1. Representative Katherine Harris (R-FL) If dumb Congress members were the X-Men, Harris would be their Wolverine—a mutant possessing fearsome skills, the product of a demented government experiment gone horribly wrong. Back in 2000, the then-Florida secretary of state thrust herself into the national spotlight by peremptorily calling the state for George W. Bush. Of course, the longtime crony of Bush’s brother Jeb was also Florida’s GOP campaign chair. Two years later, after she won her seat in the House, Harris wasted no time becoming a by-the-numbers culture warrior. But she really hit her stride on the campaign trail. Running for re-election in 2004, she told voters in Venice, Florida, that a “Middle Eastern” man had been arrested for trying to blow up the power grid of Carmel, Indiana. Neither the mayor of Carmel nor the governor of Indiana—nor anyone else acquainted with reality—had any idea what Harris was talking about.
Florida Republicans responded with sound skepticism when Harris put herself forward to face off against Democratic Senate incumbent Bill Nelson in 2006. But Harris was undaunted, allegedly telling campaign consultant Ed Rollins that God had asked her to run for Senate.
Nevertheless, the Supreme Being seems to have other plans for Florida Republicans—and especially for Harris’s campaign team. Team Harris has hemorrhaged more than 25 senior staff and consultants, Rollins among them, over the past year. They rush for the exits every time there’s a fresh report on Harris’s shady dealing: her $2,800 dinner with MZM defense contractor (and Duke Cunningham’s lubricator in chief) Mitchell Wade, who reportedly vowed to kick in $200,000 for a Harris fundraiser; her withdrawal of $100,000 from her campaign coffers to pay for repairs to her house; news that the FBI is collecting her campaign e-mails for review; and her decision to conceal from her lead staffer a federal subpoena concerning the abuses.
Need more? There was the surreal appearance on Hannity & Colmes during which Harris stood in profile for the entirety of her softball interview, seemingly intending to showcase her pronounced dé colletage to Fox News viewers. There was Harris’s whisper campaign after the increasingly desperate state GOP reportedly approached former congressman and cable-host Joe Scarborough to run against her. Mainly, though, there’s her Stalin-esque management style, which includes attacking staffers for such trespasses as procuring the wrong kind of candy, or for screwing up her Starbuck’s order (extra-hot low-foam nonfat venti triple lattes with one packet of Sweet-n-Low). It’s the sort of unhinged megalomania that makes us giddy. At one point, Harris’s battered staffers tested her by submitting a two-month old speech she had written herself: She pronounced it “terrible.” Unfortunately, early polls suggest our No. 1 pick won’t be around to entertain us much longer. Enjoy her while you can.
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