Asheville's Mountain Xpress jumped on the Charles Taylor for Congress bandwagon today with an excellent writeup of the parody site that's sprouted up in western North Carolina. I'm going to get crazy and republish the whole thing right here.
Some political observers say U.S. Rep. Charles Taylor, who represents a hefty slice of Western North Carolina, is facing quite a battle to retain his seat this year – and a wicked digital doppelgänger is doing his bit to send the seven-term Republican congressman back to the hills.
A parody "Taylor for Congress" Web site, Taylorsucks.org, is the creation of an anonymous virtual ninja who goes by the name "Lyle C. Rashorta" (an anagram of Taylor's name), with help from a handful of politically like-minded friends. The site mimics Taylor's actual 2004 campaign site, and the results aren't pretty – at least not for Taylor. Lampooning the congressman's record, his questionable business dealings and his stature as one of the wealthiest members of Congress, the fictional "Taylor" on the attack site sees his constituents as just so many rubes.
The very first paragraph on the home page gives visitors an immediate taste of the satirical buffet that lies within. "Let me take this opportunity to thank you for your contributions and your willingness to ignore my ethical problems," says the faux congressman. "You are the backbone of my campaign, and without a backbone of my own, I want you to know that your support keeps me sitting upright. You've been voting for me against your own best interests for 15 years now, and your ignorance encourages me to soldier on even though I despise you."
Ouch. (At press time, the Taylor camp had not returned repeated phone calls seeking comment.)
But gleaning insights into the site creator's mind isn't easy. In an e-mail exchange with Xpress, he elected to stay in character for the most part rather than answering straightforward questions. Asked about his operation, for example, he replied: "I'm proud to say that aside from the code-monkey caged in my basement and that amazing spell check button, I'm going it alone. I'm an army of one; a lone ranger of sorts, like the last swaying poplar on a ridge top after the clear cut."
As for reaction to the site, the congressional pretender stated: "Everyone LOVES it! People come up to me on the street and say 'Congressman, we're so happy that you've finally decided to start telling the truth!' It warms the heart."
Attempts to suss out how much time and money the creator has invested in Taylorsucks.org didn't fare much better.
"You mean this Internet thing costs money? Our broadband connection in the Cannon [House Office Building] is free! So are haircuts, travel and postage! Time is money, and since I'm one of the richest people in the House, I have more time than most people, so I'm able to make sure that people know the truth before the liberal media can distort it."