In 2006, Democrat John Hall defeated the Republican incumbent in the next Congressional district over from here. It was a squeaker of a victory and hopeful Republicans immediately began talking about how to take back the seat in 2008.
Trouble is, if you want your candidate to win a race for public office you have to have a candidate.
All over the country local Republican parties, searching for candidates for Congress and the Senate, have been redefining the phrase "scraping the bottom of the barrel" to mean looking under the barrel and wondering if the grubs that live there might want a job.
In Hall's district, New York's 19th, the GOP was having the same problem. Every person with any kind of a decent resume and reputation turned them down flat.
Of course it would be no fun for any sane and sensible person to run for office on the platform of continuing the policies of George W. Bush and the National Republican Party and what does that say about John McCain? But the demographics around here have changed and that district is far more blue than it was when Sue Kelly won it the first time as one of Newt Gingrich's Contract On America---sorry, Contract With America---mob---sorry, gang---sorry, crowd.
Usually, what local parties do when certain defeat is in the offing is find some young up and comer and promise him or her the moon down the road in exchange for going down with the ship this time out. The other preferred alternative is to prevail upon an old-time party loyalist, someone popular in the day, who can at least make a show of it and, if not help the less hopeless candidates on the ticket, at least not drag them down.
Since I'm a kind and charitable guy, I'm presuming this character the Republicans finally found to run against Hall is one of the first type, a young up and comer who's willing to take the hit now for the good of the party in the expectation that better things lay ahead.
But if Kieran Lalor is representative of what the Republicans have up and coming around the country, then the future of the GOP's looking pretty bleak.
Hall and Lalor have been---as the newspapers like to put it---"sparring" over energy policies, particularly what to do about the rising cost of gasoline.
Lalor, being a good Republican, has a simple solution for lowering the price of gas.
And drill again.
Then drill some more.
Lalor, 32, wants Washington to stop begging foreign countries to produce more oil and start allowing oil companies to use more real estate at home. "We're sitting on our own supply," he said, in the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska...
As for the Alaskan tundra, Lalor said oil drilling would disturb only "a fraction of a fraction of the entire wildlife reserve."
Nevermind that if we pumped all the oil there is under the tundra it would give us only a fraction of a fraction of what we need to wean ourselves off foreign oil (and that's assuming Big Oil doesn't sell what they pump out of there to other countries) and won't put off the day when we finally run out of oil by a fraction of a fraction of year.
Letting the oil companies drill off shore, up in the tundra, wherever, is just another way of saying, "Privatize!"
Standard Republican answer to every problem.
"The way to solve this mess, whatever the mess is, is whatever will make my friends and campaign donors rich and richer."
But Lalor isn't content with making himself a shill for the oil companies in Congress. He wants to be a well-known fool and stooge too. Sez Lalor:
Oil rigs in the Gulf are already in use by other nations. "Even China is drilling in the Gulf," he said. "They're putting their straw right in our oil."
More nonsense---and note that Lalor apparently thinks we own all the oil in the entire Gulf of Mexico---this is why the Republicans are heading for the trash bin of history.
In order to run for national office now, a Republican candidate has to be able to repeat Dick Cheney's lies with a straight face.
There are only two kinds of people who can do this.
Knaves and fools.
Lalor seems like a nice guy so I'm guessing he's just a fool.
Since the party was captured by the Radical Right, which is going back about 50 years now, the Republicans have been gradually making it impossible for intelligent and decent people to run for office as Republicans.
For a while it was possible to find principled, if despicable, people who were willing to stand up to defend unfettered greed (The invisible hand of the Free Market) and leaving the racists alone (no more judicial activism, states' rights, original intent, etc. etc. etc.). But there are only so many principled bastards and assholes in the world and over time, in order to fill out the ranks, the party has had to recruit more and more knaves and fools.
And once the knaves and fools are in the position to do so they start hiring and promoting other knaves and fools to join in the fun and share the loot.
That process accelerated after Watergate, picked up speed like an avalanche under Gingrich and DeLay and here we are today---under President Bush and Shadow Dictator Cheney we have a government of the people by the knaves and fools, for the knaves and fools.
And here's poor Kieran Lalor, running for Congress as another Cheney ventriloquist dummy.
I almost feel sorry for the guy.
Oh, and, and as if you need to be told, but just for the record: The Chinese aren't drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
Related: John Hall's energy policies.