Slate blogger and union-buster Mickey Kaus is running for Senate in California. It's kind of a gag—he doesn't expect to win. But we'd like to make it a realistic experience for Mickey, and we need your help.
Kaus calls his run an "issue-raising" candidacy. He knows he has no chance of beating Barbara Boxer in the Democratic Primary, but he's sick and tired of just blogging about how horrendous organized labor is, and he's come to the disappointing realization that simply writing something in Slate doesn't immediately change the national political environment by sheer force of counterintuitive Slate-iness. Or as he put it to the New York Times Magazine:
I've been a blogger since 1999, and it hasn't done the job. In California, the Democratic Party is worse than it was when I started. The only thing left is the interest groups. It used to be a functioning party independent of labor, and now that has atrophied.
So in order to rid his beloved Democratic Party of the scourge of unions, Kaus will now use the electoral process to launch a sham candidacy designed to elevate his own profile and highlight the issues he cares about. We're all about public participation, and we think it's a great idea. But given the utter and mathematical impossibility of Kaus actually winning the nomination, we fear that he'll be denied the actual subjective experience of running for higher office. He'll stump and fundraise and maybe even run ads, but the Boxer campaign will probably ignore him, and almost certainly won't consider him important enough to attempt to ruin him with opposition research.
But Kaus is important to us, which is why we're launching an oppo project of our own to make him feel like a real candidate. Beginning today, which is the deadline in California to file nomination papers to run in the June primary, we will begin researching Kaus within an inch of his life, just as the Boxer campaign would if they feared he might actually win. Property records, civil judgments, voting history, criminal history, professional history, you name it. We'll of course comb through the hundreds of thousands (millions?) or words he's written in his career, looking for examples of homophobic or racist statements he's made. And we'll touch base with old pals—like Ann Coulter—colleagues, girlfriends—like Arianna Huffington—classmates, etc., in search of embarrassing or damaging information, which we'll assemble into a handy little dossier and publish here.
Kaus has written with insight about "the undernews": The swirl of gossip and open secrets, often dredged up by oppo campaigns, that political reporters chatter about among themselves but rarely see fit to print until it bubbles to a head. So we'll troll Kaus' undernews trail to see what turns up, but we need your help: If you've heard anything about Kaus that might render him unfit for public office, or at the very least could help a political opponent rattle him, let us know. And if you know of any Kaus posts that, in retrospect, might seem ill-advised—like his defense of a bar that posted a "Fagots Stay Out" sign over the bar—send them our way.
We'll pull together whatever we come up with—maybe nothing!—and post it here. Kaus is a great writer, a very smart man, and a genuine blogging pioneer, and we wish him nothing but the best in his campaign. We just think it would be a shame if he went to all that trouble without getting taken seriously. And you know they're taking you seriously in politics when they start trying to destroy you.