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Thune Endorses Mentally Unstable Texan for Georgia Senate Seat

Senator John Thune thinks Herschel Walker would make a good Senator… or at least a better one than Senator Raphael Warnock or any other Democrat:

“I am proud to endorse Herschel Walker for U.S. Senate in Georgia,” said Thune, the No. 2 Senate Republican leader. “Herschel Walker is a fighter, a uniter, and a proven winner with the ability to bring Republicans together to win in November.”

Thune is the fifth Republican senator to throw his support behind Walker and the first member of Senate GOP leadership to do so. Republican Sens. Josh Hawley (Mo.), Steve Daines (Mont.), Roger Marshall (Kan.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) have already endorsed Walker in the race to unseat Warnock.

Republican leaders in Washington were at first wary of the former NFL star’s Senate bid, given his lack of political experience and revelations of a turbulent past. But those concerns have largely subsided, and party leaders now see Walker as their best bet to defeat Warnock next year [Max Grenwood, “Thune Endorses Herschel Walker in Georgia Senate Race,” The Hill, 2021.10.25].

One might ask Thune which of Walker’s multiple personalities he thinks is qualified to serve as Senator:

For the first time, the 46-year-old former professional football player reveals in a book published this week, “Breaking Free,” that he has a rare and controversial mental illness called dissociative identity disorder — or D.I.D. — formerly known as multiple personality disorder.

…Walker’s therapist Jerry Mungadze, said he met Walker’s alternate personalities, or alters, in therapy. “They will come out and say, I am so-and-so. I’m here to tell you Herschel is not doing too good … When he finishes, it would just disappear back in him, and Herschel comes out” [Bob Woodruff, Jaime Hennessey, and James Hill, “Herschel Walker: ‘Tell the World My Story’,” ABC News, 2008.04.15].

Sure, we’re trying to remove the stigma from mental illness, but illness of any sort still puts rational limitations on what people can do. People with macular degeneration should not drive cars. People who’ve had a stroke and have lost control of their facial muscles can’t read the news on the radio.

So should people with separate and sometimes violent personalities accompanied with memory loss hold legislative positions that require public accountability?

…Walker’s diagnosis answered a lot of questions for Walker’s ex-wife Cindy Grossman, who was married to Walker for 16 years before she knew about the illness.

“Well, now it makes perfect sense, because each personality has a different interest. This one has an interest in ballet, this one has an interest in the Marines, this one had an interest [in the] FBI, this one had an interest in sports,” she said.

Grossman recognized different sides of her husband, even different voices. “It’s hard to explain, but even his physical countenance would change. … There was also a very sweet, lovable [personality]. That’s the one he told me I married. He told me I didn’t marry Herschel.”

But there were darker moments.

“We were talking and the next thing I knew,” Grossman remembered, “he just kind of raged and he got a gun and put it to my temple.'”

Walker’s ex-wife now believes one of his alternate personalities was in control at that moment. “There was somebody there that was evil.”

Walker says he does not remember the event, and many others, including — shockingly — the highlight of his collegiate football career, winning the Heisman Trophy in 1982.

Periods of memory loss are one of the symptoms of the disorder. “A lot of the things that happened there that she may remember, he doesn’t remember because those were the things that were being done by the alters that were so unlike him,” Mungadze explained.

…On another occasion, Walker threatened to kill his wife, his wife’s friend and his therapist in a therapy session.

Mungadze said he saw many alters on that day: a raging one, a protector, and finally a child when Walker hit a wall and broke his hand.

Walker does not deny the events, but says he has no memory of them. “No, I don’t remember that, but I probably did it” [Woodruff, Hennessey, and Hill, 2008.04.15].

Maybe Walker’s mental illness is why his campaign is keeping him in media safe spaces like Fox News and avoiding traditional face-to-face campaigning in Georgia. Or maybe Walker is having trouble getting out to see Georgia voters because all of Walker’s personalities have lived in Texas since 1986. But hey, as Walker said on Fox and Friends in August, residency is just another state of mind, right?

He has been living in the state of Texas for the last several years and only recently established residency back in Georgia.

“I think the people have made a mistake by saying I’m not a Georgian. I always talked about Georgia. I lived in Georgia. I don’t care what they say,” Walker said [Christine Sperow, “Herschel Walker First Interview: ‘I Have the Left and the Right Against Me’,” Fox 5 Atlanta, 2021.08.27].

Thune himself expressed skepticism about Walker’s capacity to serve as a Senator just three months ago:

As Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) put it: “He’s got the wow factor, the celebrity factor … But some of these issues he’s going to have to figure out how to answer.”

“As a candidate you have to be able to respond to hard questions. And your background becomes an issue, your experience becomes an issue,” Thune said. “Sometimes people who have success in one area of life and translate it to politics, it’s not as easy as it looks” [Marianne Levine and Burgess Everett, “GOP to Herschel Walker: Consider Staying on the Bench,” Politico, 2021.07.30].

Maybe Senator Thune could ascribe that sober assessment to one of his alters, a personality that recognized that you build a strong party by running candidates who can win elections and who can actually do the job for which they are elected. But since the ascension of figures like Walker’s pal Donald Trump and Thune’s pal Kristi Noem, Thune can’t let that personality out much. Once you start putting unskilled beauty queens and bankrupt reality-TV stars in charge of your party, you evidently get stuck nominating the least qualified people you can find.

Bad candidates make for bad government—and that’s evidently what Republicans like Thune want.

21 Comments

  1. larry kurtz 2021-10-27

    John Thune knew Donald Trump was a sleaze from his basketball buddy Jim Comey. That’s right: the vast white wing of the Republican Party was going to beat Hillary Clinton at any cost even if it meant colluding with a sworn enemy of the United States, destroying the presidency and taking down the republic. So Thune made Congress look the other way as Russia and Cambridge Analytica conspired with Facebook to hack the election.

    Today, Thune has flip-flopped yet again and moved even farther to the the extreme white wing of the Republican Party to save his seat in the Senate but when he’s reelected he’ll swing right back to the center because his broken state needs federal money to survive.

    https://www.keloland.com/news/local-news/thune-on-facebook-this-is-a-business-which-creates-addictions/

  2. Mark Anderson 2021-10-27

    Well it’s been awhile since McGovern picked a running mate, so things have changed. It’s usually the knees with those running backs. Too bad it’s his head, maybe this race will knock some sense into one of him.

  3. O 2021-10-27

    Larry, I don’t think any Republican can even see the center — much less move to it anymore. As you point out, hyper-partisan tribalism is the new politics, and the MAGA evolution of the Tea Party/Christian Right/ American Taliban keeps that tribe ever moving to the radical fringe. There is no coming back from that.

  4. mike from iowa 2021-10-27

    Marlboro Barbie is no better at picking candidates to endorse as he is picking his nose. He can at least eat what comes out of his nose.

    But, having said that, MB’s having 2 black friends does not free him from association with racist magats, which is nearly the entire magat fraternity.

  5. Loren 2021-10-27

    Of course Johnny supports Walker. Who knows more about “dissociative identity disorder” than Thune? He can’t figure out if he should worry about the national debt or not, support crotch grabbing or not, support felons or not (individual #1), support the U.S. intel agencies or Russia’s, support judicial nominations before an election or not… SD’s own chameleon wants company in the senate, I guess! What an absolute pretty boy with no core value system, only the identity assigned by the party! !@#$%^&

  6. Donald Pay 2021-10-27

    Thune reminds me of the conservatives in the Weimar Republic before Hitler took power. The linked article was written in 2016, but sums up what I learned in a class I took on fascism. Weak conservative leaders ushered the Nazis into power. Weak conservatives Thune, McConnell and the rest of the conservative establishment have made their bargain with authoritarianism, and now they are stuck with it. They both follow the Dear Leader, no matter what he says or does.

    https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2016/07/donald-trump-and-hitlers-rise-to-power.html

  7. Loren 2021-10-27

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but Herschel would only get one vote, if elected, and not one for each personality? Of course, McConnell could change the senate rules if he were to be majority leader and SD’s little Johnny would follow right along!

  8. Porter Lansing 2021-10-27

    Imagine if Senator Thune had to come up with new ideas that help South Dakota stop the insidious “brain drain” and mitigate your crippling lack of creative achievement, in order to get re-elected.

  9. ArloBlundt 2021-10-27

    Well..I saw Hershel on the podcast with Governor Noem when the topic was sexual identity of athletes competing in South Dakota. Hershel was pretty sad, he didn’t really have much to say about the topic and it was obvious that Lewandowski or someone had arranged for him to be on the remote broadcast and that he was totally unprepared. Governor Noem gave him three or four stumbling, nearly incoherent minutes, and then cut him off. I don’t know about multiple personalities. I came away thinking he had suffered on going neurological damage from concussions.

  10. Porter Lansing 2021-10-27

    @ Arlo …

    The late Mrs. Lansing worked, at one time, for a celebrity photog whose client was Muhammad Ali, at the end of his boxing career.

    I see the same things in Herschel Walker I saw in The Greatest, at that time.

  11. Mark Anderson 2021-10-27

    He could star as the boyfriend of Crazy Jane on Doom Patrol.

  12. mike from iowa 2021-10-27

    Dems have filed ethics complaints against Walker for some political advertising done for him by Marjorie Taylor Giganti-cuss Green. Cheating is inbred in inbred magats.

  13. mike from iowa 2021-10-27

    Good link, Anne. Thanks for the laughs.

  14. Mark Winegar 2021-10-27

    One wonders how sane Senator Thune can be when he makes such poor decisions.

  15. Loren 2021-10-27

    Thune doesn’t have to be sane, just obedient! Daddy Mitch says to back Walker and Big John is right over his shoulder.

  16. ds 2021-10-27

    “People with macular degeneration should not drive cars”…
    Actually many of us with visual AMD are driving legally. Limited vision is NOT exclusively oldsters, there are young drivers with marginal vision also. Add the distractions of cell phones and other devices, loud music, dog-in-lap, child having tantrum, day dreaming and sleep deprivation and anyone driving a vehicle may be marginal or under the influence.
    Drive defensively. Keep your eyes and mind on the road in front and both sides of you. When you come to a stop sign LOOK, LOOK and LOOK AGAIN before proceeding. I taught this to several teenagers and girlfriends and wives when teaching them how to drive. My dad taught it to me.
    TURN YOUR headlights on day or night. Why is that an affront to your freedom??? I have trouble seeing a grey car against a grey highway, Dusk, dawn, overcast and Inclement weather when 97% of drivers have their headlights on but 3 simpletons do not….A recent death here near Rapid City of a couple in their early 30’s and life-threatening injuries to their 5 year old child… neither driver was looking out for the other guy.

  17. Joe 2021-10-28

    Dr. Heather Cox-Richardson discussed Herschel in last night’s “Letters From an American” (which you should be reading, either on Substack or her Facebook page).

    “Another indication of desperation today came from Georgia, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell endorsed Herschel Walker for the Republican nomination for the Senate. Although he brings to the table name recognition as a famous football player, Walker is a deeply problematic candidate. First of all, it is not even clear he can run in Georgia since he lives in Texas—he switched his voting registration to an Atlanta home owned by his wife in August. Walker has a history of domestic violence and questionable business dealings. Walker’s ex-wife said he pointed a gun at her and said: “I’m going to blow your f—ing brains out.” Walker’s ex-girlfriend told police he made a similar threat to her.

    But Walker has said the 2020 election in Georgia was fraudulent, and Trump strongly endorsed him.

    McConnell opposed Walker’s candidacy this summer and, just a week ago, suggested to CNN that the former president should stay out of the midterms. But on Monday, Senator John Thune (R-SD), the second-ranking Republican senator, endorsed Walker. Today Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), the Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference—the third-ranking Republican senator—endorsed him, too. And so did McConnell, bowing to the recognition that the Republicans need Trump’s voters to win so badly that they must let Trump call the shots.

    “I am happy to endorse Herschel Walker for U.S. Senate in Georgia,” McConnell said. “Herschel is the only one who can unite the party, defeat Senator [Raphael] Warnock, and help us take back the Senate.” Conservative editor Bill Kristol noted on Twitter that McConnell said nothing about Walker being qualified for the position.”

  18. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-10-28

    DS, I’m glad your visual AMD is mild enough that your vision hasn’t deteriorated below the legal limit. I wonder what the practical limit should be for mental illness in an elected official making important policy decisions.

  19. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-10-28

    Arlo, I’d like to think that Walker’s inability to speak coherently would manifest itself and prompt voters to solve the problem themselves by voting for someone else. But as we saw with Trump, we cannot expect rational behavior from an electorate with strong fascist tendencies.

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