Sunday, March 26, 2006

The desperate rebirth of Katherine Harris

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the ignominious perseverance of Katherine Harris. At the time, the widely disgraced 2000 Florida recount rigger, the one who made sure Bush would come out on top, was preparing to make a major announcement regarding her Senate campaign. Lagging well behind incumbent Bill Nelson in the polls, and with many state and national Republicans wanting nothing to do with her, there were rumours that she was set to pull out. But her major announcement amounted to telling Sean Hannity that she was going to spend $10 million of her own money on her campaign.

Good news, indeed. Nelson can go right ahead and crush her. What the hell were Republicans thinking?

But now her campaign has taken a decidedly bizarre turn. The St. Petersburg Times is reporting that Harris's "campaign [is taking] an increasingly evangelical Christian bent". Her evangelical "spiritual adviser," Dale Burroughs, the founder of the Biblical Heritage Institute, is now her "closest confidante". Burroughs was once a "staffer with Campus Crusade for Christ". Now, via the Arlington Group, she's connected to such right-wing evangelical luminaries as James Dobson, Gary Bauer, and Jerry Falwell.

Some of this may be genuine, but Harris's political "rebirth," her attempt to sell herself as a largely religious candidate, also smacks of desperation, the last refuge of a true scoundrel: "Friends and advisers say Harris has been deeply religious all her life, but religion recently has become a central part of her campaign. Campaign staffers warily describe Harris as leading a 'Christian crusade.'" The writing is on the wall:

Her top campaign advisers, having failed to persuade Harris to drop her struggling campaign against Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson, are preparing to leave. Those include Ed Rollins, a highly regarded GOP strategist and her top campaign adviser; Adam Goodman, her longtime Tampa-based media consultant; and campaign manager Jamie Miller. Harris has been aggressively campaigning for support among religious conservatives, hitting large churches and headlining a 'Reclaiming America for Christ conference in Broward County last weekend. She told hundreds of attendees she was 'doing God's work' with her campaign.

Isn't it fun watching such a train wreck of a political career? Was she doing God's work when she soiled American democracy in 2000? Or how about when she took those illegal contributions?

I hope she stays in the race. She deserves a crushing defeat in November.

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