Orc Attack! The Unethical GOP Campaign Smear With the Built-In Punishment

“Citizens of Maine, I give you your next state Senator! Her campaign slogan: “Better an Orc than an idiot!”

In Maine, Republicans have attacked a state Senate candidate with an unfair and stunningly silly accusation devised by fools for consumption by the gullible, ignorant and confused. Fortunately, such an attack comes with its own punishment, for it constitutes a smoking gun that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the Maine Republican Party is not only run by dolts, but dolts who never made it into the 21st Century.

Imagine: in a campaign mailing this week, Maine Republicans accused Democratic state Senate candidate Colleen Lachowicz of making “crude, vicious and violent comments” and living in a fantasy world because she plays the fantasy role-playing game World of Warcraft, and comments in online forums dedicated to the popular online pastime.”We need a senator who lives in our world, not Colleen’s world,” the mailing says.

A GOP website also links to Lachowicz’s online avatar, the female Orc Santiaga, who is green, has pointy ears, wears  a purple Mohawk and fights foes using a meteor shard. The site suggests that there is something sinister and weird about the fact that the Democrat plays a game that takes place “make-believe land Azeroth” and that Lachowicz is good at her hobby, “playing at level 85 — the highest level one can attain.”

Wow. Just…wow. I thought  Republican and former U.S. Senator from Virginia (and running to regain his seat in 2012) George Allen had hit rock bottom with this sort of thing in 2008, when his campaign used steamy passages from opponent James Webb’s best-selling novels to attack Webb’s character—Webb, the most decorated Marine in the Vietnam war and a bona fide straight-arrow and hero if there ever was one. Allen’s slimy technique pales in unfairness and stupidity, however, to the Maine GOP claim that the computer, video, role-playing and online games a candidate engages in for fun and relaxation reflects their real life values and character. Does playing chess, which is just an earlier, low-tech battle game, suggest that devotees secretly want to kill bishops and queens? Does playing poker prove that one is a liar? Does playing Monopoly indicate that I endorse predatory business practices? Does playing Risk mean that you harbor a desire to conquer the world?

The Republicans who could send such a mailing don’t realize what it says about them: that it is they who don’t live in 21st Century America, that they are frightened and confused by new technology and its innovations in communication and amusement, and that they are not intellectually curious or smart enough to know just how out-of-touch they are.

____________________________________

Pointer: Fark

Source: MSNBC

Graphic: The Bubble

21 thoughts on “Orc Attack! The Unethical GOP Campaign Smear With the Built-In Punishment

  1. Perhaps above all else, the fact that the Maine GOP can’t bring in navel-height fruit like a WoW joke makes one wonder if state governance is above their ceiling.

  2. What about the Republican on the Science Committee who said that evolution and the big bang theory were “lies sent from the depths of hell?”

    I hope real, earnest fiscal conservatives with any sense break rank with the Republican party, which now seems hopelessly adrift, and they strike out with a new party wearing a tricorn hat made of ivory.

    • Most of the hardcore EVE players have a better grasp of economics and diplomacy than Congress, not to mention warfare. EVE was the one game I can say I wasn’t smart or patient enough to play, heh. Sometimes I think gamers will own the future, if only because they challenge themselves intellectually. ((Full disclosure: this gamer learned everything he knows about geopolitics and economics from Total War, learned Rand, Marx, Hobbes, and Nietzche from Bioshock and KotOR II, learned his multiplication tables from Pokemon, and could go on and on. Video games were more useful to me than half of high school.)

  3. Allow me to offer a local perspective (local to the state – Ms. Lachowicz is not running in my district.

    If she were, I could not possibly vote for her. Not because of the gaming, but because of her commentary on her blog. Samples include:

    “So I’m a level 68 orc rogue girl. That means I stab things . . . a lot. Who would have thought that a peace-lovin’, social worker and democrat would enjoy that?!”
    “Yes, I am seriously slacking off at work today. And I called my congresswoman’s office today. And told them I would probably be calling everyday.”
    “I spent my day leveling my alt — an undead warlock…”
    “I’m lazy, remember?”
    “Now if you’ll excuse me, I may have to go and hunt down Grover Norquist and drown him in my bath tub.”
    “Or my dream from election season last year where John McCain sat at my childhood dining room table and I reamed him a new a**hole about Sarah Palin.”
    “I like to stab things and I’m originally from NJ…. what’s your f***ing point?!”
    “Yes, join us! We’re progressive… in fact we joke about being a socialist guild.”
    “I love this diary because it sums up the teabagger mindset.”

    Philosophically, I don’t agree with progressives. I have never even fantasized about drowning one in my bathtub, let alone blogged about it.

      • Yes, I’m aware of the Norquist quote. He was speaking of government as an entity. She was speaking of Norquist as a person.

        Regardless: people have a right to expect a certain level of maturity and life wisdom from out elected officials. This gal has demonstrated neither, IMO, and if the opposition wishes to take advantage by publicizing her own brain droppings, well.. so be it.

        This is not a case in which someone is confronting her with stuff she posted online decades ago. This was recent (including the boasts about slacking off on the clock).

    • Arthur, she’s talking to friends, and kidding around. Or do you think she really is in a socialist guild?

      I think her judgment in being so careless about online comments is a legitimate, though ultimately minor, issue. The GOP attack was focused on her fantasy gaming, arguing that it showed she was living in a fantasy world. That is, pardon my French, bull shit. And taking comments to other gamers as substantive is just a cheap shot. Frankly, I’d bet that 90% of pols make similar extreme partisan comments in private—I assume it, jsut as I would not be surprised to learn that Barack tells Michelle that he thinks Paul Ryan is an asshole, and Romney is a piece of shit, So what? What does that really tell us? Not everything a politician says 24-7 is intended for publication, and it shouldn’t be treated that way.

      • Your comment would be fair, Jack, except that she DID publish it. It reveals a lack of judgment and maturity.

        I’ve no doubt that Barack has said exactly that to Michelle (and after Wednesday night, I’ve little doubt she’s said worse to him). The fact is that for better or worse, we live in a political environment in which campaigns are bloodsport (a concept Our Fair Candidate appears to find at least virtually attractive).

        Again, I have no problem with her gaming. Blog posts, even within the construct of a game, are absolutely legitimate game – and, given that you’re an attorney by training, I’m sure you’ll agree that they’re discoverable.

        • I think it shows carelessness using the internet, a common malady. I don’t think the content of the messages show anything at all, but a typical progressive. They’re trivial.

          Excusing this kind of attack by saying politics is bloodsport is just an “everybody does it” justification. Yes, it’s not uncommon. It still stinks.

          • They are not trivial. And more to the point, I’m not excusing anything on the basis of an “everybody does it” justification. I have equal contempt for that idiot in Missouri who’s up against McAskill.

            When a candidate shows appalling judgment – regardless of party, or how that poor judgment is revealed – I am of the belief that they have no place in a legislature. Lest you wonder, there was an R candidate who had his head handed to him in the primary after he was revealed to be cheating on clean election funding. I raised a glass of fine malt to his demise (though I will admit I had other reasons for being convinced the guy was a scumbag who had no business in the legislature).

            Had Colleen’s posts been written ten years ago, I’d be happy to defend her actions as youthful idiocy. Problem is, they were recent – and she’s still a youthful idiot.

            • I just don’t see any statement on a gaming forum as qualifying as “appalling,” Arthur. It’s a gaming forum and she’s riffing with WOW geeks. Why can’t a mature pol use a juvenile hobby for relaxation? She screwed up to think it wouldn’t be tracked down, but semi-public or not, I regard all of these as intended as private comments, and outside the scope of legitimate political attack. I put the Earl Butz joke in the same category.

              • Jack, I’ve read her posts – well beyond the excerpts cited above. In the ones I find most unsettling, she drops completely out of WOW character; in fact, that she’s in a WOW forum is secondary; they reveal considerable hatred and, from my perspective, an extremely immature progressive mindset.

                As I said earlier, this isn’t about the gaming. It’s about the judgment – or lack thereof.

                • Did you intend to mix perfectly fine comments with ones that actually say something about her? For example:

                  “I spent my day leveling my alt — an undead warlock…” and “So I’m a level 68 orc rogue girl. That means I stab things . . . a lot. Who would have thought that a peace-lovin’, social worker and democrat would enjoy that?!”

                  Let me translate those comment to chess: “I spent my day working out bishop knight cominbations in end game…” and “So I’m a grandmaster who plays the Queen’s Fianchetto Opening. That means I snipe from the side… a lot. Who would have thought a peace-lovin’, social worker and democrat would enjoy that?!”

                  Thinking that those comments say something negative about this candidate is ridiculous.

                  • tgt, I just grabbed that stack from another source. Probably shouldn’t have. Regardless, let me repeat that I don’t care a whit about the gaming – WOW, chess, parcheesi, ping pong, whatever (other than the fact that some of her posts make it appear that she was doing so on her employer’s time).

                    It is the vitriol displayed, and the lack of judgment she displayed in making these posts, that I find problematic. I’ve little doubt that this is a problem we’re all likely to see more of in the future; stuff we post online lives forever. For my part, I don’t think any future candidate should be held in any degree of contempt if, for example, they post something stupid when they’re 20 and they’re running for office at age 40.

                    In this case, however, the posts are quite recent, and can therefore be reasonably assumed to reflect actual mindset.

                    Like I said earlier, she’s not my problem – she’s running in another district. If she were in mine, there’s no way in hell I’d vote for her – and her fondness for WOW has nothing to do with it, other than the fact that the WOW posts exposed beliefs and values I almost certainly would not have learned about otherwise.

                    • tgt, I just grabbed that stack from another source. Probably shouldn’t have.

                      So, you just proved Jack’s original point.

                      Regardless, let me repeat that I don’t care a whit about the gaming – WOW, chess, parcheesi, ping pong, whatever (other than the fact that some of her posts make it appear that she was doing so on her employer’s time).

                      It is the vitriol displayed, and the lack of judgment she displayed in making these posts, that I find problematic.

                      Really? It seemed your reason was (1) she’s a progressive, and (2) you don’t know how to interpret language in this community. Your misinterpretations have been called out, but you’re repeating them (the vitriol comment) and adding in (3) bad judgment.

  4. This one bothers me a lot as I’m a gamer. Jokes like those are common. I joke often to customers and coworkers how I don’t work when I’m obviously working.

    Games have advanced so much in the last 40 years. The algorithms used in games are, to put bluntly, frighteningly complex. There are competitions for programmers to make more human like bots in this country. Most games today look more realistic than most movies. Games should be considered an art form.

    These so called republicans are buffoons. Playing a game does not make one incapable of anything in life.

  5. Really? It seemed your reason was (1) she’s a progressive, and (2) you don’t know how to interpret language in this community. Your misinterpretations have been called out, but you’re repeating them (the vitriol comment) and adding in (3) bad judgment.

    tgt, you are correct only insofar as I’m highly skeptical when someone labels themselves a progressive. I do my best to give a fair hearing to their views and remedies; as an aging libertarian conservative (note the small-L; I lock horns with the Ron Paul types all the time) I have reached the conclusion that no one has a lock on the One True Path.

    I could give a damn about her gaming, or her gaming persona. In fact, if she stayed WITHIN that persona, I’d have no issue with her. It’s the fact that she stepped OUTSIDE of that persona, stated violent fantasies (don’t give me this “don’t know ho to interpret language” crap – and that’s what it is) and displayed stunning disrespect for those she’d be working with IF she were elected.

    These are not the mark of a leader. Leaders, in our culture, must understand collaboration and compromise. Stating positions is one thing. Displaying open contempt and wishes of violence upon others – and I say again, OUTSIDE of character – is quite another. It displays rotten judgment unworthy of elected office.

    Frankly, I’m delighted this came to light. Her “my way or the highway” views, even if originally trace back to a gaming forum, are far too prevalent in our society, and we see it from both major parties. I think – well, I HOPE – that we can agree that this approach has been counterproductive.

    • It’s the fact that she stepped OUTSIDE of that persona, stated violent fantasies (don’t give me this “don’t know ho to interpret language” crap – and that’s what it is) and displayed stunning disrespect for those she’d be working with IF she were elected.

      *sigh*. What’s appropriate conversation on the Basketball court is not necessarily appropriate in polite society. The same goes for gamer culture. Staying in character has nothing to do with it. It’s just different norms. I’ll say things during Madden or even a boardgame like Settlers that would make a sailor blush, but those comments don’t show that I’m a mean, violent person.

      There’s context here, and you’re ignoring it. Not the context that this person is speaking as her orc, but context of the norms of the situation where the comments were made.

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