I'll bet if I think hard enough, I can find someone who was elected earlier than Jesse Ventura to mark the start of what I think may be even more responsible for the results of some recent elections than their respective platforms, and that is a combination of our fascination with celebrity and the desire to just shake things up.
It seems to show more on the Republican side, but there are examples everywhere: Al Franken, Jerry Brown, Christine O'Donnell. Heck, I think it's one of the main reasons the Tea Partiers have been so successful. It's not just that people like what they stand for, tho they think they do. It's more because they are so different: Carl Paladino, Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, Sharon Angle.
Or maybe I just have such a hard time thinking people really want, not just to to significantly cut spending and taxes, which most people would support but to repeal health care legislation and financial regulations passed this year, and to phase out Social Security and Medicare in favor of personal savings accounts, to permanently extend the tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush and to eliminate the estate tax, but also to replace the progressive income tax with a flat tax or a national sales tax. Several candidates advocate abolishing the Internal Revenue Service entirely and to eliminate the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Interior, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy and others to return to a "constitutionally pure government."
If you went down line by line on each of those issues, I don't think you'd find a majority in favor of any of those positions, but here we are with, according to a headline in today's NYT: "Tea Party Set to Win Enough Races for Wide Influence".
Let me be the first to say it: Crazy times we're in.