Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Jon Caldara, Tom Tancredo, Andrew Breitbart & Independence Institute demonic convergence

Jon Caldara's Channel 12 show is now called Devil's Advocate, and plenty of politicians are dancing with the devil. Not only did Caldara get his job as head of the Independence Institute after Tom Tancredo moved on to Congress, but Tancredo was at the Institute's annual ATF party ten days ago, as was Ken Buck, who stepped in it with his "high heels" comment.

One of last year's speakers? Andrew Breitbart, the blogger behind the edited video clip of Shirley Sherrod.

"Don't you understand that all these things come back to one source, and that's the Independence Institute?" Caldara asked when I called yesterday to query him about the people who make news at the ATF party -- or after it, in the case of Breitbart.

Earlier this month, Breitbart released an edited video clip of Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod addressing a local NAACP meeting, and sounding like she was denying a white farmer aid. Within a day of the video going viral, Sherrod had been fired -- and then, a day after that, when a release of the entire video showed that her speech was actually one of coming together, Tom Vilsack, the agriculture secretary, apologized and offered her another job.

Despite the prank, Breitbart isn't lacking for offers, either: He's been invited to a private GOP fundraiser with Republican Party chairman Michael Steele in Beverly Hills next month.

"it's the chaos theory of the Independence Institute," Caldara says of his demonic convergence of controversial speakers.

Here's further proof: On July 17, Caldara had run back to his car to get some illegal firecrackers -- after all, the former ATF is now the ATFE, so he needed "explosives" -- and thrown the mike to Buck. Who, after making a joke about how slowly Caldara runs, told a voter one reason to vote for him for U.S. Senate, rather than Jane Norton, was, "I don't wear high heels." In the clip of that quip that went viral, the Independence Institute logo is clearly visible.

Caldara may not run fast, but Tancredo can, as he showed when he entered the gubernatorial race yesterday, taking on the entire Republican power structure by going with the American Constitution Party. And in the process, he offered further support of Caldara's axiom number one: "There is nothing Republicans can't fuck up."

Or, as Caldara had said toward the close of this year's ATF and now E party, "At the end of this, everyone who's a registered Republican should come up front so that we can get in a circle and shoot each other."

Looks like they did.