Alabama Congressional Candidate Dean Young Couldn't Identify Top Government Officials

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A central tenet of the first season of HBO’s drama The Newsroom was that Will McAvoy—the central character of the show played by Jeff Daniels—was a moderate Republican who used his platform as a news anchor to take the Tea Party to task calling them “The American Taliban.*” In the 2012 election, many US voters seemed to agree with the fictional news anchor and rejected many fringe-right Tea Party candidates that would have been shoe-ins during the 2010 midterms.

Now, the GOP is quietly at war with itself. Some say it is moderates versus the Tea Party, but that’s not entirely the case. Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey was supported by Tea Party organizations throughout the commonwealth, yet he’s reached across the aisle both on the government shutdown and gun control laws. Instead, the battle is between the Republicans who want to do the business of governance and those who wish to watch the federal government burn, while they play the fiddle.

Once such candidate is Dean Young, who is running against Bradley Byrne in the Republican primary for Alabama’s first congressional district. The district is staunchly Republican, so whomever wins that contest is all but certainly going to be elected to Congress. Both candidates answered a series of questions from The Guardian, which clearly indicate that Young is woefully ill-informed about both America and the world-at-large.

When asked which country the candidates admire, Young replied, “I’m not a big world traveler, so I don’t know.” This answer indicates not only that Young doesn’t think other countries are worth learning about, but also that he would only be able to answer the question if he saw the country in person, as opposed to simply reading about it. Another check in the “doesn’t read much” column was Young’s inability to correctly identify either the current Treasury Secretary or current Republican Majority Whip. He also identified as his political hero Judge Roy Moore, currently the Chief Justice of the Alabama State Supreme Court.

Recent polls show that Young has a slight edge over Byrne, although it was within the poll’s margin of error.


*While the series is written by admitted-lefty Aaron Sorkin, the statement was designed to be offensive, in order to gin up controversy for the character that played out through the rest of the season. I am not suggesting that this is an "accurate" statement, but merely showing how it reflects the brutal tone of the real-world version of this political fight.