Today's primary election day in California, and the ballot includes the usual selection of lunatics sprinkled in among the vast throng of candidates who should probably all be rejected for more traditional reasons.
You may have heard of some of the people running for president, including the current guy, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and liberal Democrat committed to "transparency" who has gone to war without Congressional approval at least once, signed a bill that allows the indefinite military detention of American citizens, has a secret "kill list" that includes American citizens and has actually killed at least three American citizens, which may or may not have been legal according to a memo that you're not allowed to see. And this might still be the least stupid vote you could cast.
Mitt Romney, of course, has the GOP nomination locked up, but Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are all still on the ballot, it appears, along with Buddy Roemer, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson (who at least has the good sense to support legalizing a drug most of these people have used anyway) and Fred Karger. Wait, who?
Why, Fred Karger, the first openly gay man to run for president since Dick Gephardt, and certainly the first openly gay Republican man to run for president. Given that he is an openly gay Republican whose Huffington Post editorial yesterday was entitled "Why I Am Still Running for President," his chances probably are not great, but on the other hand he appears to be sane and is the only GOP candidate other than Romney who is still actively running. You never know.
I'm sort of a libertarian but still probably wouldn't vote for Green Party candidate Dr. Kent Mesplay. Seems like a rational guy but he was born in Papua New Guinea. Both his parents were U.S. citizens (or so he claims) so does that make him a "natural-born citizen"? I think so, but Papua New Guinea? We have enough trouble with people trying to get birth certificates out of Hawaii. Amusingly, another Green Party candidate is named "Roseanne Barr," but this is certainly not the same — oh. Seriously? Seriously. "She is the lone voice of courage and reason who is unstoppable [the others seem to be stoppable] as she holds corporate-funded politicians feet to the fire," she says, so maybe you should overlook her known shrillness and her unreasoning hatred of apostrophes.
Hey, did you know there are 25 people running for president on the California ballot, and that the full list of California candidates is 148 pages long? I sure as hell didn't when I started writing this. I have at least scanned the whole thing and it seems to confirm my belief that it's the presidency and the Senate that really brings them out of the woodwork. The unsurprising exception may be San Francisco, where "Summer Justice Shields" is running against Nancy Pelosi. Shields is listed as a Democrat but I see her campaign announcement was mentioned on LaRouchePAC.com. If she's a Lyndon LaRouche supporter, then she's a nut. (These days, LaRouche appears to be pushing something called "The Furtwängler Principle," which I support wholeheartedly just based on the name. It also has the benefit of being totally incomprehensible.)
The most reliable source of loons is usually the American Independent Party, which previously featured Alan Keyes among its inmates but now has to settle for "Mad Max" Reikse, of Fruitport, Michigan. Little appears to be known about Mad Max, who may recently have switched to the AIP from the Citizens Party. The Citizens Party website has a group page called "Mad Max Riekse for President 2012," a group that currently has ten members including "Free the Toss Salad Man." I wasn't able to view Free the Toss Salad Man's profile without logging in, which I had no intention of doing, but I would like to see him on the same ticket as The Rent Is Too Damn High Guy.
Finally, and this is why I started this thing in the first place, famed Birther-activist and naturalized-Moldovan-lawyer-dentist Orly Taitz is running for the Senate. She hopes to run against Dianne Feinstein, and according to some polls she may actually get the chance. California has a "top-two" primary, meaning all candidates run on the same ballot and the top two then face off in November. Feinstein will be number one, and 23 others are vying for number two. Since no one else has any name recognition at all, there is some concern — including in the GOP — that Taitz might eke out enough votes to stay around until November. She does have a long record of losing, but also a long record of being undeterred by it.
An official Taitz run would be amusing but also disturbing, as John Avlon, who has interviewed and debated Taitz, writes at the Daily Beast. That piece is worth reading partly for its comical descriptions of Taitz as "almost charmingly insane," "demonstrably unhinged," "clownishly unelectable," and one who "would make Sharron Angle look like Daniel Webster." As amusing as that might be, though, Taitz doesn't deserve any more attention. Avlon says the California GOP is endorsing Elizabeth Emken, so maybe she's the best alternative if you're not a Feinsteinian.
Personally, I'm reserving judgment until I know where all these people stand on The Furtwängler Principle. Or at least what it means.