Sure, the headlines aren't great right now for Republican Senate candidate Michael Baumgartner. That's what happens when you let your emotions get the best of you and tell a journalist via email to "go fuck yourself." But, with a little carefully crafted spin, the embarrassing situation could be turned into positive for the man running against Democrat Sen. Maria Cantwell.
More importantly, at least in his mind, Baumgartner attempted to stress his frustration with the lack of media attention on one of his campaign's main points of emphasis - ending the war in Afghanistan. Feit noted this in his piece, though the passing mention toward the bottom of the post apparently wasn't enough to quell Baumgartner's ire.
And so Baumgartner sent his email, which PubliCola published yesterday afternoon:
"Josh, this is Pat Feeks, a Navy SEAL killed last week in Afghanistan. Take a good look and then go fuck yourself."
The email in question included a photo of Baumgartner and Feeks, who was killed last week in a helicopter crash during a firefight in Kandahar. As PubliCola notes, Baumgartner acted as an adviser in Iraq during the surge, and was embedded with an Afghan counternarcotics team in 2009.
Not long after, Baumgartner issued a statement kinda-sorta apologizing for the lack of decorum, characterizing the email as "a follow-up e-mail to a previous conversation."
Feit had a different take.
Yesterday evening and this morning, to no one's surprise, the story has been picked up by just about every local media outlet - media outlets now focusing more on Baumgartner's use of expletives than on his position on the war in Afghanistan.
Of course, this all looks pretty bad for Baumgartner. While some may agree with his take on the situation, cussing at local news bloggers isn't typically the way politicians go about endearing themselves to voters.
Then again, most politicians aren't named Baumgartner.
Here's a suggestion: Instead of apologizing and attempting to turn the page, Baumgartner would be wise to capitalize on the situation. Studies show young voters love the word fuck. This just may be the chance Baumgartner has been waiting for to shed his stodgy, Republican persona and embrace something with a bit more edge.
We can already see the campaign t-shirts and buttons:
Vote F-Baumgartner in 2012!