Fringe GOP candidate spends Hitler's birthday with neo-Nazis
An outlandish long-shot seeking the Republican nomination for an Indiana congressional seat spent Sunday at a neo-Nazi gathering celebrating the birth of Adolf Hitler.
Tony Zirkle is running for the 2nd District GOP nomination, but he has no support from local party officials, and the front-running candidate there refused to even participate in a recent debate with Zirkle, for fear of legitimizing his candidacy.
Zirkle said he would speak to any group that invites him, and that he admired the American National Socialist Workers Party's concern about "prostitution of young white women," according to WSBT-TV. Overthrow.com, a Web site associated with the "white advocacy" organization, reported that Zirkle "spoke on his history as a state’s attorney in Indiana, prosecuting Jewish and Zionist criminal gangs involved in trafficking prostitutes and pornography from Russia and the Zionist entity."
The comments were forcefully denounced by other local Republicans, the station reports.
"I cannot believe that in 2008 anyone could think so backwards," Luke Puckett, another GOP candidate for 2nd District congressman, said in reaction to Zirkle’s comment.
“The ‘R’ next to Tony Zirkle’s name does not stand for Republican. It stands for ‘repulsive,'" Chris Riley, chairman of the St. Joseph County Republican Party, told WSBT-TV. "The Republican Party stands for two basic principles: individual freedom and government accountability. Nazi socialism and fascism is the polar opposite of those two principles so for him to align himself with this puts him at the opposite end of the political spectrum from Republicans. And the visual images of Tony Zirkle standing in front of a Nazi flag are nauseating and repulsive."
A look at Zirkle's Web site suggests his common ground with the neo-Nazis extends even further. He cites Hitler in his section on the War on Terror, and has expressed anti-Semitic views elsewhere.
Zirkle's outlandish views have made him a frequent target of political satire blog Wonkette. And he's swiftly dismissed as a "fringe lunatic" by fellow Republicans.
Previously, Zirkle has questioned whether racial integration was a good idea, and he's proposed sending sex offenders to the guillotine.
The suggestion that pornography "pimps" be subjected to the guillotine came during a 2006 campaign against then-incumbent Chris Chocola. He garnered 30 percent of the vote in that primary. Chocola decided not to run again after losing to Democrat Joe Donnelly.
Zirkle's message doesn't seem to be eliciting much beyond mockery so far this year. Only six people showed up for a recent debate featuring Zirkle, which Puckett skipped. At a discussion board on his campaign Web site, Zirkle is virtually the only author. Less than half of the 11 posts (all started by Zirle) generated any respone, and only one other person posted anything at all.