When the Tea Party Glove Doesn’t Fit

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On Tuesday, MoJo‘s Adam Weinstein brought you the heartwarming story of Tim James, the Alabama businessman who, if his newest ad is any indication, is running for governor this year on a platform of dramatic pauses and DMV reform. Since then, James’s bizarro, race-baiting campaign ad

which was produced by the same guy who made DemonSheep

has gone viral and the candidate is reaping benefits from the conservative base.

James's ad is pretty awesome. But it might be only the second most interesting spot out of Alabama this month. That's because one of James's primary opponents, former 10 Commandments judge Roy Moore, just cut this track:

 

Catchy! As Moore's site explains: "The Judge's love for music steered him to step outside of the proverbial political ads, and be the first person running for office to utilize music as the sole message for his campaign." The message in this video is really about faith, not race, but still, it's not every day that you see a Republican primary candidate pander to black voters. The fact that Moore's opponent seems to be pandering to the xenophobic wing of his party makes the contrast between the two that much sharper.

But Moore is noteworthy for what his candidacy represents, not just its ads. As Stephanie Mencimer reported back in February, Moore entered the race as what you might call a "Tea Party candidate"; he was a featured speaker at the Tenth Amendment Summit, and his career has been singularly defined by its resistance to the federal government's authority. But James is also something of a Tea Party candidate. So is front-runner Bradley Byrne

The point, I guess, is that every Republican running for governor in Alabama this year should probably be considered a Tea Party candidate, which makes the label "Tea Party candidate" less than helpful if you're trying to tell them apart. Moore is a faith-based Tea Partier; James plays to cultural concerns. In reality, the Alabama race isn’t about who can win the Tea Party vote; it’s a matter of prioritizing the various grievances of the traditional conservative base.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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