Wednesday, June 02, 2010


It's not quite at the level of Sarah Palin telling her followers to "reload" and "aim at" Democrats, but the New York GOP's anointed candidate for Chuck Schumer's Senate seat, self-described tea partier Gary Berntsen, entered the race late last month with some truly charming rhetoric. First, there was this, from a group of supporters:

"If you were to waterboard Chuck Schumer and ask him who he does not want to run against in November, he would gurgle the name Gary Berntsen," wrote D. Patrick Mahoney, the president of Iraq Veterans For Congress PAC, which sent out the email announcement.

And then from Berntsen himself:

"This is as much of an insurrection against Chuck Schumer in New York as it is an election," says Berntsen, who announced his candidacy as a Republican this weekend.

I'm not even surprised at this stuff anymore. It's clear that right-wingers would love the excuse to go beyond politics and inflict actual violence on Democrats and liberals -- or at least that the fantasy of doing so fills them with delight.

Berntsen's an interesting figure -- an ex-CIA guy who's been somewhat of a hero to some lefties for asserting that his team could have captured bin Laden at Tora Bora, a claim he made in his book Jawbreaker.

But he's no lefty. More recently, he's asserted that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other Guantanamo prisoners should have simply been executed.

His win at the state GOP convention was an upset, and is credited to the teabaggers. It remains to be seen whether their candidate for governor, serial forwarder of racist and animal-porn e-mails Carl Paladino, will win in a similar upset. (If not, Paladino hopes to run on a tea party ballot line, and I fervently hope he succeeds in at least one of those efforts.)


UPDATE: Rick Lazio won the New York GOP's gubernatorial nomination with 59.7% of the delegation vote; Paladino finished a distant third with 7.9%, though the link tells me he "has promised to petition his way onto the party primary ballot." In keeping with our verbal violence theme, Paladino introduced himself prior to the vote with a speech in which, according to The New York Observer,

He promised to "clean out Albany with a baseball bat."

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