JMZ first noticed a piece by Matt Naugle on Right Angle Blog in which he posts screen shots from the FaceBook page of John Brunner, the son Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner. The photos are pretty typical of the stupid stuff college kids post on their pages – chemical abuse and sexual exhibitionism. I wouldn’t be too happy about it if it were my kid. On the other hand, if a college sophomore can’t act sophomoric, who can?
For those of you who don’t venture into the blogoverse much beyond the pages, Matt Naugle is a front-pager on Right Angle Blog, a once-respectable conservative blog that moved to a community format and was quickly overrun by mouth-breathing freepers. Matt first rose to, well, whatever he has risen to, as the campaign blogger for J. Ken Blackwell. When Blackwell ranted that “Democrats believe that government is God and God is not,” Naugle’s brilliant defense began “THERE IS NOTHING TO APOLOGIZE FOR!” And so it generally goes when Naugle has a POINT to make.
So what, you may wonder, does John Brunner’s college foolishness have to do with Matt Naugle? The answer should be “nothing.” But to Naugle and other practitioners of politics by character assassination, the misbehavior of the son means . . . something. I was put off by the initial decision to post, but Naugle’s subsequent post is genuinely revolting.
Jill got an email conversation going and posted a fine rant against the RAB post. Echo posts have appeared so far on Silent Majority and Buckeye State. Matt has now responded. He makes some halfway-decent points about the younger Brunner being an adult and touting himself as having worked on his mother’s campaign. He also makes some silly points along the “They done it first!” lines. On this, remember that uber-conservative Rush Limbaugh crossed the line in ’93 when he called Chelsea Clinton “the White House dog” on national TV, then lied about it. Anyone want to pre-date that, be my guest.
Naugle also makes a genuinely incoherent point about the Buckeye State post, but when Jerid and Naugle start going at it, I’m inclined to make them both sit in a corner.
All well and good so far, but then Naugle drops this: “I will add that I believe John's Facebook profile is fair game, and it speaks volumes about the type of parents Rick and Jennifer Brunner were. But I leave it to you to make up your own mind.”
Yes. He really did say that.
Today on 90.3’s TSOI the panelists were talking about the court fight between Brunner and Bennett over the latter’s seat on the Cuy. Co. Board of Elections. While that was on, a thought occurred to me. Like much of the ’06 election cycle, Brunner’s campaign was about competence. It was about doing the best job for the citizens of Ohio regardless of party or ideology. Republicans lost that contest, in large part because too many on their ticket remained fixated on ideology.
I think Bennett has picked this fight in part on both grounds. On the one hand, stepping down would admit that Brunner is right about his lack of competence. On the other, by constantly beating the drum that Brunner is being partisan, Bennett is once again trying to convince voters that party should trump competence.
And so has Naugle. His point apparently is that Jennifer Brunner is a bad Secretary of State because her son is a knucklehead. Conservatives wonder out loud why they are sucking wind in polling here (thanks to Jill for steering me to that link before any of this started.) This is it. They keep at these absurdly partisan, nit-picky attacks instead of working on how to make government work. People were sick of it last November and show no signs of warming up to it now.
But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Naugle has the bones of a winning campaign theme for ’08:
e will judge worth solely by personal decorum
- We will judge your worth based solely on your personal decorum.
And that of your family, staff, co-workers and supporters.
We are the Republican Party.
You are not good enough, but vote for us anyway.