Mike Baumgartner, a U.S. Senate candidate hoping to unseat Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell this fall, told a local reporter to “fuck off” earlier his week. His only apparent regret about his outside-the-box PR strategy? Failing to stop his staff from later issuing an apology on his behalf.
The reporter, Baumgartner told CBS News afilliate KIRO 7, “had it coming,” adding that he had not signed off on the apology before his staff released it.
The whole thing appears to have started Monday when Seattle-area political blog Publicola’s Josh Feit interviewed the Republican Senate candidate (and current Washington state senator) for a larger story about the topic of the moment in the political world: Todd Akin and his views on rape and abortion.
The way Feit tells it, Baumgartner—who for the record called Akin’s views “ignorant” and “offensive“—made it clear during the interview that he wished the media focused more on the war in Afghanistan (the ending of which is a key pillar in his campaign) than the recent abortion flap.
Do I “approve” of candidates for public office blowing their stacks and writing hot-headed e-mails to political reporters? No. Do I know anything more about Mr. Baumgartner than is included in the linked piece? No. He might be the absolute pits. I don’t live in Washington, and I’m disinclined to support the candidacy of anyone who will inch Mitch McConnell any closer to being Senate Majority Leader, so it doesn’t really matter that much anyway.
But it is downright refreshing to see someone say what they meant and then stand by it, even if it was impolitic to do so. Frankly, I can’t fault Baumgartner for wanting to focus more on ending the war in Afghanistan (a stance I applaud) than some moron in Missouri’s antiquated views on abortion and pregnancy. (The moron in question, however, deserves everything that’s coming to him.) And political reporters are big boys and girls, so if Feit can’t handle the heat then he’s in the wrong field.
Baumgartner said something offensive because he meant to offend. And he’s standing by it. Perhaps that’s not exactly admirable, but at least he’s not insulting our collective intelligence.