Janesville Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan on Monday, May 9, 2016 by Mike De Sisti . Undated handout photo of Paul Nehlen.

From the Clowncar to the Profane: Ryan’s Challenger Goes Gutter

Most people challenge incumbents because of a disagreement in policy, or they doubt their integrity. But, one opponent is showing their campaign may not be all that serious, and could be more about getting attention than changing things. This year, it appears to be recent Wisconsin activist, Paul Nehlen. RightWisconsin, a popular regional journalistic site said it best: “It’s tempting to think of Paul Nehlen as a bad joke.”

Nehlen, a businessman and a-bunch-of-other-things-no-one-can-establish is running against sitting Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, who is also serving as Speaker of the House. Nehlen ran an unsuccessful primary campaign against Ryan two years ago, losing by nearly 70% in a multi-million dollar challenge that briefly claimed the support of then-candidate Donald Trump. His campaign was backed by “scam PAC” aficionado Dan Backer. Before then, no one in the 1st district had ever heard of this Nehlen guy, or vouch for who he was.

After his big loss, he submitted his name for Speaker of the House (being a congressman is not a constitutional requirement).

For the record, he didn’t get any votes.

In the days following the election, he got himself entangled in a two-month police investigation by tweeting his marked ballot voting for himself (such ballot selfies are illegal in Wisconsin to avoid vote-selling), and eliminated the evidence before cooperating with local police.

While he’s claimed to be more conservative than Speaker Ryan, Nehlen has staked out a decidedly populist stance on most issues, and makes his support of President Trump a centerpiece of his effort. But, he may be showing more than just support for his favorite personality, and trying to sound like him as well.

No stranger to the profane, President Trump became known to his base as a man who “tells it like it is,” which usually included misogynistic insults, swearing, f-bombs, multiple threats, conspiratorial slander, childish rants against the media – pretty much any critic. Nehlen thinks it worked well for him, or perhaps in spite of him. So, Nehlen has decided to add this feature to his own campaign. He’s just a real hoot.

This week, he referred to the 800,000 DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) applicants as “mo-fos,” and fashioned his insult into a patriotic sing-song.

“Mo-fo” is shorthand for mother****er, for those who stick to PG movies.

This was not a retweet, a midnight “like” due to a staffer… they were his words.

His Twitter feed usually centers around the single issue of immigration (he’s a nationalist), endorsements for conspiracy theories like Pizzagate (no, really), and links to fake news websites and conservative tabloids even Breitbart won’t entertain. But, Twitter is not his only domain, as he has shown a propensity for immature spittle on Facebook as well, referring to the Speaker consistently as “Pablo Ryan,” and calling other political leaders degrading names.

As RightWisconsin observed, Nehlen may think his antics are funny, but there’s nothing humorous in using obscenities in public, and making racist appeals for votes.

I agree. I look forward to voting for my congressman, again, and sending this clown back to wherever he came from before 2015.

If someone wishes to primary incumbents, that’s their right and privilege in this great country. But, making a mockery of the system is a shameful act of self-aggrandizement none of us should entertain.


This column is the expressed opinion of the contributor, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion or endorsement of the editor or The Resurgent.


About the author

Ed Willing

View all posts