Raging Red: Over the weekend, John McCain’s campaign issued the following press release:
U.S. Senator John McCain’s campaign today announced a group of prominent Democratic and unaffiliated leaders and activists who have joined “Citizens for McCain,” a new grassroots effort headed by Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) to rally Americans of all political parties to support John McCain’s candidacy.
First, an aside: Can an effort that is headed by a United States Senator and former Vice Presidential candidate be said to be “grassroots?” More to the point, can an effort that is lead by a presidential candidate’s own campaign be said to be a grassroots effort on behalf of that candidate? Methinks not. As Wikipedia tells us:
A grassroots movement (often referenced in the context of a political movement) is one driven by the constituents of a community. The term implies that the creation of the movement and the group supporting it is natural and spontaneous, highlighting the differences between this and a movement that is orchestrated by traditional power structures.
Senators Joe Lieberman and John McCain are the very definition of “traditional power structures.” Nice try, boys.
Now for the good stuff. The last person on the list of thirty “prominent Democratic and unaffiliated leaders and activists” released on Saturday is former West Virginia gubernatorial candidate Philip Frye. That is, Philip “Icky” Frye. If you’re from West Virginia, you’re already laughing. If you’re not, let me explain.
Calling Icky Frye a former West Virginia gubernatorial candidate is like calling Gary Coleman a former California gubernatorial candidate. He ran as a joke. He ran for attention. He ran because the incumbent governor, Bob Wise, had been sleeping with his wife. He ran as revenge.
As Frye told The Daily Show in August 2003, he had no hopes whatsoever of winning the election and ran simply “to be a sheer nuisance to Bob Wise.” The Icky Frye part starts up at around 1:10, but the whole video is well worth a watch.
Paul Nyden from the Charleston Gazette contacted the McCain campaign to get to the bottom of the Icky situation:
"Jeff Sadoski, a spokesman for the national McCain campaign, said Monday, “This is a list of people who are known in different states, as Democrats or independents. hey include elected officers and leaders in the Democratic Party. They were prominent Democrats."Sadowski said Frye was "someone who has run statewide as a Democrat."Asked how the McCain campaign chose people to put on the list of "prominent" supporters, Sadowski said, "We did research. We reviewed them."
They did research? Yeah, right. It’s clear what likely happened here. Because of his 2003/2004 gubernatorial run, the name “Philip Frye” was on some list that the McCain campaign had and they just called him up, without much thought, and asked him if he’d like to join Citizens for McCain. And then hilarity ensued.Sure, by the dictionary definition of “prominent” — widely and popularly known — I guess Icky Frye is prominent in West Virginia. But “notorious” would be more apt. Paul Nyden refers to Icky Frye as a fringe candidate, but truthfully, calling him a fringe candidate is an insult to fringe candidates. I don’t mean to beat up on the guy, I mean to beat up on McCain’s campaign staff for being a bunch of clueless, careless idiots. I can only hope that they continue to run his campaign this way.