Ah, the spoiler candidate! The eephus pitch of U.S. politics. It has a long, bipartisan tradition, similar perhaps to the demonization of minorities -- another proud political pastime in this country. Fielding spoiler candidates does not exactly conform to the ideals of honest government, but in politics, if you're not lying, you're probably not trying.
Take Dave Blaska's boy, John F. Kennedy. When he ran for Congress his pop hooked him up with a candidate who had the same name as one of his primary opponents, Joseph Russo. (The move was apparently unnecessary, since the Russos didn't come close to Kennedy's total.)
And last year AFSCME was involved in fielding a Republican candidate to run against Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer, the conservative Democrat-turned-independent. The idea was to split the votes on the right. The effort was unsuccessful.
It was incredible, nevertheless, to see the Republican Party of Wisconsin admit to fielding spoiler candidates today.
[RPW Executive Director] Stephan Thompson said the Republican senators are busy crafting a state budget, which puts them at a disadvantage to challengers to have time to campaign.
"Because of this disadvantage, and the outrageous nature of elected officials facing recall for standing up for a balanced budget, the Republican Party of Wisconsin has advocated that protest candidates run in Democratic primaries to ensure that Republican legislators have ample time to communicate with voters throughout their districts after the state budget is approved," he said in the statement.
This was an idea I floated a while back. I only thought it might benefit the GOP to postpone the election because it would allow the pro-union fervor to die down a little bit. I was not convinced, however, that this was sound logic. And I highly suspect that the backlash the RPW gets for so publicly backing spoiler candidates will offset any advantage its candidates reap from an extra month of campaigning.
My guess? The GOP is absolutely desperate. They've run some polls and have figured out that their candidates are dead in the water unless they do something radical. They've thrown the fastball, the slider and the curve. Now they're trying the eephus.