03 November 2009

About that Guy in the Chicken Suit... (Updated)

With Ohio voting today on whether to legalize casinos, The Associated Press questions whether a recent stunt staged in front of West Virginia's Capitol was meant to sway Buckeye voters.

As the article explains, several media outlets had reported on a man in a chicken costume near the Capitol's south steps "waving to morning commuters and passing out flyers that advocated 'Cockfighting at West Virginia Casinos!'

Within days, foes of the pending gambling measure seized on the episode and "invoked the specter of cockfight wagering at West Virginia casinos to urge the Ohio measure's defeat. They argue that a provision of the referendum would allow the casinos proposed for Ohio to host any form of gambling found in other states," AP reports.

And while the man in the costume had refused to give his name to reporters, "a Democratic political activist, John Bradford "J.B." Parker, later presented himself as a spokesman for the West Virginia Association for Gamecock Sports," the article said. "No group by that name is on file with the Ethics Commission, which regulates all lobbyists, or on the register kept by the secretary of state of organizations doing business in West Virginia. The group has a Web site, which consists of a single page that online records show was created five days before the chicken costume appearance."

National gamefowl groups say they've never heard of such an organization, nor have lawmakers from West Virginia's gamecock-breeding areas.

Parker told AP last week that he "would not rule out that the whole thing is a hoax, perhaps meant to influence Ohio voters."

Those who reported on the chicken man include MetroNews, the Williamson Daily News, WKKX radio and The Charleston Gazette. The latter has followed up on the episode.

Update: A reader invokes Roger Stone. AP reported -- before the chicken suit episode -- that Stone is one of "two notoriously aggressive tacticians" pitted against each other in the battle over Ohio's casino ballot issue.

Stone was a cohort of "legendary GOP tactician Lee Atwater," and "ran Ronald Reagan's Ohio campaign in 1984," that article said. "One of Stone's first forays into campaigning was as a volunteer at CREEP, the Committee to Re-Elect the President, whose misdeeds were at the center of the Watergate scandal."

Stone is aiding the anti-casino TruthPAC. The earlier AP article quotes Democratic strategist Gerald Austin, who said the "constant barrage" deployed by that group "is classic Stone and intended to confuse voters. Confused voters generally vote no."

"One of Roger Stone's rules to live by is 'Hit from every angle, open multiple fronts on your enemy,'" Austin told AP. "'He must be confused, and feel besieged, on every side.'"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

THINK: Roger Stone