Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Paul Ryan's Challenger & The Upcoming Orgy Of Guns And Racist Hate

Amar Kaleka
Once upon a time, Paul Ryan had lousy election opponents. Underfunded, unknown and almost none at all. He vanquished them all with ease and lots and lots of money.

Then, like fish and house guests, he stayed around a little too long and began to stink up the room.

It wasn't hard to figure out why - after all, once upon a time Paul Ryan was all in favor of term limits and Congress became less popular than herpes.

Conventional wisdom would have predicted running for Vice President would only increase is visibility in his home district - and it did - but that resulted in more people realizing what an extreme ideologue he truly is and how his record in Congress has directly lead to the financial meltdown which destroyed jobs and housing values in Wisconsin.

Ryan was handed his worst election margin ever in 2012 - with big thanks to a strong challenger in Kenosha's, Rob Zerban.

Ryan isn't on the polling bubble like Sean Duffy - showing a potential loss in a match-up against a generic Democratic challenger - yikes. Ryan doesn't look unbeatable like he used to either.

Rob Zerban, still considering another run and planning to announce his decision later this month, learned a great deal in 2012 having been shoved into the national spotlight along with Ryan. Zerban has proven to be a solid foil against Ryan's votes - but has struggled to paint a convincing narrative of his own vision.

"I'm not Ryan" has been Zerban's central theme. That's a good start, but capturing the imagination of the public and being someone to vote FOR is an elusive characteristic for all candidates. No one can say exactly what the equation is for voters - it's combination of back-story, confidence and physical presence.

It's an "it" factor - that is either there or it is not. Paul Ryan has "it" in spades for conservatives - so much so they are willing to overlook his votes and reliance on corporate servitude against their own interests, over and over again.

So now comes word there is another challenger to Ryan's seat out of Oak Creek. Amar Kaleka, son of the slain Sikh Temple of Wisconsin president, Satwant Kaleka, has announced he is forming an exploratory congressional committee and is planning to announce his candidacy against Ryan next month.

Kaleka is a 35 year old, Emmy award winning filmmaker. His father's death - the mass shooting at the temple by a white supremacist - led to his decision to run.

Kaleka came out swinging with a splash of national attention - calling out Ryan not just for his inaction on background checks but directly blaming him for his part in the government shut-down. Kaleka even threw some shade on President Obama for not showing up in Oak Creek, although Kaleka says he's an Obama supporter.

According to Zerban's Twitter and Facebook accounts - Zerban ran a 5k on Oct. 12 and prepared a nice vegan meal in September - not exactly hard-hitting considering the entire 24 hour news cycle is about the debt ceiling and government shutdown with Paul Ryan in the center. (Update - the Zerban campaign wanted us to know this was his personal Facebook account - not his campaign. So noted.)

Maybe Zerban thought he had the room to himself?

Did we mention Kaleka is handsome and potentially well funded? Also, he is very handsome. Successful and really handsome. Boy, he's nice to look at.

Okay...moving on.

Kaleka's announcement came with the requisite responses from the RWNJ peanut gallery - any mention of universally supported background checks naturally means he's coming to take away everyone's guns - there is only one reaction to any measure of gun safety from the gun crowd. The single brain cell floating around their empty heads have so much room for reasoning. Hulk must SMASH!

Comments referring to "cow worshiping" were not far behind either. (For the record, Sikhs don't worship cows.) It is however, the 5th largest religion in the world - with the Oak Creek mass shooting being one their most recent tragedies.

This is just the first day - wait until the real troglodytes find out about Kaleka.

There are few Sikh elected to office in the US, and none at a national level. (Interestingly, South Carolina Governor, Nikki Haley, was born to a Sikh family but converted to Christianity.) Kaleka would be the first - highly significant to the international Sikh community.

That translates into money.

The Siren would not like to be any congressional incumbent in 2014 - even Paul Ryan. We're afraid this is not good news for him or for Zerban. Kinda makes Ryan's story of having his father pass away in his teens look a bit pale to having your father murdered in his own temple by a white supremacist causing an international incident.

The conversations about Kaleka's campaign will go like this:

"Amar Kaleka, who is that?"
"He's the guy whose father was murdered in Oak Creek."
"Wow, He's running for office?"

And that is actually all a whole lot of voters will need to know. If he winds up being half of a decent candidate - all the better for him.

Ryan will have full allegiance of the racist, gun clingers - which could possibly backfire given the public's exhaustion for gun deaths. Stay tuned. This will be very interesting and more than a little disgusting given the temperament of many in the area.