I’m really fascinated by the rapid rise and apparent fall of Debra Medina, the small-time Republican activist who surged into the mid-20s in her race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in Texas, then whiffed on a chance to distance herself from 9/11 conspiracy theories in an interview with Glenn Beck. And what it suggests to me is that the Tea Party enthusiasm has elevated — temporarily, it seems — some candidates who, in previous election cycles, would have remained in obscurity and gotten some fraction of the vote without much scrutiny.
Take Adam Andrzejewski, the Illinois gubernatorial candidate who ran a pretty platitudinous campaign but aggressively sought support from Tea Party groups. Take some of the small-scale House candidates, like the three people challenging Ron Paul, who’ve gotten media attention for minor campaigning and fundraising. Or take Medina. For months, she had been courting hard-right and fringe support and doing a pretty good job. In October she appeared on Texas-based, conspiracy-minded radio host Alex Jones’s radio show, and the interview delved again and again into bizarre topics. In this clip, at 9:20, Jones rants about how law enforcement has been trained to go after patriotic Americans.
MEDINA: We’ve got a big problem in Texas. We’ve got a lot of work to do, to re-educate… I’ve seen some activity…
JONES: We’ve got Soviet brainwashing in the state police.
MEDINA: We do.
At other points in the interview (cut into four piece on YouTube), Medina complains that “Texas hasn’t lifted a finger to nullify anything under [Gov. Rick] Perry’s leadership.”
We need the Texas legislature nullifying law and we need the Texas governor interposing against federal law enforcement where it oversteps the bounds of the Constitution.
But the most revealing part of the interview might be the question posed in this clip at 8:30.
CALLER: Would she go on record saying she’s not a Bilderberg and she would not support what Rick and Kay do?
MEDINA: I think I’m on record loud and clear in lots of places all over Texas saying I’m not a Bilderberger and I in no way support Rick and Kay.
Compare that to her answer to Glenn Beck on 9/11.
I don’t have all of the evidence, there, Glenn. So I don’t… I am not in a place — I have not been out publicly questioning that. I think some very good questions have been raised in that regard. There’s some very good arguments. And I think the American people have not see all of the evidence there. So I have not taken a position on that.
I think because the mainstream media were slow to cover the Tea Parties as anything but a ridiculous joke, there’s been a lot of overcompensating that imbues these activists with fresh, bold, out-of-nowhere political tactics. But that the fact is that some people on the political fringes have made lateral moves from Alex Jones-listening or Obama birth certificate-sleuthing or Bilderberg-obsessing into the Tea Party Movement. And if Glenn Beck hadn’t decided to see how far Medina wanted to go with this, she’d be on track to get into a gubernatorial run-off. (I think Beck has threaded this needle brilliantly, obsessing over some fringe theories while ruling some, like birtherism and trutherism, totally out of bounds on his show.)