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How To Lose Friends And Make People Hate You On Facebook

By Greg L | 12 January 2015 | Prince William County | 4 Comments

First-time candidates are always the most entertaining.  Some degree of ignorance (an entirely excusable condition) is to be expected, but slathered on top of that you can too often find a whole heaping pile of incompetence as well.  That condition is frequently exacerbated by the typical absence of anyone exhibiting any degree of campaigning competence within arm’s reach of these rambling fusterclucks, and as a blogger it’s my job to make sure you know all about them in hopes that the next time around those who aren’t ready for this kind of challenge bother to actually get educated before the next cycle or at least consider not running.

When Don Scoggins announced he’d be running for Occoquan Supervisor I had a feeling it wouldn’t end well, and it didn’t take long to confirm that.  InsideNova posted their obligatory introductory article about his candidacy on January 4th, and by the 12th Scoggins was busily spamming links to it anywhere on facebook that seemed to have a Republican audience.  One of these not-so-well-considered spots was on the Loudoun County Republican group.

Bad idea.

Loudoun County has about as much to do with the Occoquan Magisterial District as does Beaufort County, Texas.  What it does have are some terrifically motivated die-hard conservatives with a long memory, so when you’ve told people that you voted for Barack Obama for President in 2008 but are running as a Republican candidate for office in 2014, these are the folks who are going to be asking a few questions.  Sure enough, one of them did, since Loudoun County folks don’t care at all about what happens in Occoquan, but they sure do care about people pretending to be conservatives who self-admit summiting such a pinnacle of political apostasy.  Obama voters just don’t celebrate their Republican candidacies among these sorts of conservatives.

“Sorry but it’s a little disturbing watching an Obama voter use a republican moniker behind his run for office. Did he think that we forgot?”

What happens next is right out of  the chapter in Political Campaigning For Dummies where they discuss things using terms such as “don’t ever, ever do this.”  Scoggins waded right into a fight, one that he could never “win,” and among Loudoun County activists, of all people.  Political infighting in Loudoun County is sport.  They engage in it so much the only rational conclusion for this I can fathom is this must pass for entertainment in such parts.  Scoggins just hitched up his pants and waded right in:

“Dean, you and many others don’t know what constitutes a real conservative.”

Good gravy.  Here’s a guy who admits he voted for Obama presuming to lecture conservative activists in Loudoun County on what a “real conservative” is, and not just any activist mind you, but one who worked in the Ronald Reagan administration.  We’ve gone right from spamming people about a campaign they don’t care about into giving them reasons why they should want to travel all the way to your district so they can burn down your campaign headquarters.

It just went downhill from there.

“Dean, anyone not having your myopic views you want to label liberal.”

This went on for hours.  Every time this back-and-forth was updated, it leapt right back to the top of my facebook feed, demanding my attention far more than any deliberate campaign messaging from Don Scoggins could have ever hoped to garner.  I couldn’t escape this insult-fest as Scoggins fought valiantly to get the last word in towards not only someone who clearly wouldn’t ever vote for him no matter what he said, but couldn’t do so because he lives about a half-dozen districts away from where Scoggins is running for office.  If you win a battle like this, you lose.  If you lose a battle like this, you lose.  If you simply delete the post after it has blown through the guardrail and is careening down the side of the mountain spewing flame, smoke and various mechanical parts, everyone forgets this even happened in a day or two and you actually survive.

Just because there’s such a thing as “social media” that’s pretty easy and zero-cost to employ doesn’t mean a campaign must treat it like a cheap venue to connect with voters deserving of no thought whatsoever.  Social media has destroyed more candidates in recent years than it has helped as anyone who thoughtlessly bandied about facebook posts and twitter tweets to the utter detriment of their candidate and cause could tell you.  That casual medium promises people a window to see the real you, and they darned well better like that real you if you want to get elected.  Act foolish, or worse, on social media and your political longevity will have a remarkably close expiration date.

Some folks just aren’t cut out for political campaigns.  It’s too bad so many who aren’t don’t figure that out until they already invested a lot of time and money into the endeavor.  Perhaps someone who is will soon emerge in Occoquan, as this campaign isn’t going anywhere but down.

UPDATE: Apparently, this was all a ploy to bait me into writing something negative about Scoggins’ candidacy, which admittedly wasn’t something I wanted to ever do. Scoggins had this to say on the facebook thread, which amazingly still remains:

“Greg, thanks and just what I wanted from you. You played well into my hands. Comments from you is an endorsement for me. Thanks again.”

What a masterstroke! Post a news article about your campaign on a facebook page of the Republican committee of a county outside of yours, wait for someone to talk about your liberal personal voting record and potential racial bias, actually make all this happen when I am actually paying attention to it all and goad me into writing an article saying how bad a candidate you are. Such brilliant strategy and tactics hasn’t been seen since Alexander The Great, for sure.

How can such a candidate ever fail?

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  1. TheBulletproofMonk said on 12 Jan 2015 at 10:08 pm:
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    You nailed it! It does provide us with miles and miles of entertainment. Scoggins has no stake in Loudouns

  2. Jeanine Martin said on 13 Jan 2015 at 1:05 am:
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    This is one of the funniest, and true, blog posts I have ever read. Well said Greg! Hilarious.

  3. Cathy McNickle said on 13 Jan 2015 at 6:51 am:
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    Read this as it was going on, was scratching my head asking WHY???? the whole time.

  4. Don's campaign manager said on 13 Jan 2015 at 3:19 pm:
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    Can you loan me your copy of Political Campaigning for Dummies? Thanks.

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