.   Sadly, Miller’s fondness for the former home of the Stasi isn’t confined to his penchant for stringent personal security and militias, listen to the language used in their official statement regarding this debacle (emphasis mine):

“The Miller campaign was required by the facility to provide security at the event. Even though Joe had spent nearly an hour freely answering questions from those in attendance, the blogger chased Miller to the exit after the event concluded in an attempt to create and then record a ‘confrontation’ with the candidate. While Miller attempted to calmly exit the facility, the blogger physically assaulted another individual and made threatening gestures and movements towards the candidate. At that point the security personnel had to take action and intervened and detained the irrational blogger, whose anger overcame him. It is also important to note that the security personnel did not know that the individual they detained was a blogger who reporting on the campaign. To them, the blogger appeared irrational, angry and potentially violent.”

I’ve read statements from the North Korean state media less Orwellian than that.  This is my favorite passage: “detained the irrational blogger, whose anger overcame him.”  Dear Leader would surely approve!   It should be noted that Hopfinger is not a “blogger” (blogger=catchall boogeymen term for factually challenged conservative frauds) and that the Alaska Dispatch is “a for-profit start-up news website that employees four reporters, two of whom have won Pulitzer Prizes for their reporting,” according to the HuffingtonPost.

To recap-the man with personal security culled from ex-Blackwater mercenaries orders some sort-of surreal “arrest” of a journalist for appearing “trespassing” while “irrational” and “angry” at a public event.  Got it.  Joe Miller is also a strong, strong advocate of “freedom.”  Mostly his own “freedom” to run for the Senate without answering pesky, yet legitimate, questions about his fitness for that office.   Hopfinger summed this absurdity up brilliantly (via HuffPo):

“I think, just like in other parts of the country, the media is finding itself having a hard time doing its job in this political cycle because, whenever we ask questions, there are certain candidates out there who decry ‘lamestream media’ or whatever. Mr. Miller has had plenty of time to answer questions. He has been given plenty of opportunities. He somehow believes he shouldn’t be questioned about his background and yet he wants a job in six years, to a post where there are only 100 in the entire country, and we are not supposed to ask questions about anything of his past. There is a little bit of shoot the messenger. It is happening up here, and other parts of the country. There are certain candidates who just want to turn this around and act like it’s the media causing the problem. That has always been there, that element. It is just more ramped up this political cycle.”

Exactly.  People like, so-called ‘liberal,’ Chris Matthews need to dispense with this false equivalency nonsense and stop tripping over themselves in a rush to say “both sides do it” when discussing, or more importantly not discussing, happenings like this in our politics.  “Having a personal militia is not common,” as Moore stated, and people like Joe Miller need to stop getting a pass on the very real instances and examples of extremism, corruption and hypocrisy in their backgrounds under the false, tired, yet set in stone, old media formulation that “both sides do it.”   There just AREN’T any Democratic candidates walking around with personal militias or dressing up like Nazis.  They DON’T exist.  So start doing your job and shining the spotlight on these extremists, label them what they are (extremists and liars) and start asking hard questions as Mr. Hopfinger suggests, so that we can salvage the soul of our nation from some of the worst available men.


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