Contest: For What Was Fred Karger Most Famous Even Before Coming Out of the Closet?


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[Note: if you just want to take part in the contest without reading the rest of this, scroll down to the section in purple.]

Fred Karger campaigning for President

Right (wing) Said Fred.

Laguna Beach’s Fred Karger, who ran for President this cycle with the express aim of sabotaging Mitt Romney, is up to some good stuff these days.  As detailed in a recent article by the excitable R. Scott Moxley of the OC Weekly, Karger has been leading the charge against the National Organization of Marriage, run by former Chapman University Law School Dean and U.S. Senate Candidate John Eastman.  And that, in my opinion, is good – but, it doesn’t justify the whitewashing of the man’s personal history.

Specifically, it doesn’t justify describing Karger’s career the way that Moxley does in that article:

Nobody has accused John Eastman or Fred Karger of harboring canine lust, though both locals have taken opposing national leadership roles in the debate over gay marriage. Defiantly conservative and heterosexual, Eastman, 52, is an acclaimed former Chapman University law professor who directs the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the country’s premier gay-marriage-hating group. Far less uptight but equally defiant is Karger, 62, a persistently optimistic gay man who enjoyed a distinguished career as a senior adviser to several winning presidential campaigns and heads Rights Equal Rights, formerly known as Californians Against Hate.

I bolded the most important part, but some of you may have paused for a while at “canine lust.”  If so, read the next paragraph.  (If not, do or don’t, as you please.)

(If you’re wondering about the “canine lust” reference, the sentence preceding this paragraph notes that OC is “is sort of ground zero in a fierce legal battle that—no joke—one side says could result in men being able to legally enjoy sexual intercourse with dogs.”  Moxley evidently thinks that the legal argument that to disrespect the right of the majority to render certain sexual behaviors such as oral and anal sex illegal due to moral disgust could apply to negate laws against bestiality as well emanated from John Eastman.  It didn’t — in fact, it was perhaps most famously expressed in Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent in Lawrence v. Texas, where Scalia offered a long list of things that had traditionally been barred by states on the same legal grounds as used to bar “sodomy” — including incest, bestiality, and … masturbation.  Needless to say, I side with Karger and Moxley on the merits of doing so, but Scalia and Eastman are right that the fundamental regulatory power at issue is the same.  It just, for reasons expressed in the Lawrence decision, so-called “sodomy” has a much stronger civil liberties interest behind it than do regulations against incest, bestiality, necrophilia, and other widely barred sexual behaviors.)

Anyway, back to the “persistently optimistic gay man who enjoyed a distinguished career as a senior adviser to several winning presidential campaigns.”  Something really bothers me about that statement.  It’s a whitewash of Karger’s career, which included something particularly despicable that he should not be excused from wearing around his neck no matter how much good he has done since emerging from the closet.  One could (and some have) write a wonderful article about how Rev. Wiley Drake of Buena Park is so dedicated to serving the homeless — but it would really be leaving out some important context if it failed to mention that he also is famously and despicably anti-gay and that he encourages people to pray for the death of, among others, Barack Obama.

It’s time to take aim against Moxley’s slathering affection on Fred Karger without context.  Why?  Because this is the second year that it’s happened in high profile.  In the Weekly’s “Best of” issue for 2011, Karger is celebrated as OC’s “Best Politician” this way:

Calling someone the best politician can be the same as equating that person with a slimy reptile. Indeed, look around OC, and you’ll find plenty of snakes in elected office. But this year, we’re happy to give the nod to Fred Karger. Okay, sure, he was once lower than a snake when he worked as a cutthroat, secretly gay Republican political operative for the likes of Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford. But nowadays, Karger, who has never held elective office, has found not just the courage to come out of the closet, but the personable Laguna Beach resident is also an unapologetic fiscal conservative who is vocally pressing his political party to stop employing shameless anti-gay tactics. He’s also pro-choice and, unlike George W. Bush, anti-stupid wars. Oh, and Karger’s running to win the Republican nomination to take on President Barack Obama in November 2012. Does he have a chance? No, but sometimes there have to be folks willing to sacrifice themselves to make a good point, and Fred’s that kind of noble man.

(Note: this year’s “Best Politician” was Fullerton’s Travis Kiger, and ha-ha to that!)  But this paragraph and others lead me to believe that maybe Moxley — who is, he will remind you, an investigative journalist – somehow  does not know the relevant history about Fred Karger’s worst act as a “Republican political operative.”  It involves neither Nixon nor Ford — but it’s awfully famous and extremely vile.

It’s also not noted on Karger’s Wikipedia page — I’ll fix that eventually — nor is it easy to find on the Internet unless you know exactly what you’re looking for.  Karger’s worst act has apparently disappeared down the national memory hole.  It’s amazing.  It’s almost like discussing Pete Wilson without mentioning Prop 187.

I’ve tried to interest Moxley’s apparently inert (when it comes to editing Moxley) Editor Gustavo Arellano to the omission — without success.  Here’s our exchange in the comments section so far, with my comments in blue and Gustavo’s in red:

Ah — so Moxley’s an admirer of Fred Karger, and even (I presume it was him) made Karger its “Best Politician of 2011″ — SO MUCH now makes sense!  Quite the role model!

Hey, Moxley, old boy — nice as it is to see him take on Eastman this way, what past political actions of Fred Karger’s do you think that someone might NOT admire?

How about his pimping for mass murderer Phillip Morris corporation back when he started the astroturf “California Business and Restaurants Alliance” to fight for a preemptive block against anti-smoking regulations in 1994?

There’s also a particular ad I remember him being involved with — I’m sure I’ll think of it soon enough.  Maybe you’ll remember it first, though — right?

GustavoArellano moderator

Still at it, Bloviator? As usual, you do no research whatsoever to build up your preposterous bullshit.

Nice of you to ride to the rescue of your thrall who let your publication name Fred Karger Best OC Politician last year and who slathered affection on him this year without even mentioning the low point (or high point, depending on your taste) of his career as a consultant.

I’ve done my research, Aska.  Karger did something to be highly embarrassed about — nothing to do with his sexual orientation — although it’s not on his Wikipedia page and it’s hard to find on the Web unless you know what you’re looking for.

Do you know what famous ad Fred Karger produced, Gustavo?  Hint: it’s one that I’d like to think would curdle your blood — and it’s a real shame that he either doesn’t know about it (unlikely) or decided not to fill his young editor in on it (more likely.)

Or maybe you do know about that ad — and just don’t care.

As usual, Bloviator, you did as much research as you did work on your laughable political campaign—but keep being an idiot and amusing us all!
Obviously, you need a hint (as well as a clue), Gustavo.  OK, here’s one — the year was 1988 (when Fred Karger was still in the closet.)  Didn’t take much all THAT much research to find it.

Now come on — do the research too — or ask Moxley about it.  It was a very significant ad that belongs in any historical review of Karger’s “distinguished career as a senior adviser to several winning presidential campaigns,” as Moxley put it.

Not even curious, Gustavo?  Damn!  How un-editor-like!

(P.S. My “worst State Senate Campaign ever” got 45% of the vote.)

I’m getting the impression that Gustavo is trying to hide the fact that he has no idea at all what I’m talking about.  Is it the case that people have totally forgotten Fred Karger’s most despicable act?  Well, the best way I know to test that is to hold a contest.  I’m going to ask Vern to offer a one week ad placement as a prize.  (Content of ad subject to editing for taste.  Availability of ad as a prize subject to my being able to talk Vern into it.)

CONTEST:

(1) DO NOT ANSWER HERE.  IF YOU ANSWER HERE, IT WILL BE DELETED AND BAD THINGS WILL LIKELY RANDOMLY HAPPEN TO YOUR FUTURE COMMENTS.  YOU MAY ALLUDE TO HOW YOU KNOW THE CORRECT ANSWER SO LONG AS YOU DON’T PROVIDE READERS WITH A HINT.

(2) SEND YOUR CORRECT ANSWER TO: GREGDIAMOND2012@GMAIL.COM.  (MIGHT AS WELL GET SOME MORE USE OUT OF THAT ACCOUNT.)

(3) THE CONTEST ENDS ON WEDNESDAY, NOV. 21, AT 1 P.M.

CONTEST QUESTION: “FOR WHAT INFAMOUS TELEVISION AD WAS FRED KARGER MOST WELL-KNOWN PRIOR TO HIS RETIREMENT FROM POLITICAL ADVISING?”

I look forward to seeing whether you know the answer — as an initial way of assessing whether Moxley and Arellano ought to know as well.


About Greg Diamond

Prolix worker's rights and government accountability attorney and General Counsel of CATER. His anti-corruption work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, leading them to work with the Democratic Party of Orange County Chair and other co-conspirators (who had long detested the internal oversight his presence provided) to remove him from the position of DPOC North Vice Chair of in violation of party rules and any semblance of due process. He also runs for office sometimes. Unless otherwise specifically stated, none of his writings prior to that lawless putsch ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level. He tries to either suppress or openly acknowledge his partisan, issue, ideological, and "good government" biases in most of his writing here. If you have a question about any particular writing, just ask him about it and (unless you are an pseudonymous troll) he will probably answer you at painful length. He lives in Beautiful Bountiful Brea, but while he may brag about it he generally doesn't blog about it. A family member works as a campaign treasurer for candidates including Wendy Gabriella in AD-73; he doesn't directly profit from that relatively small compensation and it doesn't affect his coverage. He does advise some campaigns informally and (except where noted) without compensation.