A moment of silent regard, please, for Matt McCall, a “conservative entrepreneur” running against Lamar Smith in Texas District 12. In addition to being a wingnut climate change denier, Smith sponsored the “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA), which was widely despised by your computer geeky types, who partly shut down their interweb sites a while back. Matt McCall is running to the right of Smith — he wants to eliminate the EPA and the IRS, repeal the 17th amendment, all sorts of fun stuff. But there’s one issue he’s pretty sure tech geeks will agree with, and that’s his opposition to SOPA. So he went on the website Reddit yesterday to do one of those “Ask Me Anything” (or “AMA”) interactive things that the kids are so into, with the inviting title, “I am (SOPA-Opponent) Matt McCall, I am Running against Lamar Smith in the Republican Primary in TX-21. AMA!”
It did not go well. At all.
Turns out that while geeks don’t care for SOPA, they wanted to ask McCall about other stuff, too — the “anything” in that heading — like his opposition to same-sex marriage. They also aren’t big fans of one-line talking points. The questions quickly got pointed, McCall stopped answering, and eventually, he just plain deleted his Reddit account. On the upside, a LOT of people now know who Matt McCall is. He’s the previously obscure congressional candidate who got pwned by Reddit.
Things went off the rails pretty quickly. When a reader asked,
As a registered voter in Lamar Smith’s district, I’m having a hard time telling the difference between the two of you. Is it only your stance on SOPA that is driving you to challenge him?
McCall replied with a nice string of buzzwords:
Lamar is a big government, control everything in your life establishment Republican. I am a small government, Freedom and Opportunity Republican. This is safe Republican district, so you are going to get one of us and the question is which kind of Republican do you want?
And that’s pretty much when Reddit exploded in his face; one commenter put it pretty concisely:
I’m sorry Matt, but as you are vehemently against abortion and gay marriage, you are not a small government, freedom and opportunity Republican.
You just want government control of the citizens attuned to your preferences. Not cool.
Others jumped on the “safe Republican district” line, pointing out that gerrymandering seems slightly at odds with the goal of limited government.
Another McCall answer — “I am for getting the Government out of not just our bedrooms but out of most of our lives. As for the word marriage, it is between one natural man and woman. My opponent believes the same on marriage” — elicited all the mockery that it deserved:
Only cage-free, organic, free-range men and women
So I guess transgender people are just fucked. Cool.
And so on. On marijuana legalization, McCall said
I am a 10th amendment, States Rights Guy. This should be there problem to deal with. Medical? I’m not a Dr.
While he didn’t come back to clarify why he thinks a member of Congress wouldn’t have to make any laws regarding medical questions, he did later edit his reply to correct the “there/their” mixup. Conscientious guy.
On gay marriage, McCall replied to a question asking him why the moral rules of Christianity should regulate other people’s lives:
I have no interest in cramming my religion down anyones throat. As a Citizen and a Christian I am sick of having other people cram their religion down my throat and then when I resist, they cry that it is I doing the cramming. Not very tolerant of them.
But at least he broad-mindedly allowed, “I am not going to write a bill to make being gay illegal.”
And so on — eventually, the discussion devolved into McCall complained that the questioners had “not been showing tolerance and mercy” because they kept asking him stuff that he didn’t like. And then he was gone, as was his Reddit account. Best comment left in his wake:
This is a TERRIFIC AMA. “The kids on Reddit, they hate SOPA! They hate Obama! Matt, it’ll be a cakewalk!”