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May 06, 2014 6:02 PM Rich Guys’ Self-Inflicted Wounds

By Ed Kilgore

For those of us determined to show that being rich is not necessarily a sign of enormous brainpower, much less moral quality, the follies of self-funded Richie Rich political candidates are always a source of good clean data points. In the GA GOP SEN primary I’ve been watching closely, front-runner David Perdue earned himself a world of trouble by dissing the educational credentials of opponent Karen Handel, who couldn’t go to college because she had to support herself. Now in Iowa, Mark Jacobs, who is struggling to stay ahead of state senator Joni Ernst in the IA GOP SEN race, put up a website criticizing Ernst as “AWOL” for missing a lot of votes in the legislature. Turns out that she was on duty with the Iowa National Guard during her most recent absence. So now she gets to demand an apology from Jacobs on behalf of everyone who misses work for Guard duty, and John McCain is piling on with an attack on the hapless former energy exec.

You have to wonder how these things happen in the campaigns of people whose only real credentials are alleged managerial brilliance. How on earth could David Perdue not understand that a big chunk of Republican primary voters haven’t gone to college? And who with Team Jacobs wasn’t aware that Ernst’s military record (she’s an Iraq War vet and a high-ranking Guard officer) is a huge part of her resume, and didn’t bother to find out if she was on Guard duty before using the term AWOL? This sort of rank stupidity is bad enough in any campaign. But in the campaigns of candidates who can supposedly clean out the Augean Stables of Washington because they are business geniuses, it’s just deadly, albeit a fine source of schadenfreude.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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