The march of the zombie candidates

Zombies take perfectly good people and turn them into zombies. It's time for the GOP to cull its herd of zombie candidates before they don't have anyone left alive. Photo: Conor Keller (Flickr)

NATCHITOCHES, La., October 31, 2011—Michele Bachmann just came to my front door. I’m pretty sure it was Bachmann. She was sort of green, groaning, and losing bits of herself as she walked down my driveway.

I didn’t open the door. I asked my wife to fetch my constitutionally protected firearm. “Kill the brain, kill the zombie.” By that time Bachmann had wandered off in search of a friendlier reception, but I saw Newt Gingrich stumbling behind Rick Santorum in the neighbors’ back yard, so I’m turning off the lights, hiding the kids in a closet and keeping the gun close at hand.

The problem with zombies is that they make more zombies. They’re all unsatisfied hunger; they eat without being nourished. Feed a man a steak and he can do some useful work for you. Feed a zombie your neighbor and you get two zombies. They steal the life from the living to accomplish nothing but make more zombies.

The life blood of politics is money, the food is media attention. Zombie candidates soak up money and attention and don’t come back to life. They just drain the life-force - the money and attention - from real candidates until they become undead. That’s all zombie candidates care about. They know they can’t come back to life, but they’re all unsatisfied appetite. They eat and do no good and make more zombie candidates.

It’s time for the GOP to start culling the zombie herd. The Tea Party has reportedly asked Ms Bachmann to depart the game, but you can’t ask zombies anything. Kill the brain, kill the zombie. She has to be cut off, thrown from the stage, deprived of attention until she wanders off into the woods to die. Or un-die. Or become a commentator on Fox News.

Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman are zombies. So’s the guy from New Mexico (quick, what’s his name?!). Rick Perry? Zombie. Mitt Romney is amazingly life-like, but also unconvincing. He’s like a CGI movie character who’s both realistic and unrealistic enough to be scary, like the characters in Polar Express. But he has a chance at life. Think of him as the Pinocchio candidate. Ron Paul is very much alive, though sadly followed by hordes of zombies whose goal is to devour anyone who isn’t Paul. Cain is about to show us that he has what it takes to stay alive, or become a zombie, or die the death of a thousand knee-bites.

The remaining debates would be much better if we had just the living candidates in attendance. It would be fascinating to see Romney and Paul go head to head, and probably quite instructive. But they’ll be busy fighting off zombies, and the whole field could be undead by the time the primaries are in full swing. As unpopular and underperforming as he is, President Obama can beat a zombie candidate. He has a shockingly decent chance of beating a live one, but at least that would be an interesting race.

I’ve watched the GOP candidates drain life from each other without doing themselves much good. I’ve seen the movies. I have a good idea where this is going. If one candidate is left alive, he’ll foolishly bring a zombie candidate on as his running mate thinking that the poor undead fellow is still alive, and then he’ll be bitten and turned.

I think I want to change the channel to something cheerful, like Titanic.

James Picht is the Senior Editor for Communities Politics and teaches economics at the Louisiana Scholars’ College in Natchitoches, La., where he went to take a break from working in Moscow and Washington. But he fell in love with the town and with the French professor, so there he stayed. Now he teaches, annoys his children, and makes jalapeno lemonade. He doesn’t get the zombie craze. He tweets, hangs out on Facebook, and has a blog he totally neglects at

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Jim Picht

James Picht is the Senior Editor for Communities Politics and teaches economics and Russian at the Louisiana Scholars' College in Natchitoches, La. After earning his doctorate in economics, he spent several years working in Moscow and the new independent states of the former Soviet Union for the U.S. government, the Asian Development Bank, and as a private contractor. He returned to Ukraine recently to teach principles of constitutional law and criminal procedure at several Ukrainian law schools for a USAID legal development project. He has been writing at the Communities since 2009.

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