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Dan Poppy
  • One of A Kind Candidate, Kerry Bentivolio, 11th Congressional District, Milford, MI

    Kerry BentivolioMichigan's 11th Congressional District is where dreams are born. Friend of Indecision Thaddeus McCotter resigned from his House seat to work on a TV sitcom, leaving an enigma-sized Mystery Hole in the district. Kerry Bentivolio just might be the enigma to fill it.

    Bentivolio is the only name listed on the Aug. 7 GOP primary for McCotter's seat, but flip that script! A number of high-profile Republicans are backing a write-in candidate, former state Senator Nancy Cassis, instead. I'm so excited for you. You're about to meet Kerry Bentivolio, and the buzz is always better the first time.

    First, let's get the big news out in the open. Bentivolio is a reindeer rancher. As should be expected, nay demanded, of anyone in that industry, he's also dabbled in Santa reenacting. Or is it Santa impersonating? We really need to get around to standardizing the vocabulary in this industry.

    None of that matters, though, because all you really need to know is that Bentivolio played a doctor in The President Goes To Heaven, which may be the Chick Tract of movies. Instead of striking fear into the hearts of sinners, the movie sort of suggests that 9/11 was maybe an inside job. For whatever reason Bentivolio is distancing himself from this role, but there's only so far you can distance yourself from something that's on the Internet. Especially if that something involves a nurse telling a comatose George W. Bush-like president "You were once one of the most powerful men on earth, and now you've pooped your pants." It's basically an Aaron Sorkin version of The Room.

    As for Cassis, the only thing she's brought to the race is those rubber bracelets diseased people wear so we know to avoid them. Her bracelet carries the stirring message "11th congressional district, write in Nancy Cassis and fill oval." Powerful, powerful stuff. Awaiting the follow-up bracelet, "Eat white breads with traditional family and clean plate."

    The Bentivolio-Cassis race is being pitted as a showdown between an outsider Ron Paul acolyte and the GOP establishment. Sure, maybe. It's a Republican primary, there's not a lot of chance for color on a grayscale. And as a YouTube star and Santa impersonator, Bentivolio is a near-perfect candidate for the online era, so it's not surprising that he's been embraced by the Paul crowd, unleashing the Internet hordes and super PAC backing from a 21-year-old trustaronpaulian (the trustafarian's libertarian cousin).

    Cassis, on the other hand, drew the support of super loser Rick Santorum. A write-in candidate with a washed-up sweater vest's endorsement is considered the big establishment pick? Mr. Bentivolio must be one heck of a wild carpet ride.

    Oh, and you can find more clips of The President Goes To Heaven on YouTube, which is, incidentally, where you can find every Ron Paul supporter.

    Photo via Kerry Bentivolio's Facebook page

    Previously: Mindy Meyer, "Divacrat"

    Our friends at Dr Pepper are going to send Mr. Bentivolio a one-of-a-kind t-shirt, and you get to choose its slogan:

    Want a custom t-shirt of your own? Of course you do! Head to DrPepper.com and get started.


    Tags: Michigan, One of a Kind Candidates
  • One of a Kind Candidate: Mindy Meyer, New York State Senate, Brooklyn, NY

    Mindy MeyerOh Mindy, Mindy, Mindy. With the summer days so hot, you've captivated all of us, all 13 people who track local politics. But really, 22-year-old Mindy Meyer is LITERALLY everywhere.

    I'm here each week to tell you about local candidates who just can't catch the national spotlight. But Ms. Meyer had no problem snagging the lusty, bleary eye of the  American media elite for being a "diva." And by diva, they mean her website is pink, like a GIRL, because the political arena is a cynical, depraved place desperate for anything that actually breathes.

    Meyer's campaign slogan is "I'm senator and I know it," which is meant to appeal to young voters, or perhaps new voters/citizens learning English as a second language. She's inclusive like that. Just goofing, it's actually a reference to the band LMFAO, which is a band that might be popular, but also might be like one of those New York Times trend pieces where they find one 25-year-old who listens to opera and then they're like, "YOUNG PEOPLE FLOCKING TO OPERA." New York Times, get your act together.

    Her now-famous website used to autoplay hideous music, as if it were the online home of a cheap wedding band or a Midtown restaurant, but if you go there now it's completely silent. Seems like Meyer just dropped a big part of her appeal, but I wouldn't know anything about that, because she didn't return my message, which only proves how media-savvy she's become: don't give it all away when you can leave them wanting more, at least until your book comes out.

    Meyer pitches herself as a conservative Republican, but her positions are a little less Rick Santorum, a little more 22-year-old Brooklynite. School vouchers? Perhaps that's still a Republican thing, but Democrats sort of forget they're opposed to it sometimes. She's against racial profiling? Okay, now she's dipping her toes into the only pot Democrats still have. Restoring funding for summer youth employment programs, i.e. funding for youths that are older than unborn? Sounds French.

    Frankly, Meyer isn't so much a diva but a middle of the road youngin' interested in joining the political theater. This is probably a good thing! But still, all it takes is a pink background. Look at them swarming for quotes. I'm no different. Here I am spilling blood and ink–but mostly the sweet nectar of Dr Pepper (wink, wink)–to write about this #trending woman.

    Congratulations, Ms. Meyer, you've managed to tiptoe into the heart of big media. But be careful, for it is a fickle heart, and fifteen minutes pass quickly. One moment you're the queen of the airwaves because of your background color, the next you've been dumped for a candidate who only communicates via Skype or has an asterisk in his email address or did a lipdub of that "Call Me Maybe" song.

    Photo via Mindy Meyer's Facebook page

    Previously: Art Goodtimes, "Political paleohippie"

    Our friends at Dr Pepper are going to send Ms. Meyer a one-of-a-kind t-shirt, and you get to choose its slogan:

    Want a custom t-shirt of your own? Of course you do! Head to DrPepper.com and get started.


    Tags: Internet, New York, One of a Kind Candidates
  • One of a Kind Candidate: Art Goodtimes, County Commissioner, San Miguel, CO

    Art Goodtimes, groovy county commissionerWho is Art Goodtimes? Some might call the incumbent candidate for San Miguel County Commissioner a father, some might call him a brother, and some might call him "a dream-spinner whose heart is made of Earth, fire, stone, water. … [An] artist, author, poet-performer, bioregionalist, paleohippie… fungiphile, and basket weaver."

    Some might call him that. He definitely does.

    What can I say, I'm a sucker for folks who are up-front with their surnames. With Art Goodtimes, you know what you're going to get. Isn't this how people used to be? Think of all the Smiths and Masons and Fletchers and Whippingboys. Your name should tell us who you are. It helps prevent us from accidentally striking up a conversation with Stan YouTubevideorecommender at parties.

    Goodtimes is a member of the Green Party, which maybe isn't necessary to say. A name like Art Goodtimes isn't going to end up on a Republican ticket unless he's shortened his name from Archibold Goodtimesington III.

    But don't write off Goodtimes as just another Earth/fire/stone/water-hearted politician/paleohippie (and lord knows there are plentyof those). Although Goodtimes is a poet-in-residence and an heirloom potato farmer who represents a county with rich hippies and escorts the king and queen of the Telluride Mushroom Festival in the back of his polka-dotted truck, he also represents a conservative mining community, and he keeps winning, year after year. He led San Miguel County into an environmental lawsuit against the Department of Energy, proving he can be Art Savvytimes. And after the economic downturn, he also made the tough decision to cut spending and freeze merit pay and cost-of-living increases–hello, Art Toughtimes.

    Now, Goodtimes has challengers for his seat. Two candidates are running to oust him from the San Miguel County commission, even though they know he's not Art Easytobeattimes: as one of his opponents told the Telluride Daily Planet, "There's no doubt about it that Art Goodtimes is a formidable opponent."

    Indeed. Will the people of San Miguel County find their county commission Goodtimesless this November? Or will this basket-weaving dreamer continue his gentle, gentle reign?

    Only votingtimes will tell.

    Photo by Rob Huber Photography

    Previously: Linda Thomas, "Insanely sane candidate"

    Our friends at Dr Pepper are going to send Mr. Goodtimes a one-of-a-kind t-shirt, and you get to choose its slogan:

    Want a custom t-shirt of your own? Of course you do! Head to DrPepper.com and get started.


    Tags: Colorado, Green Party, One of a Kind Candidates
  • One of a Kind Candidate: Linda Thomas, Oracle School Board, Saddlebrooke, AZ

    Linda ThomasArizona, we love you. We really do. Our hipster grandparents who think Florida is played out retire there. The Grand Canyon is worth its weight in gold, if it were possible to weigh a canyon. Also, chimichangas. But your politicians, your politicians are so much the opposite of normal human behavior. You know how they sound to the rest of us, right? You know this.

    Sure, there are only a handful of Arizona politicians who are in the national news for being loonytunes, but it's hard not to assume the trend carries over to lesser-known officials. The border fence (in both the physical and the legislative sense), the noteworthy-even-for-America firearm fixation–it's like you were preparing for a zombie apocalypse, then just decided to live like it was already the zombie apocalypse. We're saying these things out of concern, Arizona, because we care.

    So that said, we tread lightly as we peek into the life of this week's candidate. Retired Air Force Colonel Linda Thomas is running for Oracle School Board in Saddlebrooke. Okay, Linda, let's hear your plans for a summer reading/pistol cleaning program or a Lil' Militia afterschool club or something like that. Here it comes:

    "I know from my military experience that if problems were easy to be solved they would have already been fixed. I know one person can’t do it alone." [Thomas] hopes to apply her skills to get communities more active and involved with the school district.

    Wait, what's that? Instead of trumped-up rhetoric about throwing the bums out of office, you want to build a volunteer community network to make best use of limited resources so children have equal access to quality education? Col. Thomas, you are just too much.

    But come on, show us some of that real Arizona flavor. Your state can't go a week without making national headlines for some batshit policy. I know you've got an identify-your-illegal-immigrant-classmate plan in the works somewhere in there. Let it all out:

    Linda said that some of our students will one day be legislators or government leaders. "I want them to be smarter than me."

    Um, paging Colonel Crackpot. You want politicians who are eggheads, not gunheads? Elitist book smarts, not all-American drunk-in-a-truck smarts? This is so ludicrous, there can only be one explanation: someone's not telling us her real agenda.

    Fess up, Colonel. If you're secretly thinking of training our future politicians to act as bomb-sniffing dogs, just blink twice.

    Photo via Linda Thomas For Oracle School Board Facebook page

    Previously: Bill Woolsey, "Secessionist's secessionist"

    Our friends at Dr Pepper are going to send Ms. Thomas a one-of-a-kind t-shirt, and you get to choose its slogan:

    Want a custom t-shirt of your own? Of course you do! Head to DrPepper.com and get started.


    Tags: Arizona, One of a Kind Candidates
  • One of a Kind Candidate: Bill Woolsey, Mayor, James Island, South Carolina

    Fort Sumter Civil WarBill Woolsey was the mayor of James Island, South Carolina, but it was ripped from his hands mid-term. Not his office, the town. Those uppity-ups in neighboring Charleston appealed James Island's attempt to become incorporated, making Woolsey a mayor without a town.

    But in May James Island succeeded in its fourth attempt for town-hood, and Woolsey is running again to become mayor. Four times the islanders have tried to separate themselves from Charleston. Four times! That’s real persistence, or a real dislike for Charleston. As Wikipedia says, "driving these [separation] efforts was a hatred for Charleston Mayor Joe Riley." No citation.  Nailed the landing on that one, Wikipedia.

    Doesn't feel so good to be seceded from, does it, Charleston? We're sorry to see you suffer, but at least now you can understand a little bit of the stress you caused us northerners–all those late nights of worrying, wondering how we could have come from the same Founding Fathers.

    Quick history lesson (with a citation, check it): the first shots of the Civil War came from James Island, when Confederate forces at Fort Johnson fired on the Union-occupied Fort Sumter. Now, like their ancestors, the citizens of James Island have cast off the shackles of oppression on their property, although their ancestors were trying to keep the shackles of oppression on their "property," but, you know. This has taken a turn.

    Anyway, now that James Islanders have prevailed with their stick-it-to-Joe-Riley plan, Bill Woolsey's campaign platform is a post-conquest agenda. Not content with mere independence, he's trying to add strategic territories to his rebel island with a bold plan to "organize and win annexation elections."

    Careful, Mr. Woolsey. The sweet taste of secession can be addictive. It's only a matter time before you personally secede from James Island. Next thing you know you're seceding from the living room to Woolsey Fort Blanket, and eventually ol' Joe Riley will come in from Charleston and start bagging-up the carpet. "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to reheat it," as Abraham Lincoln never said. (Spoiler: he never fought vampires, either.)

    Also, Charleston, it would be super chill of you to let us use your police department. We can be grown-up about this, right?

    Image by Kean Collection/Archive Photos/Getty Images

    Previously: Goodspaceguy, "Close encounter of a 3rd party"

    Our friends at Dr Pepper are going to send Mr. Woolsey a one-of-a-kind t-shirt, and you get to choose its slogan:

    Want a custom t-shirt of your own? Of course you do! Head to DrPepper.com and get started.


    Tags: Civil War, One of a Kind Candidates, South Carolina