World's Most Honest Candidate Gets IndieGoGo Funding For Kentucky Senate Race

from the satire-for-hire dept

There’s been plenty of talk about the influence of money in politics — and we’ve certainly covered ambitious projects like Larry Lessig’s MayDay SuperPAC a few times. However, down in Kentucky, a group called Represent.us is taking a different — and potentially more effective — approach to making people aware of the nefarious impact of money in politics. They’ve organized a satirical campaign for the Kentucky Senate by Gil Fulbright — the most Honest Politician in Kentucky. Fulbright, of course, is played by an actor (Frank Ridley), but does a pretty good impression of a politician. To get a sense of his level of honesty, check out this campaign ad:

If you can’t watch it, here’s the opening transcript:

Hi! I’m Gil Fulbright. The people who run my campaign made this commercial and I’m in it. This campaign? It’s not about me. It’s about crafting a version of me that appeals to you. A version that visits random work sites with paid actors, pointing at things. A version of me that doesn’t find old people loathsome or pointless. Has a conventionally attractive, yet curiously still, family. Listening to my constituents, legislating? These are things I don’t do. What I do is spend about 70% of my time raising funds for re-election….

It goes on in that style and is pretty amusing. He’s got some other commercials too, such as one for net neutrality and one for health care, both with the tagline: “I’m Gil Fulbright: for the right price, I’ll approve any message.”

Represent.us put together an IndieGoGo campaign to help fund their plan to insert Fulbright (satirically) into the high profile (and very expensive) Kentucky Senatorial race. He’s obviously not running for real, but the idea is to piggyback on the spotlight on the Kentucky race between Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes, which is expected to cost $100 million (nearly all of it from out of state). As Represent.us explains how they’ll make use of Fulbright’s “campaign”:

He’ll crash campaign events, run ?honest political ads? on TV and the radio, and do whatever it takes to get the whole country talking about money in politics corruption. We?re renting a campaign bus, slapping Gil?s beautiful face on it, and hitting the campaign trail to bring some much-needed honesty to one of the most expensive Senate campaigns in American history.

The IndieGoGo campaign quickly raised its targeted $20,000 (needed for a campaign bus), and is rapidly approaching the $30,000 for billboards. The team is hoping for even more to put some of their ads on TV as well. Obviously, this alone isn’t going to move the needle on the question of money in politics, but greater attention from a variety of different angles can only help raise awareness.

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Comments on “World's Most Honest Candidate Gets IndieGoGo Funding For Kentucky Senate Race”

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26 Comments
Ninja (profile) says:

Reminds me of a time (when I wasn’t born) when people had the Rinoceronte Cacareco (Junkyard Rhino or something I guess?) ran for local deputy (vereador in Portuguese) and got voted in. At the time the people voted by putting their name and writing down their candidate in the ballot.

Wonder if Illinois can make him get enough votes to send the message through…

Anonymous Coward says:

This was long ago over due to raise awareness of just how corrupt the political process is. Once voted in, you the voter no longer matter.

You do matter if you take the incumbent’s job away. That removes the political member away from the food trough.

If anyone needs go be removed from office, starting with Mitch McConnell would be a good move.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re:

ALL FOR this type of justified mockery of the powers that be, good stuff…
but, while it will be ‘educational’ to some sheeple, the actual politicos are BEYOND SHAME, it will not move the needle on their shame gauge one iota…
in point of fact, i’m betting that the MORE effective they are in mocking the process/people, the more likely there will be some legal action to slap them down…

John says:

Re: Eh

I think the solution is simple but not easy to implement.

Ban ALL political contributions by individuals or corporations or whatever other organisation, greater than $5000.

Make the politician meet with the people who thye represent by having an open appointment book reserved only for voters in each district. Each district would get an equal number of calendar days. The calendar would be visible to the public.

Any meeting with business or lobbyists must have the transcript published. This is government business, there is no secrecy from the government.

Who will pay for the advisers? The government will. We can expect the politician to be efficient at everything so they need helpers, but in much reduced numbers. Most advisers are there to get the politician re-elected and not serve the people, so we only need a few.

There should also be a pool of funds to assist new candidates. There could be some creative ways to allocate those funds using online polling or pledges from people in that district.

To reduce costs, we should also ban or severally restrict all political advertising. Does anyone really listen to those ads?

The above is a dream but I think we would end up with a more representative government if the above was implemented.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Eh

Limiting individual contributions to a certain amount doesn’t limit Corp X to $5000.
It’s just a freaky coincidence that Amy, Bob and Charles, totally not from the PR department of Corp X, start contributing the maximum amount.
All with a wink and a nod to make it clear to thhe receiver who is paying.

andypandy says:

just my opionion

Justr a few words, wow nd wow againg, I spent half an hour watching videos and readng abtu this and it caught my attention like no other campaign ever, i wish i was part of this campaign, i believe they are going places with this.

i seriously hope with the attention it is receiving and hopefully with them being promoted enough they will get onto comedy central shows like Colbert etc.

This could be the campaign that works and increases the chance that change actually happens, take note President Obama this is what change is about, this is what you promised but could not deliver due to your big donors damands.

a nomouse says:

The sad reality

There was an actual Most Honest Politician In Kentucky (a fella named Fitzgerald) that floated a trial balloon last year in the run against Mitch McConnel, immediately shot down by both major parties. I was one of those privy to the deal, and simply put, it takes way more money than an honest individual can muster to run for higher office. The public is too dense to prepay the cost, leaving only the rich, the connected, and the narrow business interest types in the game. The honest need not apply.

Public funding of elections is the only option if we want a full spectrum of candidates to choose from.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: The sad reality

A full spectrum of candidates is an interesting thing.

The current president of Argentina is a lady named Cristina Kirchner. She got voted in after her husband, President Nestor Kirchner, decided not to run for re-election. I was there in 2003 when he got voted in, and it was very interesting how it happened.

They didn’t have 2 major candidates; they had 5. Unlike the US, every citizen was required by law to vote, but one of the options is votar en blanco (casting a blank vote.) When the votes were tallied, they had a situation very similar to the one the US had had not long before: a statistical tie between the top two candidates where the margin of victory was more narrow than the margin of error.

However, because there were five major candidates, they were able to resolve things a lot more reasonably than the US had: they announced a runoff election a few weeks. Then something interesting happened: polls started showing that just about everyone who had not voted for Carlos Menem (the other major candidate) the first time was still not going to vote for him the second time, so he withdrew before the scheduled runoff, and Kirchner took the presidency.

I still remember hearing the news and thinking, “it would sure be nice if our system was that civilized.” And when US politics are less civilized than those of a third-world South American country with a history of dictatorship problems, corruption, and financial crashes far worse than anything we’ve seen in here, you know it’s bad.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The sad reality

Public funding of elections is the only option if we want a full spectrum of candidates to choose from.

The problem with public funding of candidates is that it is controlled by the incumbents; unless the public actually take an interest in politics, and directly fund the candidates that is.

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