September 11, 2007

"Fancy Fred, Five O'clock Fred, Flip-Flop Fred, McCain Fred, Moron Fred, Playboy Fred, Pro-Choice Fred, Son-of-a-Fred and Trial Lawyer Fred."

Just a little website japery, but -- oh, no! -- it's traceable to a Mitt Romney adviser!
Nowhere on the [Phoney Fred] site was any indication of who was responsible for it. But a series of inquiries led to "Under the Power Lines," the Web site of the political consulting firm of J. Warren Tompkins, Romney's lead consultant in South Carolina. Tompkins did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Late yesterday afternoon, a spokesman for Thompson called on Romney to fire Tompkins.

"There is no room in our party for this kind of smut. As the top executive of his own campaign, Governor Romney should take full responsibility for this type of high-tech gutter politics and issue an immediate apology," said spokesman Todd Harris. "If this is true, Governor Romney should exercise some of his much-touted executive acumen and immediately terminate anyone related to this outrage."
Smut? I guess Thompson really is more conservative than Romney. The Thompson folk think mockery and satire is smut? But it is undignified... and thus better left to independent blogger types.
In 2000, it was in South Carolina that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) ran into an organized effort to sully his character and spread rumors, including that he had once fathered an illegitimate black child. At the time, candidate George W. Bush was desperate to stop a surging McCain, who was coming off a stunning upset in the New Hampshire primary. Tompkins was the chief strategist for Bush in South Carolina at the time, though Bush campaign officials have always denied that the campaign was responsible for the attacks.
Imagine if that 2000 crap had been done on the internet and left a trail back to Bush. It would -- I think -- have ruined Bush.

But I don't think it's right to compare Phoney Fred to the scurrilous campaign against McCain unless you can point to some lies.
Before it vanished, the front page of the Web site featured a picture of Thompson depicted in a frilly outfit more befitting a Gilbert and Sullivan production than a presidential candidate.

Under the heading "Playboy Fred," the site asked the provocative question: "Once a Pro-Choice Skirt Chaser, Now Standard Bearer of the Religious Right?"
That's just humor, fact, and opinion, isn't it? "Skirt Chaser" isn't a lie. The man was once single and interested in dating women. So what? It's not the same as what was said about McCain, which was: 1. a lie and 2. intended to stir up racism. Calling Thompson a "skirt chaser" is supposed to make him look less conservative than Romney, who married his high-school sweetheart and has never divorced, and the hope is that Romney's strong family image will help him with some voters. But hoping to appeal to voters who care about families is scarcely the same as trying to leverage racism.

A side note on spelling:
Phony is the usual American spelling (the plural is phonies), phoney a fading variant (and the usual British spelling).
I don't think the Phoney Fred folks chose the fading, British spelling to convey some meaning about Fred Thompson. I think they just weren't up on good spelling and the "-ney" ending looked right because they'd been staring at their candidate's name so long.

21 comments:

The Drill SGT said...

smut it isn't. trash talk, or garbage perhaps.

while it is legitimate mockery, I don't have to like it and folks that do it should pay a price in the court of public opinion.

peter hoh said...

To hell with everyone who participated in that 2000 smear campaign against McCain. And to hell with everyone who chnaged their votes because of it.

MadisonMan said...

What kind of moron thinks anonymity is possible on the internet? And he's advising Romney? Romney should dump him.

That said, this is just schoolyard mocking. I'm surprised he didn't call Thompson Boogerbrains.

SteveR said...

That's quite a furore over a bad sense of humour.

AllenS said...

Colour me unimpressed.

Sloanasaurus said...

It's really hurtful to be called "Fancy Fred."

Why is the operative word in DC always to "resign." Instead they should require people to sing and dance in public as punishment. Dueling would be okay too.

hdhouse said...

Isn't it wonderful that this is what we have to look forward to in 2008. My parents at that time lived in S. Carolina and received a number of those calls regarding McCain. McCain confronted Bush and I was sorry that he didn't punch the lout in the mouth.

The message that got through was, of course, that if you get away with it good for you. We see now the nice and honorable Romney caught in the same shit and frankly I would never vote for the asshole but if this is his idea of a campaign, then look out folks.

MadisonMan said...

Why is the operative word in DC always to "resign."

Because taking responsibility for something in DC merely means saying that and then waiting for the hubbub to die down. This is what Larry Craig, David Vitter, Denny Hastert (re: Foley) have all said in the recent past. If you do something that is bad, shouldn't there be repercussions beyond evanescent notoriety in the press?

Pogo said...

What a stupid effort. It makes Romney look like a fool.

Plausible deniability is much, much harder on the internet. But being unable to run a decent smear campaign is evidence of poor executive skills.

Bill and Hillary, in contrast, are experts on the political smear with complete deniability.

Hoosier Daddy said...

That's just humor, fact, and opinion, isn't it? "Skirt Chaser" isn't a lie. The man was once single and interested in dating women.

Well Ann in all fairness, the term skirt chaser is more of a pejorative term that conjures an image of a guy only interested in dipping his wick than one just interested in dating women.’

Compared to those early presidential campaigns, the ones today are mild. If anything they have gone from vicious to childish. Listening to the backbiting among both sides sounds like the script from Mean Girls.

Theo Boehm said...

I agree with Pogo.

But, as a Massachusetts resident, I can tell you that Romney looks like a fool because he is a fool.

I'll qualify that and say he's a POLITICAL fool. He's otherwise a smart and decent guy. But the sad truth is that anybody could beat this twerp in the general election.

hdhouse said...

Theo....I knew his father in michigan...the brainwashed romney...apple doesn't fall far from that tree.

Paddy O. said...

Compared to those early presidential campaigns, the ones today are mild. If anything they have gone from vicious to childish.

Back in the day Tennessee politicians didn't much appreciate vicious politics.

Fred is touting his gun support a lot these days...

jane said...

Wonder why they didn't call him Law & Order Fred?

They overlooked Fatso Fred, Zitty Fred, Loser Fred, Sissy Fred, Crybaby Fred and all those other sophisticated taunts. And were they just not smart enough to come up with Kruger Fred or just Frédérique?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Fred is touting his gun support a lot these days...

Heh...that reminds me when Chris Matthews was constantly interrupting Zell Miller during an interview and Zell said he sure wished dueling was back in fashion.

Hell so did I and would have been proud to be Zell's second.

hdhouse said...

Hoosier...oh? I'll second that.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hoosier...oh? I'll second that

I figured you would house.

titus20 said...

I love it when wingers eat their own.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I love it when wingers eat their own.

Heh...I must have missed the unity that the Democratic party has demonstrated over the years.

Mortimer Brezny said...

But hoping to appeal to voters who care about families is scarcely the same as trying to leverage racism.

Eh. Two points:

1. The Phoney Fred site was eeriely familiar to the Fancy Ford site. So while the Fred site perhaps isn't directed at Fred's race, that doesn't mean the template for the site wasn't one aimed at a candidate's race. It's still an icky site.

2. The British spelling of phoney may have been related to the frontpage picture of Fred in British regalia and the fact that "phoney" is a phonier spelling.

3. Does this always work?: But hoping to appeal to voters who care about families is scarcely the same as trying to leverage homophobia.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Yes, I added a third point.