Harold Ford, take me away!
March 10, 2006 7:14 AM   Subscribe

Fancy Ford is the most elegant-looking political smear site you've ever seen. But is there a racial message?
posted by barjo (47 comments total)
 
Wow...that IS a very elegant smear. It'll probably work, too.
posted by darkstar at 7:18 AM on March 10, 2006


It makes you wonder... what the folks back in Tennessee would think?

Lucky bastard. That's what this former Tennessean thinks.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:20 AM on March 10, 2006


Am I the only person who saw "$3100 in 60 visits" and immediately thought "$50 per meal. That's surprisingly reasonable."

I don't know about this racism crap, but these sorts of political attacks suck, no matter who is doing them. They show no respect to the issues.

Note to democrats and republicans alike: I don't give a shit if somebody is rich, comes from a rich family, or has been associated with a traditional political enemy. Those things are all irrelevant.
posted by I Love Tacos at 7:21 AM on March 10, 2006


Wow, I was actually just FPPing this and then got the sudden double-post message.

Strangely, I saw a completely different angle... it seems very clear to me the point of the site is to suggest Ford is gay. It's all about implying he loves to go shopping and get pedicures, and have raucous parties with dubious crowds... and we all know what THAT means... he's just so "fancy!"

The entire site is a horrific gay stereotype; they might as well have been running the Queer Eye theme in the background while each page loaded.

The picture of the white women right by "what will they think" is definitely eyebrow-raising, but I think that's more Playboy's racial problems than the NRSC's... exactly what percentage of Playboy Bunnies aren't white to begin with?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:23 AM on March 10, 2006


From the second link: ...the emphasis on opulence all combine to portray Ford as a pimp.

No, photoshopping a wide-brimmed hat, leopard-print leisure suit, and gold-plated walking stick onto a photo of the Senator would portay him as a pimp.

Actually, somebody should do that.
posted by S.C. at 7:24 AM on March 10, 2006


Democrats catch shit for being poncy little girly-men sometimes, thanks to, I dunno, Mike Dukakis. Sometimes they deserve it.

But Repubicans criticizing someone for being rich? That's like blaming the rain for being wet.

And it's racist as hell, IMHO. Only certain types of people deserve the good life?

Fuck Elizabeth Dole. Actually, fuck her, but let her keep her job since she's doing a shit job for Republican fundraising.
posted by bardic at 7:24 AM on March 10, 2006


XQUZYPHYR may have a point: For those of us not fabulous enough to have received the invitation....

But seriously: I'm interested to see a breakdown of what sort of "luxury" items Bush purchases for friends and dignitaries to enjoy during visits to the White House. That's not even a dig at W.; I'd like to see Clinton's receipts, too. Ford's lifestyle looks lavish—and certainly the man's not thrifty—but I wonder just how outrageous any other given politician would seem in objective comparison.
posted by S.C. at 7:29 AM on March 10, 2006


One wonders how Fancy Frist is...
posted by darkstar at 7:34 AM on March 10, 2006


What a pathetic attack site. The top pit bulls must be working full-time on Hillary.
posted by brain_drain at 7:34 AM on March 10, 2006


S.C.: I don't want to see what sort of "luxury" items Bush buys for himself and his guests, because it would surely lead to a bunch of idiotic attacks, on the basis that he wears $500 shoes, or something.

I'd happily vote for a candidate who dined primarily at Thomas Keller restaurants, and wore nothing but Huntsman suits, so long as I agreed with their policies.

Ditto a candidate who eats nothing but canned beans, and owns a single JC Penney suit, that fit him twelve years ago.
posted by I Love Tacos at 7:39 AM on March 10, 2006


The post is anti Ford but I am not sure if there is a racial component to it. I would say that any and all congressmen who receive the health insurance the nations gives them are way ahead of most Americans for starters.
posted by Postroad at 7:53 AM on March 10, 2006


Disclaimer: Harold Ford Jr. is my congressman, and I've voted for him at every opportunity.

That said, this is a pretty sad attempt at a smear. Although I'm not sure it's racist in the way one would expect. I think it's more along the lines of "Check out Mr. Oreo Harold Ford. He's light bright, almost white." Which is still racist, by the way.
posted by JeffK at 7:54 AM on March 10, 2006


Fuck Elizabeth Dole.

That's right charitable of you. Due to her husband's erectile dysfunction, she hasn't been getting it regularly and it's a real strain.
posted by jonmc at 7:56 AM on March 10, 2006


Oreo nigra, fag, elitist -- preferably all of the above -- it all works for the Repugnicants' purposes.
posted by digaman at 8:00 AM on March 10, 2006


I agree that this is trying to make him look gay, not black. Check out the photo in the top right corner.
posted by JWright at 8:14 AM on March 10, 2006


I don't want to see what sort of "luxury" items Bush buys for himself and his guests

I'm thinking diamond studded razor scooters, and copies of Milton Bradley's Strategero.
posted by jonmc at 8:26 AM on March 10, 2006


I don't really think the site is racist, if portrays the guy as a poof, but not a 'pimp'. Would the site work just as well if it were a white guy? I think so.
posted by delmoi at 8:34 AM on March 10, 2006


I don't want to see what sort of "luxury" items Bush buys for himself and his guests

Think big, big oilfields. First he scrapes off the countries inconveniently located on top of them.
posted by digaman at 8:34 AM on March 10, 2006


I love how the press release mentions that the site features pictures of fancy hotels, cigars, tulips (?!?!), and Playboy bunnies. So pathetic..."Our attack site about a guy has pictures of expensive things. Make sure you mention that in your story."
posted by paul_smatatoes at 8:40 AM on March 10, 2006


Pathetic. You have to figure that he wasn't usually dining alone at the House dining room, either, so it's probably much less than $50 per person per meal. They had just run out of big numbers so came up with $3,100, which sounds big until you read that it's for 50 meals.

Also, they talk about how he's out of touch with Tennessee, yet the site is done by the NRSC. Funny how a national organization, based in Washington, is taking somebody to task for being out of touch with Tennessee. How would they know? Did they talk to somebody from Tennessee or something?

I think the Republicans are mad they don't have his dad to pick on. He'd be a more entertaining subject for a smear site.
posted by lackutrol at 9:00 AM on March 10, 2006


Also, the "Party Like Ford" page is mostly about fancy fund raisers, as though this is a rare thing among politicians.
posted by brundlefly at 9:15 AM on March 10, 2006


Wait, this guy's black?

Seriously, though. If they were going for racism, they should have found a darker-looking picture of him for the header. I'd buy JeffK's interpretation, maybe, but not this Berney character's.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:19 AM on March 10, 2006


They might as well have titled the site "Harold Ford: Uppity". Vile.
posted by boo_radley at 9:20 AM on March 10, 2006


But Repubicans criticizing someone for being rich? That's like blaming the rain for being wet.

Yeah, it's funny how the term "limousine liberal" is a pejorative, but you never hear anyone talking about "limousine conservatives". It's as if limousines are meant for conservatives -- it's only when liberals get in them that there's a problem.

I agree that "Fancy Ford" implies homosexuality. "Fancy" is a slang term for gay that is particular prevalent in the South. The goal of the site is to make him racially, sexually, and stylistically "other". Disgusting and manipulative... but par for the course with today's GOP.

Frankly, the Democrats need to learn to play this game better.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 10:17 AM on March 10, 2006


Pandagon comments on the site, and points out that fancy man is a synonym for pimp. (Really? I've never heard that. They don't use it Law & Order SVU)

There's also a link to this lovely example of NRSC shenanigans.
posted by barjo at 10:23 AM on March 10, 2006


They really missed an opportunity by not having a music soundtrack.
It would have clarified whether they were going for the racist smear or the gay smear.

posted by ambrosia at 10:23 AM on March 10, 2006


It's not racist, and it's not homophobic… it's just the same old "liberal elite" smear they pulled on Kerry & Gore. There's no need to try to read more into it because the dude's black.
posted by designbot at 10:35 AM on March 10, 2006


designbot, given the fact that he's a black politician in a southern state, I couldn't disagree more. You realize there's a bit of history there, no?
posted by bardic at 11:04 AM on March 10, 2006


Sure, there's history, but ask yourself this: what would they need to change about the site if he was a white politician?
Painting a picture of a candidate being a pampered, rich, effeminate elitist is a standard (and very successful, although completely hypocritical) Republican tactic. You could swap Harold Ford's picture & name out with John Kerry or Al Gore or Hilary Clinton, or any other white politician for that matter, and the attack would work just as well.
You can extrapolate racist subtexts, literary criticism-style, I'm sure, but I'd call it a stretch, and it's just as much an indicator of the racial assumptions of the person doing the criticism.
posted by designbot at 11:41 AM on March 10, 2006


I don't see racism or homophobia. Pure old-fashion class-baiting. There's nothing wrong with that, as long as they're not stretching the truth.

I don't think it's interesting enough to warrant a post. All you're doing is creating more publicity for this kind of behavior. Comparable campaign tactics have been going on for years.

I also don't think it's too elegant. None of the "tabs" in the navigation match up from page to page. With the minimal information presented and repeated on each page, that's just sloppy.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:55 AM on March 10, 2006


Im torn between saying "this is racist" and "this is not racist"; on the one hand, it hammers on the financial aspects, and nothing else. On the other hand, you cannot create a site like this without assuming that many constituents in his area are going to THINK "pimp", because he's African-American and spends money and has Biz Markie at his parties.

So let's go with "the site itself is not racist per se, but it was likely built with the understanding that the constituents being targetted were likely susceptable to being manipulated towards thinking of him as a free-spending pimp type, and so the content was editorialized subtly to induce that effect." After all, some people here did pick up on it...

Anyway, I don't know if the guy is a good candidate or not, but I don't see any reason here not to vote for him.
posted by davejay at 12:09 PM on March 10, 2006


Wow, could I have written that more awkwardly? Make that "The site itself is not racist per se, but the content was likely editorialized subtly to have that effect on the targeted constituents."
posted by davejay at 12:12 PM on March 10, 2006


But is there a racial message?

Nope. If someone is wasting taxpayer money, and also black, are they beyond reproach?
posted by rush at 12:41 PM on March 10, 2006


"the site itself is not racist per se, but it was likely built with the understanding that the constituents being targetted were likely susceptable to being manipulated towards thinking of him as a free-spending pimp type, and so the content was editorialized subtly to induce that effect."

I just called an aging, honkey republican in NC, and asked him what he thought of it. He was angered by the irresponsible spending, but was unsure what I meant by "pimp." Who, in your opinion, is the targeted constituency?
posted by rush at 12:44 PM on March 10, 2006


If this site isn't racist, I'd hate to see what is from the Republican perspective.
posted by bardic at 12:51 PM on March 10, 2006


See, I would have got "gay" maybe, but not "pimp" in a hundred years.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:54 PM on March 10, 2006


I agree with designbot and mrgrimm: it's classbaiting at its core. Look how rich and pampered this guy is! How disgusting! That sort of thing.

Of course, many people bring with them certain racist attitudes which will be inflamed by this kind of thing, too. I guess that's icing on the cake for the GOP.
posted by darkstar at 1:17 PM on March 10, 2006


Frankly, the Democrats need to learn to play this game better.

Exactly. This is masterful in the way it brings out at least three distinct interpretations. They were probably going for the sweet spot between all three, and boy did they hit. Now, is MeFi representative of Tennessee? That's a more difficult question.

I think the class issue is very relevant. My nieces listen strictly to country music, and the class envy and resentment in every fifth song these days is palpable. If the GOP isn't exploiting that, they're fools (but they're probably causing it in the first place).
posted by dhartung at 1:20 PM on March 10, 2006


the response: Very Fancy Frist
posted by amberglow at 1:41 PM on March 10, 2006


The Frist site is even lamer.
posted by brain_drain at 1:49 PM on March 10, 2006


RE: Fancy Frist: Holy cow! I'm prescient!
posted by darkstar at 2:02 PM on March 10, 2006


Wait... is this guy running against Frist?

Frist is a pampered wanker at his core.
posted by delmoi at 6:21 PM on March 10, 2006


Pam's House Blend: ...The Fancy Ford web site is something to behold and cherish. It tells you all that you need to know about where the great minds of the GOP are when it comes to campaigning -- it's still all about playing on race, racial history and the subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways of invoking the uppity Negro in Southern politics.
...
The issue is how many pols in either party could you assail with charges of lavish living/spending, particularly in the GOP?! This web site is about something else...it is yet another example of the Republicans wanting to play the race card both ways -- Mehlman's RNC courts the black vote with empty platitudes, and the down-and-dirty political machinery of the party uses the old racial saws and imagery to try and nail the win.
There's nothing like creating visions of the uppity, horny Negro who lusts after white women, living the high life and not knowing his place. ...

posted by amberglow at 7:12 PM on March 10, 2006


Looks like a half-assed campaign to portray Ford in a negative light -- almost of the "class warfare" crap that the Dems usually try to use. But I see no evidence of racism.
posted by davidmsc at 7:42 PM on March 10, 2006


This came up shortly after Ford's campaign ads lambasting the Dubai ports deal. This is the typical Republican way of answering a charge.

This will backfire in light of the money Abramoff spent on the likes of DeLay for first class flights to St Andrews, etc.
posted by stirfry at 7:59 PM on March 10, 2006


david, you really compare class warfare (which always involves cronyism, corruption, and/or monopolies, as well as exploiting workers) with racial codewords? really?

fancy man means pimp/gigolo/kept man, and fancy can also mean gay--most people know that--it's old usage, and very well established. It's just like calling that Olympic ice skater Weir "fabulous", but much more derogatory.
posted by amberglow at 2:16 PM on March 11, 2006




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