Catapulted to national notoriety after getting thoroughly lampooned on The Colbert Report, perennial Tennessee Republican candidate Basil Marceaux has brought his fight to abolish gold-fringed flags, slavery at traffic stops and other nefarious tools of big government to the race for the Tennessee State House. Sadly, he's hit a road bump:
Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern on Monday morning sentenced him to serve 10 days in jail for contempt of court.
She did so after the Soddy Daisy resident first told her, "You're out of order."
Then, as he was leaving the podium, he said, "I run for everything. And when I get elected, you're going down."
The judge then told bailiffs to take him into custody.
He was before the judge on an appeal from City Court of a traffic violation conviction.
He maintains that Criminal Court judges do not have jurisdiction to hear City Court appeals - only Circuit Court judges.
Judge Stern said she is a Circuit Court judge as well.
She said, "Mr. Marceaux, if you were an attorney, you would know that." He is representing himself in the case.
Marceaux is one of those colorful characters I imagine every state has: folks who are always running for office out of some need for attention or who knows what else. Tennessee has an awful lot of these guys, though. My favorite was Byron Low Tax Looper -- yes, that was his legal name, he had his middle name changed from Anthony to Low Tax cuz we take this shit seriously, people! -- who eventually was elected Putnam County Tax Assessor before going down in massive flames of fraud and incompetence. That didn't stop him from running for state senate though!
Where is he now? Currently serving a life sentence for murdering his opponent in that race, State Senator Tommy Burks. Looper continued to campaign from jail and nearly won, thanks to a technicality preventing a dead person's name from appearing on the ballot.
I like to remember people like Byron Low Tax Looper and Basil Marceaux as I ponder today's crazy politics. These aren't crackpots from 150 years ago, these are politicians of our modern information age, when we're all supposed to be so damn smart because we read it on the internet. Criminals and crazies abound in American life. Sooner or later one gets elected dog catcher and before you know it, they've gotten a taste of it and a political career is born. It really makes me wonder, hearing what that comes from the mouths of folks like Michele Bachmann, Joe Barton and Louis Gohmert, if they didn't start out as their state's Basil Marceaux. Knowing the Tennessee General Assembly actually took a stand on tinfoil hat crap like Agenda 21 and Obama's birth certificate, it's obvious that crazy is the new normal.
Whatever happened to the Age of Reason?