Political Theater You Can Believe In

As the newly revealed LARPER Jake Rush pushes ahead with his primary challenge, Joseph Laycock points out that fantasy role-playing isn’t the political liability it used to be:

Fears of Satanic role-playing games were once so politically expedient that in 1985 Winston Matthews ran for attorney general of Virginia and made a proposed law banning Dungeons and Dragons from public schools the core of his platform. But today appeals to panic over games are less effective – mostly because gamers are no longer defenseless teenagers who are too young to vote. …

In 2012, Republicans attempted to smear Colleen Lachowicz, a social worker from Maine running for state senate as a Democrat, by informing voters that she played the online computer game “World of Warcraft.” The website colleensworld.com declared, “Maine needs a state senator that lives in the real world, not in Colleen’s fantasy world.” As in this latest instance, statements made “in character” were presented out of context. In any case, the strategy backfired. Not only did Lachowicz win the election, but outraged gamers around the country donated $6,300 to political action committees that supported her campaign.

Previous Dish on Lachowicz here. Rush has responded to the mockery with a three-page press release and this bitchin’ photo:

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 12.41.36 AM

Alyssa sides with the conservative Republican “in the interest of geeky solidarity”:

As my colleague Alexandra Petri has pointed out, political consultant Peter Schorsch, who went digging for details on the Mind’s Eye Society, is stretching as far as he possibly can to suggest that Rush is palling around with dog-menacers and book burners. Never mind that no evidence exists that Rush’s activities were anything other than fantasy. And as fantasy, there is not actually much contradiction between Rush’s stated policy positions and the games he’s playing. Dave Weigel suggested that there is tension between Rush’s work in drug enforcement during his tenure in the sheriff’s department, which he touts as proof of his law-and-order credentials, and his fantasies of snorting cocaine. But if Rush is role-playing parts that are deliberately transgressive, it makes perfect sense that he would gravitate towards the very things he finds off-limits in his professional capacity. …

I would probably never vote for Jake Rush, but that is because I’m not terribly fond of stand-your-ground laws, and, so far, Obamacare is working out just fine for me. But I absolutely support the idea of more nerds in Congress. Imagination, moral and otherwise, is something we could use more of in Washington.