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Congressional watchers may remember that when JD Hayworth (R wacko-AZ) was in the House (1995-2007) more than once his own colleagues named him “The 2nd Biggest Windbag in Congress.” He confessed to lusting after the Number One spot. Well, he got that top honor later when members of congress and staffers awarded him the “No Rocket Scientist” prize. It was well deserved.

Around these parts in the Southwest, we often call him Foghorn Leghorn for his loud-mouth, back-slappin’, good ol’ boy ways. “Son, I say, I say!”

It never failed when you’d meet JD: “Hey, Mags [back slap]! How ’bout those Diamondbacks!” If you were passing out a big cardboard government check, just tell JD that the cameras would be there, and he’d show up – dole out the money, praise your work, then go vote against your bill.

Many Arizonans will remember Hayworth as the happy TV sportscaster on Channel 10 from the mid-80s to the mid-90s, who parlayed his local fame into a congressional seat in the 1994 Gingrich takeover. Now, think back on the five terms he spent there, and please tell me one thing JD Hayworth did in Congress. (chirp … chirp …)

Having no ideas of his own, Hayworth has always been about the show, the spotlight, the empty political theater. And he played the part well, with his Reaganesque aw-shucks bravado, hearty laugh, tough guy handshake, and beaming smile. And lots of flags. But as the Washington routine wore on JD, he started to look less and less the movie star part, and his huge frame (I bet he’s 6’5” or more) swelled to waaay over 300 pounds. So JD got a stomach staple and lost a third of himself. With his new coiffure, all spiky and streaked, he presented a new image.

Only problem: the suit was smaller but it was still empty.

And by 2006 the voters had caught on. Combine his do-nothing tenure with his ties to Jack Abramoff, which dengre and others have documented here, and that pretty much torpedoed his re-election bid in 2006. Even the conservative voters of Arizona’s CD-5 had had enough of JD, and sent former Tempe Mayor Harry Mitchell to Washington. Hayworth entered Congress on the coattails of the 1994 backlash, and he exited on the 2006 version. Afterward, JD slinked back to the world he knows best: broadcasting. He’s had his own Rush-inspired radio program for the past year or so - still trying for that Number One windbag honor.

So I was not surprised to see the news today that JD Hayworth, who’s challenging his party’s last presidential nominee in the senate primary, marched right into that man’s office to demand a debate! Conveniently for JD, the media were tipped off to the stunt, and the cameras followed Foghorn right into the senior senator’s office where he demanded, “Son, I say, son! Where’s the old guy? I want a debate!” (I made that part up.)

Hayworth knew, of course, that Senator McCain was in Washington DC today participating in his own theater – the health care forum. (“... leading the fight,” his aide said, “to stop a government takeover of our healthcare system.”) When asked why he showed up on a day he knew McCain was out of the office, Hayworth put it down to a “scheduling conflict.” He surely must have known that the United States government operates a postal system that could have delivered his letter to the senator. Or, if he didn’t trust the government (a Hayworth refrain) he could’ve sent the missive FedEx.

Pass the Popcorn
If nothing else, it’s going to be interesting out here watching these two goofballs shove one another farther and farther into wingnut land, hoping to secure the Looney Tune nomination. The theme for this primary campaign will be, “No, I’m crazier than you!”

Hayworth’s got a head start: he’s the darling of the tea-party crowd, with his birther wink-wink-nod-nod, his links to anti-immigrant groups, and the virulent anti-Obama trash he’s been spewing over the airwaves. This one statement on his campaign website tells you everything you need know about the crowd he’s sucking up to:

It is no surprise that he has been endorsed by great leaders like Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and State Senator Russell Pearce.

Yeah, “great leaders” indeed. I don’t have to go into a spiel here about Arpaio because most readers know he’s the uncontested sheriff of assholery. This “great leader” is currently being investigated by a grand jury for abuse of powers (here’s a diary about that). Russell Pearce is in a whole other league of “great leaders.” Just check out the first minute of this YouTube video (if you can), which documents his appearance with a bunch of neo-Nazis. Hayworth evidently doesn’t see the slightest problem with listing a White Supremacist sympathizer among his supporters; nor has he refused the endorsements of other nativist groups, such as Americans for Legal Immigration. New Times picks up the story from there:

On Tuesday, the McCain campaign advised Hayworth to disavow the endorsement [from ALI] because of support the group has received from racist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan and the national Socialist Movement. Hayworth tells New Times he has no plans of disavowing the endorsement because the organization is in good standing.

Yep, these and other people "in good standing" are the bigots JD Hayworth believes will secure his nomination, so it’s pretty clear he’s not going after moderate Republicans here (if there even is such a thing anymore).

This is not good news for John McCain. Poor Gramps’ spindly legs have an uphill road to climb to Crazyland, since his history includes “liberal” policies like:

•He was half of McCain-Feingold, which [gasp!] tried to get big money out of politics. Now, all of a sudden, he supports the Citizens United decision.
•McCain used to talk about a sensible immigration workers programs. Now, suddenly, he sounds like the most rabid Mexican-hating Militia Man.
•He used to fancy himself a lover of Arizona’s natural beauty. Now he’s a climate change denier who’d probably allow Exxon Mobil to drill in the Grand Canyon to prove his anti-environmentalist bonafides.
•The senator used to say he’d listen to the generals about whether Don’t Ask Don’t Tell should be repealed. Well, the generals now say it’s time, but suddenly McCain’s done an about-face.
•He actually "suspended" his campaign in 2008 to work on the bail-out, which he supported, but now he says it was all Bush’s fault.

Today was pure Hayworth - bombastic and meaningless. Ah, yes, this show should be fun to watch. And Act One opened today. Popcorn?  

Originally posted to Maggie's Farm on Thu Feb 25, 2010 at 08:25 PM PST.

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