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July 21, 2014 9:29 AM One Last Thrust to the Right Flank

By Ed Kilgore

I’m back in Georgia for a while, and was very interested in re-immersing myself in the state’s political culture before tomorrow’s primary runoffs. From afar I had noticed that in the GOP Senate race, David Purdue seemed to have crawled back into contention after Jack Kingston had jumped well ahead on the strength of heavy support from the party’s right wing (led by Karen Handel and Erick Erickson) and constant assertions that Perdue is a godless RINO itching to raise taxes.

How has Perdue counterattacked? With a nice bit of jui-jitsu. What has to drive him crazy about Kingston is that that the U.S. Chamber has spent over two million bucks backing the career appropriator even though he has violently opposed a number of its priorities, such as Common Core. So Perdue took advantage of the spike of hysteria among conservatives about immigration to hang the Chamber’s recent support for the Senate-passed immigration bill around Kingston’s neck:

The image of hundreds of babies on the Capitol lawn in this ad is a throwback to earlier Perdue ads depicting opponents as, literally, “crybabies.” But it’s jarring nonetheless, as is the suggestion that anyone supporting “amnesty” shocks the conscience and should probably be hunted down and deported themselves.

It’s another sign that in most precincts of the GOP, at least in the South, there’s only one path to political success, and it’s well to the right of the highway. For a Georgian of my generation, it echoes the atmosphere of the late Jim Crow era when every white politician was for segregation, but felt constrained to swear loyalty to the Lost Cause constantly while accusing their rivals of secretly conspiring to sell out to the race-mixers. It worked more often than not.

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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