The Diddly Award

The Flightless Eagle Award is awarded to the right-wing congressional candidate least likely to soar. The nominees are…

Illustration: Peter Hoey

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Vernon Robinson (5th District, North Carolina), an African American Republican, is already legendary for his ads, such as the one in which he introduced himself this way: “Jesse Helms is back! And this time he’s black.” One pamphlet read: “Your vote could determine whether VERNON ROBINSON or my opponent — an admitted NUDIST — yep — like nekkid — like no clothes — represents the Republican Party.” Another ad reminded listeners how hard it is for liberals to admit that “black mothers need to stop having eight babies by seven different fathers, stop talking street-talk jive like ‘Yo, dawg, peep my bling-bling.’”

James Hart (8th District, Tennessee) is the GOP nominee who holds that “poverty genes of less ‘favored races’” will soon cause the U.S. to “look like one big Detroit.”

Alan Keyes (U.S. Senate, Illinois), who ran for the Senate in a state he’s never made his home, once railed against Hillary Clinton for doing the same: “I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton’s willingness to go into a state she doesn’t even live in and pretend to represent people there,” he said in 2000. “I certainly wouldn’t imitate it.” As the GOP’s candidate, Keyes quickly endeared himself to Illinois voters by advocating that their right to vote for their senators be revoked — and returned to the state legislature.

Tom Coburn (U.S. Senate, Oklahoma) had previously distinguished his hard-right positions by asserting: “If I wanted to buy a bazooka to use in a very restricted way, to do something, I ought to be able to do that.” This year he combined two hot-button issues into a surefire winner: “I favor the death penalty for abortionists and other people who take life.”

AND THE WINNER IS… Vernon Robinson, who also charged that gay marriage will lead to “civil unions for three men, then four or five, then two transvestites, a pedophile, a lesbian, and a partridge in a pear tree.”

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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