The Audacity of Failure – She’s Back!
She ran for governor of Georgia in 2010 and lost. Then she took one of the most beloved and successful non-profits on the planet, set it on fire, and shoved it out to sea like a viking funeral pyre, before resigning in disgrace. Then she wrote a book with the painfully prosaic title “Planned Bullyhood,” in which she called members of Planned Parenthood “a bunch of schoolyard thugs.” So, what’s next for Karen Handel, disgraced and ostracized former head of the Susan G. Komen foundation?
She’s considering a run for the U.S. Senate, of course.
If she ran, she would be going up against Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), whom Roll Call reported may be vulnerable to a primary challenge from the right, given his “willingness to reach across the aisle and his comfort with the idea of compromise.”
Working together? Compromise? Aisle across reaching behavior? We’ll have none of that, thank you. Prepare to be primaried.
Handel first became involved with Republican politics as chief of staff to former vice president Dan Quayle’s wife, Marilyn. Following that position, she was elected secretary of state in Georgia, from 2007 to 2010, when she resigned to run in a primary bid for governor. She ran on an anti-abortion platform, vowing to dismantle Planned Parenthood. However, Georgia Right to Lifers felt she wasn’t extreme enough, because she was anti-abortion except in cases regarding rap or incest or if the life of the mother was at stake. She lost to Nathan Deal, who went on to become the governor by only 2,500 votes.
Despite having received support and an endorsement from Fox News talking head Sarah Palin for her stance against reproductive choice, Handel may have to get rid of that whole “exceptions for rape and incest” nonsense if she wants to be a true conservative contender. That’s almost as bad as “compromise” for crying out loud.
And speaking of our ex-half-governor, she was also out there stumping for Saxby Chambliss in his last bid for Senate, if you recall. Chambliss was the first figure outside Alaska to receive the coveted tap of the head from Palin’s magical endorsement wand. He credited her for his win.
“Sarah Palin came in on the last day, did a fly-around and, man, she was dynamite. We packed the houses everywhere we went. And it really did allow us to peak and get our base fired up,” Chambliss said.
“I mean, I can’t overstate the impact she had down here,” he continued. “When she walks in a room, folks just explode. And they really did pack the house everywhere we went. She’s a dynamic lady, a great administrator, and I think she’s got a great future in the Republican Party.”
Palin has a great future in the Republican Party like Karen Handel has a great future with Planned Parenthood.
But, who will Palin decide to endorse if these two run against each other? That might be a li’l predicament – a conundrum of sorts. The walnut under the hairdo might be busy trying to figure that one out for a while.
Chambliss is a two-term incumbent who’s not only been squishy (by Tea Party standards) on taxes, but also on immigration.
But before you start rooting for Saxby Chambliss as the voice of moderation and civility, let’s not forget a couple things about this man who may find himself attacked in a primary FROM THE RIGHT. He’s the guy who didn’t fight in Viet Nam, but ran TV ads against his opponent, Senator Max Cleland (who left three limbs there), calling him soft on terror.
Here’s how the Almanac of American Politics (2006) described it:
“Chambliss ran an ad, much attacked in the press, showing pictures of Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Max Cleland, and saying that Cleland ‘voted against the President Bush’s vital homeland security efforts 11 times.’”
I guess that’s why he was endorsed by the Senate’s most famous war hero John McCain, and Palin who was (at the time) America’s most famous Blue Star Mom.
And then there was Chambliss’ description of his run-off election (in which Palin brought him over the finish line) to Fox’s Alan Colmes thus: “There was a high percentage of minority vote, but we weren’t able to get enough of our folks out on election day.”
“Our folks?” Really.
Another bit of interesting trivia is that if Handel wins, she’d be only the second member of the U.S. Senate not to have received a college degree. The other is Senator Mark Begich (D-AK). It’s kind of hilarious to see the usual Tea Party suspects up here in Alaska spouting their faux moral outrage at Begich’s lack of formal higher education. I’m sure they’ll be just as aghast at Handel’s. Elitists.
The best that those who believe women have rights to their own bodies, and those who when they hear the term “our folks,” don’t immediately think “white” can hope for is the following scenario. Handel wins the primary, and goes the way of the Susan G. Komen fundraising of 2011 in the general election. If that happens, we might be able to welcome a Democratic Senator from the State of Georgia. Now wouldn’t that be something.