It's Freak Week!

By Marc Ambinder

Everyone becomes the mayor of Crazyville the week before an election. Ethics get defenestrated. Moral principles get flushed down the drain. Campaigns and candidates are extremely tired and extremely desperate. The improbable becomes the likely. In two and a half days, we've been treated to the following Freak Week stories. If FDR was right, and nothing in politics happens by accident ... well, there are some weird people out there!

1. Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle uses a decoy to avoid being hassled by the press on her way out of a campaign appearance in Reno. Freak rating: 4.

2. The Rhode Island Democratic gubernatorial candidate tells the President of the United States to "shove it" because POTUS didn't endorse him. Freak rating: 6.

3. A supporter of Rand Paul, in full view of television cameras, stomps on the head of a MoveOn.org activist. The stompee becomes a hero and appears on MSNBC. Democrats try to make the incident a referendum on Paul, somehow, and Jack Conway's campaign uses it to try to make people forget about the Aqua Buddha disaster. (See last's week Freak Show.) Freak rating: 5.

4. The right gets into a lather about alleged incidents in which early voters try to vote for Sharron Angle but see Harry Reid's name pop up as their choice on electronic ballots. Drudge gets involved. Redstate asks if SEIU is rigging the election. Clark County, NV voting officials note that touch screens are sensitive, there's no problem, and people get to confirm their choice after making it. Freak rating: 3.

5. The President of the United States appears on a cable television news satire program. Freak rating: 2.

6. California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown, asked about a 3:00 am call, says that he would choose his wife, whom he notes would be with him in bed at the time. Freak rating: 6.

7. GA gubernatorial candidate Roy Barnes attacks opponent Nathan Deal for coddling rapists, basically. Freak rating: 3.

8. CA GOP congressional candidate Van Tran sends out mailers that smell like vomit. And make people vomit. Freak rating: 8.

9. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink cheats in a debate, then claims she didn't, then admits that she might have inadvertently, then tries to say that she didn't know what was going on, even though CNN's microphones picked up the whole exchange. Freak rating: 6.

10. Sharron Angle continues to air a blatantly race-baiting ad, angering Asians, Hispanics, and Joy Behar, who tells The View that Angle, "that bitch," is "going to hell," even though there is no hell in Jewish theology. Sarah Palin weighs in with a tweet. Freak rating: 8.

11. Conservative actor/lawyer/economist Ben Stein calls Alaska Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller, a fellow Yale law school graduate, a "clown." Meanwhile, it emerges that Miller lied about using government computers for official business. Freak rating: 6.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/10/its-freak-week/65257/