Man, I had about eliminated from my consciousness the possibility that the Conservative From Hell, Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), might slither into Congress for another term. But sure enough, per Roll Call, he’s won renomination in a massively Republican district by 38 votes.

National Journal‘s Alex Roarty did a piece a couple of weeks ago examining why antichoice groups that couldn’t have been happy about the man’s rampant hypocrisy on abortion (he was violently against it, unless it happened to involve one of his own wives or lovers) effectively gave him a pass by failing to endorse a primary opponent who managed to toe the RTL line without doing any private abortion counseling. There’s no clear answer; maybe they thought DesJarlais was toast, maybe they were focused on other races or issues (the political equivalent of “I was around the corner buying a pack of cigarettes that month”), and maybe–just maybe–their detractors were right all along that these birds don’t give a damn about abortion per se, so long as women are not conceded any reproductive rights. I mean, there’s no question DesJarlais was large and in charge of his relationships with wives and mistresses and patients and colleagues and God knows who else. Maybe he gets bonus points for Patriarchy. I just don’t know.

Ed Kilgore

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.