He’s Back…Ohio’s Own James Traficant

He’s Back…Ohio’s Own James Traficant

Kevin Mattson: He’s Back…Ohio’s Own James Traficant

You might have heard the name before?James (Jimbo) Traficant. He was the crazy dude who inhabited a congressional seat in northeastern Ohio. He had the most famous hairdo in American politics (you got to see it to believe it) and made speeches chock full of references to Star Trek. And he had a little problem with the law, serving seven years in jail for bribery and racketeering charges. He was released in September 2009.

And now, he’s going to make a go for it again?running as an independent. So why should anyone care about this man whose infirmity seems so well-established? Well, because he’s now the Tea Party’s man. And we can now see more clearly the relationship between crazy right ideas and, well, things like criminal behavior.

I’m sure we’ve all been suspicious of this linkage before. The respectable right has always feared that the American public will get a closer look at its connections to the crazy right, like the guys who hock literature at gun shows, the Timothy McVeigh crowd, the militia zanies. And now Jimbo Traficant represents the basest element of all–a man whose primary target is to abolish the IRS (that is, if he wins office) and who seems to allow his victimized self-interest to be worn all over his sleeve.

That’s right: His platform (besides the deportation of immigrants) includes a call to abolish the IRS and move to a flat tax–um, something that you hear about a lot from seemingly more respectable right wingers.

How low can American politics go? Will the heartland Berserk explode? Joe the Plumber just won a seat in Ohio’s Republican Party, and now this…

It’s a sad day for Ohioans.

(Image: James Traficant / Creative Commons 2007)