Blown away

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Hey, we just got back from our annual two week working vacation in Rome. (We’re finishing up a series of watercolors featuring semi-nude members of the Italian parliament.) Anything exciting happen while we were gone?
Appetite for self-destruction? RedState.com cofounder Erick Erickson suggested that a recent speech by Tea Party favorite Jamie Radtke (pictured) meant “game over” for George Allen’s conservative challenger.

We’re kidding you, of course. Even if we were trapped with Dick Cheney at his undisclosed location, it would have been hard to miss the series of natural disasters that befell Virginia over the past fortnight. But in the midst of the earthquakes and rain and gale-force winds, the inexorable tide of politics flowed relentlessly on. And so, if you were too busy pumping water out of your crack-filled basement to pay attention, here’s a smattering of recent events:

Primary season is toast

Yes, believe it or not, something other than a 5.8-magnitude earthquake hit Virginia on Tuesday, August 23. Namely, democracy. And, while the typically low-turnout elections were disrupted even further by the extreme seismic activity (which forced some polling stations to relocate outside), the voting went off mostly without a hitch. Although there weren’t many surprises, a handful of party primaries did provide some drama. A pair of races that were supposed to be close, in Districts 31 and 36, turned out to be blowouts for Democrat Barbara Favola and Republican Jeff Frederick, respectively, who beat the pants off of their insurgent challengers. On the other side of the coin, far-right Republican Dick Black and openly gay Democrat Adam Ebbin managed to squeak out come-from-behind victories in their respective districts (13 and 30, for those playing along at home). Now, enough with the preseason—on to the big show!

The knives come out for Jamie Radtke 

For someone who was supposed to be the conservative alternative to Republican George Allen in Virginia’s U.S. Senate race, Tea Party favorite Radtke sure isn’t faring well in either the polls or certain parts of the conservative blogosphere. Following a reportedly rambling speech at a convention hosted by RedState.com, RedState’s cofounder Erick Erickson went off on Radtke, calling her speech an “act of self destruction,” posting reviews that hypothesized that she was drunk, and concluding, “Game over as far as I’m concerned.” Ouch.

Eric Cantor is still a jerk 

Quite honestly, we’re more than tired of writing about Representative Cantor, and fervently wish that he would take just one week off from inserting his perfectly manicured head into every available camera frame in Washington. But it behooves us to note that Cantor’s recent (and repeated) insistence that any Federal disaster aid be paid for by cutting (already historically low) discretionary spending—even as a hurricane was ravaging his own district—represented a spectacular new low, even for him.

The Great Dismal Swamp is still on fire 

O.K., this has little or nothing to do with politics, but we cannot resist reporting that there is apparently a place in Virginia called the Great Dismal Swamp, which has been on fire for quite some time. And as of this writing it continues to smolder, despite being inundated with rain by Hurricane Irene. So, let’s see: earthquake, hurricane, and swamp fire—anyone want to take bets on when the plague of locusts will arrive?

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