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July 30, 2014 11:52 AM Fleeing the Scene of the Crime

By Ed Kilgore

This column at WaPo from the Cook Political Report’s intrepid analyst David Wasserman kinda speaks for itself:

As a House analyst for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, I’ve personally interviewed over 300 congressional candidates over the course of seven years, both to get to know them and evaluate their chances of winning. I’ve been impressed by just as many Republicans as Democrats, and underwhelmed by equal numbers, too. Most are accustomed to tough questions.
But never have I met any candidate quite as frightening or fact-averse as Louisiana state Rep. Lenar Whitney, 55, who visited my office last Wednesday. It’s tough to decide which party’s worst nightmare she would be.

Wow. You have to appreciate that the Cook folk talk to a lot of very strange candidates; when they make public appearances (I’ve attended quite a few over the years), they are invariably asked about the “best” and “worst” they’ve met in the current cycle. But “frightening?” That’s a new one.

[Whitney] clearly relishes poking Democrats in the eye, cites Minnesota’s Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) as a political role model, and takes kindly to the nickname “Palin of the South….”

[S]he has sought to boost her profile and appeal to conservative donors with a slickly made YouTube video entitled “GLOBAL WARMING IS A HOAX” (84,000 views so far). In the video, Whitney gleefully and confidently asserts that the theory of global warming is the “greatest deception in the history of mankind” and that “any 10-year-old” can disprove it with a simple household thermometer.

Here you go. Don’t try to drink any beverages while watching this video:

I’d say this is “going big” on climate science denialism, eh?

Back to Wasserman:

Whitney’s brand of rhetoric obviously resonates with some very conservative Louisiana voters who view President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency as big-city elitists directly attacking the state’s energy industry and their own way of life. And she would hardly be the first “climate denier” elected to Congress. But it’s not unreasonable to expect candidates to explain how they arrived at their positions, and when I pressed Whitney repeatedly for the source of her claim that the earth is getting colder, she froze and was unable to cite a single scientist, journal or news source to back up her beliefs.

Hell, she couldn’t even name a 10-year-old with a thermometer!

To change the subject, I asked whether she believed Obama was born in the United States. When she replied that it was a matter of some controversy, her two campaign consultants quickly whisked her out of the room, accusing me of conducting a “Palin-style interview.”
It was the first time in hundreds of Cook Political Report meetings that a candidate has fled the room.

Candidates are normally very responsive to Cook interviews, since a favorable rating or even a reference to a particular candidate’s strong personal qualities can mean more donor dollars. But it appears Whitney is appealing to the kind of donors who would be more impressed with a candidate surviving a “Palin-style interview” with a godless liberal inquisitor.

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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