We're all familiar with the caliber of insane politicians in states like Florida, South Carolina and Texas. But it appears as if Iowa is making a concerted effort to field its own array of wackaloons in addition to, of course, the token crackpottery of Rep. Steve King (R-IA).
You might recall how several weeks ago a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Joni Ernst, released a campaign commercial in which she bragged about having spent a part of her youth (a clearly dark, horrifying youth) castrating pigs. If you know anything about livestock castration, it's not at all pleasant for the animals, far beyond the unpleasantness of having a house pet neutered. But there she was anyway, inexplicably putting forth her castration experience as as work experience to qualify her for U.S. Senate.
Well now the testicular gauntlet has been picked up by another candidate for U.S. Senate. Meet Bob Quast, the independent (tea party) candidate and former defense contractor running in the primary there. His new commercial is, in a word, psychotic.
In a video he described as "having a sense of humor," he goes well beyond Ernst's castration bit. Before we get into exactly what it is, it's important to set up the tone of the spot. Indeed, he tries desperately to be funny and he's anything but. The ad begins with the candidate jogging along an outdoor path with a child in a stroller. Wacky, whistly music plays in the background. Quast turns to the camera and says, "Hi, I'm Bob. I am running. [pregnant pause] Running for Iowa's open seat in the U.S. Senate!"
Next, Quast says that he's in favor of upholding "every aspect of our Constitution." Every aspect? There are a few things in there that no longer apply such as, you know, the three-fifths clause, but okay. While Quast is describing his support for the Constitution, the video cuts to a dog nodding its head. Yeah, weird. Quast goes on to say that "even a baby knows it includes the Second Amendment." A baby? Reminds me of Rep. Steve Stockman's (R-TX) "if babies had guns there would be fewer abortions" bumper sticker, which is also really, really funny given all the babies who were killed at Sandy Hook, not to mention all the babies with guns who accidentally shot other babies.
Remember: this video is supposed to have "a sense of humor."
Cut to the interior of Quast's suburban McMansion where Quast jarringly describes how how his sister was, yes, raped and murdered. Comedy! He brandishes a Glock with a laser-sight and says:
"If you're the sexual predator who raped and murdered my sister Lynnette? When you come to my front door to do harm to my girls? I'm gonna use my Glock. [cut to comedic close-up take] To blow your balls off."
Bear in mind, while describing this horrifying tragedy, the wacky, whistly music is still playing in the background. But yes, there it is: perhaps the first ever usage of the word "balls" in a political campaign. And it's not just tossed in there in a silly way, Quast uses it in the context of describing how he intends to blow the balls off the rapist and murderer who killed his sister. In other words, he uncomfortably and awkwardly shoehorns the death of his sister into what's supposed to be a funny commercial. Worse, just after he delivers the "blow your balls off" line, he grins ear-to-ear and an animated sparkle appears on his teeth accompanied by a crystalline "ding!" sound effect.
Um, I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like this in a campaign commercial: a story about a candidate's sister being raped and murdered, backed with zany music and surrounded by bad attempts at comedy, with a "blow your balls off" threat and a cartoony tooth sparkle kicker. Holy hell. Who is this crazy person? And please, Iowa, can you make sure he remains far, far away from the U.S. Senate? Thank you in advance.
Incidentally, we're only 26 seconds into the 90 second spot.
He continues by attacking the "liberal" candidate, Bruce Braley, for wanting to restrict the size of the magazine in Quast's Glock, then asks that we not confuse Quast with the Republican candidate in the race (Ernst). At this point, Quast holds up a switch-blade and we jump to a shot of a piglet and the sound of a pig squeal. Get it? Zing! Again, he was just talking about how his sister was raped and murdered -- and that, evidently, the perp is still at large. That was two seconds ago and he's already joking about his opponent, the pig castrator.
Seriously, what the fuck is going on? For a while now, campaign ads, and especially primary campaign ads, have been growing progressively more freakish. I suppose it was inevitable, what with the now predictable array of ads showing candidates either firing guns at targets or at the Obamacare law, but it appears as though there's an arms race of crazy happening in Iowa, with each candidate trying one-up the other with ball-removal references.
By the way, it's worth noting that it's statistically more likely that a member of Quast's family will be killed or wounded by his Glock than by a weapon held by intruder who knocks on Quast's front door.
Post script: the pig castration lady? She's winning.