Extreme is routine for Neumann

Cory Liebmann

Wisconsin Republicans have been on a fast track to the right-wing fringe for a number of years, but recently that process has accelerated.

In 2010, they nominated a candidate for lieutenant governor who compared LGBT relationships to people marrying their furniture or the family dog.

In the recall elections this summer, they ran a candidate who referred to her political opponents as “the enemy” and suggested that they were more dangerous than the terrorists who attacked our country on Sept. 11, 2001.

The Wisconsin Republicans also have pumped money into some extremely radical organizations in recent months.

Now it appears that we will have no shortage of extremist Republicans running for retiring U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl’s seat. Former congressman and repeatedly failed statewide candidate Mark Neumann has announced that he’ll seek the Republican nomination.

Neumann has a long history of extremism.

And, in 1996, he said, “If I were elected God for a day, homosexuality wouldn’t be permitted.” He has also suggested in the past that he wouldn’t hire an openly gay staffer.

In the late 1990s, speaking to the gay-obsessed Christian Coalition, he declared that “the gay and lesbian lifestyle (is) unacceptable, lest there be any question about that.” Apparently Neumann is under the false notion that someone elected him to be pope.

When Neumann ran for governor in 2010, his first endorsement from a public official came from U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. At the time, Neumann’s campaign said that he and Colburn were ideologically like two peas in a pod. That is frightening when you listen to some of Colburn’s bigoted and paranoid comments about the LGBT community.

Coburn has declared, “The gay community has infiltrated the very centers of power in every area across the country and they wield extreme power.”

Colburn also has said that gay people in America represented a greater threat to our country than terrorism. It’s alarming that Neumann would declare himself to be so closely aligned with such a character.

In 2007, Neumann gave a very telling interview to a religious podcast. In it, he seemed to suggest that he is willing to use elected office to help advance his own particular brand of religion and what he personally perceives as “moral.”

The more you listen to him on such issues, the more that he seems to believe that God is both a conservative Republican and that he is a member of Neumann’s various failed campaigns.

The bottom line is not really about Neumann’s extreme personal beliefs, but his willingness to apparently enlist the power of the government to help enforce them.

Neumann is the only Republican candidate for U.S. Senate to formally announce at this point. That certainly doesn’t mean that he will score his party’s nomination. Some Scott Walker fans remain bitter that Neumann dared to run against Walker for governor last year.

So Wisconsin voters will have to take a wait-and-see approach to find out exactly how this works itself out.

But two things we already do know for certain: Republicans will pick an extremist, and Neumann certainly fits that description.