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Tea Party Rep Shows How Bill Maher's 'Flip A District' Could Backfire

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AP Photo / Janet Van Ham

“It's said that you can tell a lot about someone by who opposes them,” Farenthold said in a statement provided to Breitbart. “In the case of liberal pundit Bill Maher--a man who called America's actions cowardly in the wake of 9/11 and who mocked WWII veterans who wanted to visit the monument built in their honor--I wear his disapproval of me as a badge of honor.”

Maher's "Flip a District" campaign was always going to be a long-shot, and Farenthold isn't exactly vulnerable. The two-term congressman won handily in 2012. The same year, Romney carried Farenthold's 27th District with 61 percent of the vote.

But Farenthold's response was nonetheless telling, and actually pretty savvy. Few things galvanize conservatives more than the "liberal media" or "Hollywood elites" cornering one of their own.

Newt Gingrich's 2012 presidential campaign was temporarily revived after he told off CNN's John King during a debate. The South Carolina crowd roared with approval, and Gingrich went on to win the state's primary (a big donation from billionaire casion owner Sheldon Adelson didn't hurt either).

Similarly, the most raucous moment at the 2004 Republican National Convention came when John McCain called Michael Moore a "disingenuous filmmaker." McCain reveled in the crowd's response so much that he repeated the line.

Conservatives eat that stuff up, and it's easy to envision other Republicans targeted by Maher taking a cue from Farenthold.

At any rate, Maher might find it easier to mount a challenge to Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY), the other lawmaker nominated thus far for the "Flip a District" campaign.

Grimm had a competitive re-election bid in 2012 and has been plagued by negative headlines ever since.

For one, Grimm has been at the center of an ongoing federal campaign finance investigation. And then there was the incident in January when he threatened to toss a reporter off a balcony, footage with which Grimm's challenger — and Maher — could have a field day.

This post has been updated.