Can MeFites become presidents?
September 24, 2014 12:05 PM   Subscribe

What political candidates have posted embarrassing juvenile stuff on the Internet while growing up and still managed to stay in consideration?
posted by michaelh to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Given the internet was not very wide spread until the late 90s, it makes it hard for juvenile things to get dug up (eg people ~30ish now).. But there's plenty of stupid things people have posted as adults that gets dug up.
posted by k5.user at 12:13 PM on September 24, 2014 [7 favorites]

Ask again in ten years, I think. Today's 40+-year-old politicians didn't have the internet in their teen/young adult years.
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:21 PM on September 24, 2014 [10 favorites]

The question seems unripe, as the earlier posters note, but it reminds me of the NC state representative with his anonymous preppy/WASPy fashion blog. That was a hoot when it unraveled.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:25 PM on September 24, 2014 [6 favorites]

too early to tell. anthony weiner aka carlos danger was still a viable NYC mayoral candidate after sending women pics of his proudest part, until he did it again. i'm probably not electable at this point, as are most of you reading this.
posted by bruce at 12:34 PM on September 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'd say we're just getting there. I'm 40 now and was on Usenet by my late teens.

For a non-political example, Steven Moffat, the current show runner for Doctor Who, had a bunch of his Usenet posts from Rec.Arts.Drwho dragged out and examined when he took over.

Its going to be interesting.
posted by charred husk at 12:43 PM on September 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Chukka Ubamma (UK) was a DJ and slagged off naff clubs (think most people agreed with him) but 'the enemy' tried to make an issue of it.
posted by tanktop at 1:01 PM on September 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Meant Umanna
posted by tanktop at 1:02 PM on September 24, 2014

Nthing on the "it's too soon for Internet scandal" bandwagon. Most of the people who had an internet presence, even in the earliest of internet days, would probably only be getting into politics on a local level now.

Not that this stopped scandalmongers from trying to dig up dirt. A family friend ran for mayor of my hometown, and during the campaign he got a call from the principal of his old high school who was asking "why is your town's GOP committee calling me and asking for your school behavioral record?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:04 PM on September 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

Look: nothing you post on the internet is truly anonymous. So let go of that dream.

I believe (hope) that as the millennials come of age, the attitudes towards internet history will change. Everything before 18 will be deleted, everything before 25 will be chalked up to "young and stupid," and irrelevant or old information can be removed (see the current European legislation, aka "the right to be forgotten").

But I think attitudes will change towards this kind of thing. Yes (as EmpressCallipygos says) people will still look for dirt, but the collective response will be more "meh" than "zomg!" provided that the time lapse is long enough.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:10 PM on September 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Agreed. Anyone today can take an old print photograph, scan it, and post it on the internet. Attitudes will have to change, or there will be no one left.
posted by Melismata at 1:19 PM on September 24, 2014

Not exactly what you're looking for, but a 19 year old from Janesville WI who was running for the Wisconsin State Assembly suspended his campaign after racist and homophobic comments he made on the internet became public.
posted by coldhotel at 1:26 PM on September 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Colleen Lachowicz's opponent in her state senate race tried to use the fact that she played World of Warcraft to smear her.

It didn't work.
posted by sparklemotion at 2:02 PM on September 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

There was a candidate awhile back that I'm having trouble googling - ah! Krystal Ball - who didn't win the election after internet pics came out. But on the other hand, it didn't seem like the naughty photo ended up being to her detriment (maybe that was just on my liberal end of the internet).
posted by ldthomps at 2:16 PM on September 24, 2014

My guess is that, as the Internet Generation matures, this will become less of an issue than it is right now.

I think social networking will be a powerful mode of communication with which to catch people doing sketchy things (a la the Anthony Weiner scandals), just as previous scandals could be unearthed via phone calls, leaked memos, etc.

But stuff like "embarrassing photo of you as a teen" is just not going to seem as damning when the general public comes to realize that everyone has those kinds of "skeletons" in their closet.

It's like the difference between the role of marijuana in Bill Clinton's campaign in 1992 vs. Barak Obama's in 2008.
posted by Sara C. at 2:34 PM on September 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

Not posted while growing up but Lawyer’s blog posts could be an issue in judicial confirmation bid.
posted by Xalf at 2:34 PM on September 24, 2014

Earlier this year Jake Rush was "outed" as Chazz Darling, quite active as a vampire character in a number of live action role-playing games. Rush told the Gainesville Sun that "I had scrubbed as much as I could Google of myself, just because it's a little embarrassing, and I didn't want it to overshadow my campaign. I didn't want this to happen, basically."
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:41 PM on September 24, 2014

I predict that, unless truly unbelievable strides in eliminating gender-based double standards are made, many women ten years from now will find their candidacies threatened by nude or suggestive photographs or even by twitter posts from their 20s suggesting sexual promiscuity.

As for general youthful indiscretion, though, I think we already have a male counterexample in Barack Obama. His admissions of smoking pot, doing cocaine, and generally making bad decisions in his autobiography had what seem to have been a negligible effect on his campaign. Frankly, I can't imagine it would have been much different if a thirty year old photo of him over a mirror with a rolled up twenty in his hand had surfaced.
posted by 256 at 6:42 PM on September 24, 2014

In February 2008, a photograph of Barack Obama's speechwriter groping the breast of a life-sized photograph of then-Senator Hillary Clinton was posted to Facebook. Awful stuff, but Favreau went on to become a respected senior White House staffer. By today's standards, I guess. In all events, he became one of the highest paid people in the White House despite being in his twenties.
posted by Slap Factory at 7:23 PM on September 24, 2014

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