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A political test emerges in Georgia

<p>Rep. Paul Broun&#039;s (R-Ga.) interest in running for the Senate was evident even before Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) announced his retirement.</p>
A political test emerges in Georgia
A political test emerges in Georgia

Rep. Paul Broun's (R-Ga.) interest in running for the Senate was evident even before Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) announced his retirement. With the incumbent out of the way, the congressman's announcement was only a matter of time.

Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday to run for Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss' seat, just hours before he is scheduled to make an announcement about the race in Atlanta. Broun is the first candidate to enter the race ahead of what is expected to be a crowded primary on the Republican side.Broun's candidacy puts Republican Senate officials in Washington in an awkward if familiar position. Once again, they're left hoping the conservative movement doesn't galvanize behind a candidate whose well-documented penchant for controversy could put at risk what otherwise would be a sure-fire victory.

It's hard to overstate just how unusual Paul Broun really is. Words like "crazy" and "extreme" are used with some frequency to describe politicians on the fringes of modern American thought, but even among the true cranks, Broun is a unique individual.

Rachel noted many of the congressman's greatest hits the other night, and the segment is well worth your time. Broun, for example, is perhaps best known for arguing that that cosmology, biology, and geology are, quite literally, "lies straight from the pit of Hell," and that President Obama only believes in supporting "the Soviet constitution."

But we can keep going. Broun, an apparent Birther, believes cap-and-trade would kill people; the Affordable Care Act will dictate what kind of car Americans can drive; the health care reform effort reminds him of "Northern Aggression"; and that he considers President Obama to be a Hitler-like figure intent on establishing a Gestapo-like security force to impose a Marxist dictatorship on Americans.

In 2010, Broun argued that the Centers for Disease Control might "give all the power to the federal government to force you" to eat healthier foods, which would include the CDC "calling you to make sure you eat fruits and vegetables, every day. This is socialism of the highest order!"

Now he's running for the U.S. Senate. And that, in turn sets the stage for an interesting test.

There's been an unmistakable push of late to improve the Republican Party's electoral prospects, helping stronger candidates win primaries and purge the party of "cranks, haters and bigots."

And if those efforts have any meaning at all, Paul Broun has to be exactly the kind of candidate who's deemed wholly unacceptable by sane elements of the Republican Party.

So, will they? Shouldn't Broun be Exhibit A in the category of "unacceptable GOP candidates"?