The New Republic's Eve Fairbanks does the dirty work of profiling Vernon Robinson, the frequent candidate who raised more than a million dollars with his fearmongering "Twilight Zone" and "Hands" and "Eskimo Pedophiles" TV ads. Guess what? He's not crazy. Everybody else is.
As I follow Robinson on the campaign trail, it becomes apparent that the strange dynamic of this year's elections has transformed his old weaknesses into strengths. Once an embarrassment, his outspokenness is now a breath of fresh air that gives hope–and motivation–to downcast Republicans. Money is flowing in from all over the country. And his admirers uniformly love his over-the-top ads: They ask him to talk about his plan to put thousands of Marines on the Southern border and to combat "Brad [Miller]'s plan to recruit thousands of foreign homosexuals to come to this country." In this year's battle, Robinson is playing the Republican Party's Stonewall Jackson, defiantly leading a screaming bayonet charge even as the ranks retreat around him.
Surely there's a lesson in this; negative ads blasting Democrats for supporting gays—not rights, but existence—and guest worker problems have hit a much rawer nerve than the ho-hum ads blasting Democrats over wiretapping or Nancy Pelosi.