Shortly after the Massachusetts Special Election for US Senate congressional candidate Bill Hudak faced two serious problems: He touted the endorsement of Scott Brown when he did not formally receive one and his alleged belief in birtherism took flight in the blogosphere. Both pose short term and long term problems for his candidacy.
The birther charges against Hudak are not that bad because there is only one instance of it and it is not very severe. Hudak didn’t come out and say “I believe Barack Obama was born in Kenya! Where is the birth certificate?” He used a “birther codename” for Obama calling him Barry Soetoro in an interview with a conservative publication. The charge was levied against him on the blogosphere and was limited in its range.It will still be there during the homestretch of his campaign against John Tierney and if manipulated correctly it could be extremely damaging for him. A Brown endorsement would probably not be enough to save Hudak if he were really tarred as a birther. If the label “birther” sticks you lose all credibility and set yourself up for endless ridicule.
The same can be said for those who believe in the conspiracy that the September 11th terrorist attacks were perpetrated by the United States government or as the bumpersticker says “9/11 Was An Inside Job.” 9/11 Truthers as they are commonly known are even more damaged than the birthers because they’re despised by the left and right for what are often referred to as “kooky conspiracy theories.” Belief within the 9/11 Truth Movement runs the spectrum from a New World Order conspiracy to a Zionist plot to a Bush/Cheney conspiracy to create a police state. The truthers are more established than the birthers because they have had more time to craft a message and spread it. There are feature length films devoted to the subject where topics like what temperature steel melts at and the Bush family’s alleged ties to the Bin Laden family.
During the 2008 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination Congressman Ron Paul was asked during a debate whether he subscribed to any of the 9/11 Truth ideology. He flatly denied it while acknowledging the fact that some of his supporters were actively involved in the movement.
One of the offspring from the 2008 Ron Paul campaign is Debra Medina a Republican candidate for Governor of Texas. She is vying for the role of “Tea Party” candidate along with current governor and fan of Texan secession Rick Perry. Medina, steadily rising in the polls and running a credible campaign for governor, may have crippled her political career by going on Glenn Beck’s nationally syndicated radio show and sounding like a 9/11 Truther.
GLENN: I have when I said that I was going to have you on, you can’t imagine the mail pro and con that I received. There was a theme that ran against you and that is you are a 9/11 Truther.
MEDINA: Well, there’s lots of mud that people would like to throw at Debra Medina and make stick. The truth is I’m an everyday ordinary person. I am fighting for the things that our founders fought for, those very basic principles of a constitutional republic, and I’m going to champion people that hold their government accountable, hold me accountable but that’s the first time I’ve heard that accusation. So that’s an interesting one.
GLENN: Right. Here’s then let me be more frank and ask you the question: Do you believe the government was any way involved with the bringing down of the World Trade Centers on 9/11?
MEDINA: I don’t, I don’t have all of the evidence there, Glenn. So I don’t I’m not in a place, I have not been out publicly questioning that. I think some very good questions have been raised in that regard. There are some very good arguments, and I think the American people have not seen all of the evidence there. So I’ve not taken a position on that.
GLENN: I think the people of America might think that might be a yes.
GLENN: Do you have advisors, do you have advisor
MEDINA: I’m not going to take a position.
GLENN: That’s fine.
MEDINA: These questions have been raised and they are not answered.
GLENN: Do you have advisors that advise you or people that are around you that are 9/11 Truthers?
MEDINA: Not to my knowledge.
GLENN: Would you, if you found out that there were, would you disavow them like the president should have but I mean, he escorted them out in the middle of the night. Van Jones was a 9/11 Truther. If you found out that people around you are advising you were 9/11 Truthers, would you disavow them or allow them to continue to advise you?
MEDINA: Well, you know, that’s a federal issue. We’re very focused on issues in Texas, on Texas state government. I’m certainly not into mind control or thought policing people.
GLENN: No, that’s a pretty big one.
MEDINA: We’ve got a very diverse team in this state and that’s because Texans are standing shoulder to shoulder to support and defend the Constitution. I frankly don’t have time, you know, to go through and do psychological testing on people and know every thought or detail that they have.
Game. Set. Match.
Medina will be extremely lucky if she is able to recover because her comments will follow her throughout the campaign and provide easy ammo for her opposition. She issued a statement about her media appearance saying she “has not seen any evidence nor have I ever believed that our government was involved or directed those individuals (terrorists) in any way.” This statement doesn’t really help her very much after she said the opposite on Beck’s show.
Her case is more damaging than Hudak’s because it happened on a nationally syndicated radio show and is, in general, more inflammatory than questioning Obama’s birth. Hudak was lucky that his gaffe was mostly limited to the blogosphere and he is running for a lower profile office. Hudak has denied any charges of birtherism and people close to his campaign say that the incident is a big misunderstanding. Tierney, like most entrenched Massachusetts Democrats, may not even take his Republican opposition seriously and avoid bringing it up during the campaign.
If there are more birthers and truthers out there running for office it will only add to what is shaping up to be a very exciting and entertaining 2010 campaign.