The national media ventured into the wilds of West Tennessee for yet another article about Stephen Fincher, the godsend of Washington Republican flacks because he's a gospel singing farmer from a town named Frog Jump who has raised $1 million to run for Congress. No big-city political writer can resist a Frog Jump, Tenn., dateline.
Rather than producing the usual fawning over Fincher--oh what a fabulous thing it is to behold this backwoods Man of the People who is adored by all Republican flacks--the Washington Post's Amy Gardner actually did a decent job. Here's the CliffsNotes version of her story: Fincher can win if he unites the far-right loons. (Looking around, Gardner concludes there are many of them in West Tennessee.) But there's another freak in the race (somebody named Donn Janes) who might splinter the vote. Plus, Fincher's got this little problem--namely, he has taken $2.5 million in farm subsidies from the socialist federal government.
That puts Fincher on the defensive with the tea partiers. He says it's OK for farmers to take federal handouts. Being a farmer himself, he sees it as a simple matter of fairness.
"People are quick to say with their mouth full, 'Well, the American farmer is on the dole,' " Fincher said. "But a loaf of bread is two bucks when it could be 10 bucks. I know what it is with the government in my business. We would be all for not having government in our business, but we need a fair system."
The way the media focus on the feelings of the tea party in this campaign, you'd think the Democratic candidate didn't exist. (That would be Roy Herron, a fairly popular guy who's been winning elections to the legislature in this district for 20 years.) But just how effective is this new force in American politics? At a tea party meeting, the Post points out, no one would even cough up a little spare change to put their message on billboards. And this is the unbeatable political behemoth that's about to cause an electoral upheaval?
About 40 people came to the meeting. They cheered when the organizer, Vince DiCello, told a long-winded joke about a new metal called Pelosium, after Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ("its mass keeps getting heavier"). And they murmured in disapproval when he passed around a photograph of Obama with his shoes off -- evidence, DiCello said, that the president prays with Muslims but not Christians ("That's because he is a Muslim," one audience member called out).
Fincher's TV ad:
Jane's web video: