When his pregnant wife died in a car accident in 1986, (Republican candidate Allen) Quist had the six-and-a-half-month-old fetus placed in his wife's arms in an open casket at the funeral.Wow. I didn't know that about Minnesota congressional candidate Allen Quist. And there's a bunch of other things I didn't know about Quist in a profile that appears in Mother Jones article that appeared this week. (See the link below.)
People who follow Minnesota politics know that Quist was a key figure in bringing the state's evangelical right into partisan politics. They know Quist's longstanding relationship with the state's most prominent politician, Michele Bachmann. (Quist's wife is a longtime Bachmann staffer, a staffer who's never been replaced despite Bachmann's notorious penchant for turnover.)
But did you know that Quist "believes that humans and dinosaurs may have coexisted in Southeast Asia as late as the 11th century?"
There's a bunch of stuff like that, in this MoJo profile...
Bachmann's name is all over this profile of Quist (eight mentions, including the headline.) But it's not an article about her, it's all about Quist.
Who was the source? Well, former Minnesota governor Arne Carlson is quoted extensively, and he and Quist are long time foes. But where did all the oppo research on Quist come from?
The biggest threat to Quist's congressional effort is inside the Republican Party. It's the loathsome Mike Parry, another ultraright Republican who scrubs his tweets when the media notices they're racist.
The contest between Quist and Parry for the GOP nomination has been extraordinarily bitter. There was endless battle between their Republican supporters at the nomination event this year. (The MoJo story notes that evangelical conservative Quist--not Parry--had the support of the Ron Paulites present. We wrote about that at the Minnesota Progressive Project blog. We discovered that by looking at tweets and blog posts from Quist fans during the event.)
The nomination event was an epic struggle between right wing nut candidates. Parry ignored repeated on-the-spot debate challenges from Quist. Ballots for both candidates were cast until their supporters were actually requested to leave the building...
And no result; the struggle continues inside the GOP. So you have to wonder: did Parry's camp dump a bunch of Quist oppo research at Mother Jones for this piece?
Or did some uncredited blogger hand the Quist stories to MoJo?
...Quist provides scientific evidence for the existence of dragons, and suggests that the Book of Job be taught as a science lesson: "Today we know beyond a reasonable doubt—Job 41 is a picture-perfect description of SuperCroc."Parry's argument would be that Quist is unelectable; that Walz would triumph against a guy who says he believes in dragons, etc. (The problem for Parry there is that a very significant number of Minnesota Republican activists also believe in dragons, etc.)
Quist was considered "washed up," a kind of wannabe candidate who's been around for decades without any notable campaign success. But in the current Minnesota political environment, I'm not so sure that Quist is washed up.
Bachmann endorsed Quist, and her name goes far in tea party and evangelical circles. As an evangelical conservative puppet, she has an interest in seeing the nomination go to Quist. As a tea party queen, Parry is more than acceptable to her. But she went with Quist. Was it Bachmann's loyalty to Quist and the conservative evangelical movement? Or her sincere belief that a nut like Quist can beat the Democratic incumbent?
Probably the former, is my guess. Bachmann was probably instructed by her national mentors in the conservative evangelical movement to support Quist. It's my position that Bachmann's positions are determined by people outside the state.
I often write about the composition of the current Minnesota state legislature. It's now riddled with Bachmann supporters and imitators whose politics would have made them unelectable at the time that Allen Quist began his political career. And remember that evangelical conservative Rick Santorum won the state GOP's presidential primary, defeating Mitt Romney easily.
All of that indicates the sea change in the state's GOP; the fact that conservative evangelicals are now able to dominate Minnesota GOP activist circles. That means that the nutty, angry evangelical Quist is more viable now than ever as a GOP candidate.
Maybe some liberal or progressive Minnesota blogger leaked the weird but true stories about Quist to MoJo. (If so, the blogger did that without asking for credit. That's the way to be, in my book.)
Or maybe the reporter did some old-fashioned reporting and dug up the facts about Quist's extreme views himself.
In any case, you gotta read this stuff. The Minnesota Republican Party now considers Quist viable-- with his bizarre worldview and his dragons and his alternative reality. No one in the state's GOP is coming out in public and calling Quist "nuts."
That's more proof of the big drop in the state GOP's standards of sanity. And it's already reflected in the composition of the state house and the state's congressional delegation. The nuts are already winning.