Pundits, academics, and Republican activists in Georgia want to make this perfectly clear: Paul Broun is an accidental congressman.”I was flabbergasted when he won the election,” admits Jim Box, one of many eminences in the Georgia Republican Party who declined to endorse the 61-year-old house call doctor before his upset victory in a special election last July.
Box runs the GOP in Clarke County, which surrounds Athens and includes the University of Georgia; it’s the area that gave Broun his winning majority. “All the long-term historical indicators,” says Merle Black, “indicate that Broun should have lost.” Black, an Emory University political scientist with a peerless knowledge of Southern politics, bets that Broun will serve one term and lose the next Republican primary. Box agrees.
It’s easy to see why they’re skeptical. Broun, a self-described “strict constitutionalist,” believes that the income tax should be abolished, that civil liberties degraded since 9/11 should be restored, and that fetuses deserve American citizenship. He has been married four times; opponents grumble that he performs house calls because hospitals won’t hire him. This isn’t the usual background of somebody who gets elected in Georgia……….