In the wake of national shock and hilarity over the latest antics of United States Representative Paul Broun, Jr., a man who makes Allen West look reasonable and well-informed, Charlie Pierce asks a question that’s deeply embarrassing to Georgia Democrats:

The Democratic Party in his home district couldn’t find a single person to stand up and offer the voters in that district a chance not to be represented in Congress by an obvious crackpot. No local assistant DA. No ambitious college professor; the University of Georgia is in this district. Nobody wants to stand up and make the argument that it is better for all concerned that your congresscritter not be a nut. Nobody?

Yeah, it’s a completely noncompetitive district, and sure, embattled Democrats in Georgia have other fish to fry with their limited resources. But Broun really is kind of a special case. He is, after all, the only Republican congressman I’m aware of who attracted a credible primary opponent willing to accuse him of extremism. He didn’t win, of course, but in today’s no-enemies-to-the-Right GOP, you have to be publicly barking mad to even give oxygen to that kind of intraparty criticism.

Maybe next time, assuming Broun doesn’t react to an Obama re-election by Going Gault.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.