Alan Jilka, perhaps the most irrelevant Democratic candidate in any race for Congress, recently debated Republican Tim Huelskamp at Emporia State University. (Video available at http://kansas.watchdog.org/5300/kansas-1st-district-candidates-debate-in-emporia/.)
This, in and of itself, is ironic, since Jilka spent half the debate whining about why Huelskamp declined to participate in a debate in every single town across the First District. The other half of the debate, Jilka spent doing one of two things: 1) slobbering all over the policies of Nancy Pelosi or 2) calling Huelskamp "extreme" and "radical" for rejecting Pelosi's policies.
It is on that second point that voters should dwell for a moment.
Jilka has, at every possible point, said that Huelskamp is extreme and radical. He can't seem to name any policies that make Huelskamp radical, but he certainly likes to say so. Instead, as evidence, he cites the fact that Huelskamp has been endorsed by fiscally conservative groups like The Club for Growth, and surprisingly, the Kansas Farm Bureau.
Jilka even blasted the Farm Bureau after their endorsement of Huelskamp, saying that they had "sold out farmers." You know, when running for Congress in rural Kansas, trashing the Farm Bureau may not constitute the best path to victory, especially when you're not even polling above the low to mid 20's.
In recent days, Huelskamp has been backed by other groups that Jilka probably also considers extreme, such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Everyone knows that these groups are about as mainstream as they get. In fact, the U.S. Chamber endorsed 265 candidates in 2008. Of those, 213 won election. So much for playing on the fringe, huh?
Meanwhile, Jilka lists not a single endorsement on his webpage. One would think that a Democratic candidate worth his salt could get the endorsement of at least some leftist labor unions or wacko environmental groups like the Sierra Club. After all, his campaign strategist is the Legislative Director for the Kansas Sierra Club!
So since Jilka has no support to speak of, the only thing he seems capable of doing is trying to drag good folks like the Farm Bureau through the mud.
That's a shame. Jilka could have just lost by 35-40 points and keep his dignity. Now that scenario looks less and less likely each day.