via House Committee on Education & Labor

via House Committee on Education & Labor

Head Village elections pundit Charlie Cook decided, the day after Alan Grayson’s righteous truth-telling on the House floor, that the seat was now a toss-up, because Grayson committed the sin of saying something mean while being a Democrat, an unpardonable sin among the DC establishment. Despite the fact that Grayson had no real opponent at the time, Cook was just sure that Grayson had planted a big target on his back and would face a tough re-election.

Except, two weeks later, no elected Republican in the district wants to oppose him. First Orange Mayor Rich Crotty begged off. Then House Speaker Larry Cretul said no. And now former state Sen. Daniel Webster declined.

Webster, a Christian conservative who served nearly three decades in the Florida legislature and served as House Speaker, said in a statement that despite encouragement from supporters he was prompted to “follow a principle that has always served me well: ‘When in doubt, don’t.’”

“I do firmly believe that in every public office there needs to be a resurgence of the basic principles on which this Republic was founded, and a return to our original standards of integrity and character,” he said.

Yet ANOTHER potential candidate dropped out today, and look who we’re down to:

With the recent exit of former state Sen. Dan Webster, R-Winter Garden, from the roster of GOP hopefuls, that leaves a pair of Tea Party activists — Patricia Sullivan from Eustis and Dan Fanelli of Orlando — and recent Orlando resident Armando Gutierrez Jr., as likely Grayson foes, so far.

That crackerjack prognosticator Charlie Cook sure has his pulse on the American political scene, doesn’t he?

Grayson has a big war chest. But he also gained the kind of national following for fearlessness that voters actually respect – which so many Democrats shun out of fear. It turns out that speaking your mind with boldness makes political sense.

By the way, Andy Breitbart tried to put Grayson on his hit list yesterday – but even the DC-centric The Hill saw through it.

The undated clip picks up during the question-and-answer portion of the event. “I would like to know if [Rep. Grayson] is aware that it was Richard Lamm, Democratic Governor of Colorado in 1984, who said it’s your duty to die if you get sick,” states the questioner. “I think that’s a hypocritical statement of yours to tar other people with something that the Democrats said.” […] Grayson, however, doesn’t bite, and quickly dismisses the man. “You have mischaracterized what I said. You have mischaracterized what Gov. Lamm said. Our time is limited tonight, and I’m not going to debate politics, I’m going to debate healthcare, so we’re going to go on to the next question.” […]

Interestingly enough, Grayson might be correct. According to a New York Times correction from March 1984, Lamm’s line — that the elderly and terminally ill “have got a duty to die and get out of the way” — is itself a slight inaccuracy:

“In his letter last month, Mr. Lamm wrote that he never said “the elderly or the terminally ill have a duty to die,” and he added, “I was essentially raising a general statement about the human condition, not beating up on the elderly.”

Andy Breitbart hyping a factual error? Get out of town.

David Dayen

David Dayen