Friday, October 10, 2008

Hardcore v. Hardball in DeKalb

Posted By on Fri, Oct 10, 2008 at 8:19 PM

We've been hearing for several years that energetic state Rep. Jill Chambers, R-Dekalb, is a rough-and-tumble, down-and-dirty campaigner. Now that we've seen her latest flier, we know what people mean. It's a case study in out-of-context innuendo. But if it proves to be effective, the lesson will be that anyone who aspires to elective office should stay away from blogging, mySpace and perhaps the Internet as a whole.

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Chambers' opponent is twentysomething Chris Huttman, a longtime Democratic activist better known to local Netizens by his blog name, Chris is Hardcore. Beginning in 2003, Huttman's blog offered his own commentary on political happenings of the day, apparently intended for consumption by fellow political junkies. One might have taken issues with Huttman's political outlook, but there was nothing offensive or outrageous about his site, which he dropped a couple years back.

So it was a surprise to learn from Chambers' flier that "Chris frequently asked people to send photographs of themselves" and that "his commentary is peppered with vulgarity and crude references to body parts."

Huttman, she says, "has been lurking around the internet." Well, yeah, the guy's a prominent local blogger. That's like saying a taxi driver has been lurking around streets and alleyways.

On the flier is a distorted, close-up photo of some guy with a goatee, but it isn't Huttman, and it didn't look like anything that would have appeared on his blog site, which typically didn't use photos at all.

So I asked Chambers to explain how her flier could be viewed as anything other than highly misleading. Well, she didn't exactly defend it on those grounds. Instead, she argued that it contained nothing blatantly untrue, although she provided no examples of the vulgarities she claims he used. She also admitted that the photo of the unidentified guy didn't come from Huttman's blog site, but maybe from his Flickr page – she couldn't quite remember.

Also, Chambers offered a tutorial on campaign hit pieces. "You have to create an impact between the mailbox and the trash can," she said. "If you do that, you have a successful flier. This is politics."

Perhaps so, but it still seems a fairly sleazy move. Rather than take it lying down, however, Huttman has gone to the web with this response:

Jill Chambers, my Republican opponent in my current campaign for state House, decided to send a mail piece clearly intending to make this blog appear somehow sinister or otherwise inappropriate. I’m now bringing it back so the voters of the 81st District can judge it for themselves. Take a look around. Although many of the entries are a bit out-of-date, I hope you find at least some of them informative and/or entertaining.

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