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Opinion
Josh Barro

E. W. Jackson, Candidate of Virginia’s Swivel-Eyed Loons

Republicans need to realize the danger posed by their party's 'mad, swivel-eyed loons.'

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is this year's Republican nominee for governor, but he might be too extreme to win -- even against Democrat Terry McAuliffe (himself not known for generating great press). This weekend, the Virginia Republican Party came up with an unusual strategy for making Cuccinelli seem reasonable and moderate: give him a running mate who is even more extreme.

Cuccinelli's running mate will be Bishop E. W. Jackson, a black minister with no experience as an elected official and a penchant for saying outrageous, hateful things. Last year, Jackson ran in a Republican primary for U.S. Senate and got less than 5 percent of the vote. Jackson won this time because the Virginia Republican Party picks its candidates for state constitutional offices through a convention of party activists instead of a primary. If you were an anonymous British political insider, you might say the convention process empowers the party's "mad, swivel-eyed loon" element.