Foster Friess and the Feiler Faster Thesis

Foster Friess, Rick Santorum's money guy, probably shouldn't be his media guy.

So, Foster Friess, Rick Santorum’s money guy, probably shouldn’t be his media guy.

ABC (“Santorum’s Top Super PAC Donor Suggests Women Should Use Aspirin For Contraception“):

The single largest donor to the super PAC supporting Rick Santorum’s presidential bid shocked MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell in an interview on Thursday when he suggested a novel approach to contraception on Thursday. Foster Friess, the 71 year old Wyoming multi-millionaire offered this retort when Mitchell pressed him about whether he agreed with Santorum’s stance on contraception.

[…]

I get such a chuckle when these things come out. Here we have millions of our fellow Americans unemployed. We have jihadist camps being set up in central – in Latin America, which Rick has been warning about, and people seem to be so preoccupied with sex. I think it says something about our culture. We maybe need a massive therapy session so we can concentrate on what the real issues are. And this contraceptive thing, my gosh, it’s so — such inexpensive. Back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.

Does the fact that Santorum’s chief financial backer is apparently a Grade A moron matter? Probably not.

Friess isn’t running for president, he’s just backing Santorum with a lot of money. Not only do we typically not hold candidates responsible for every damn fool thing their benefactors say but, frankly, we especially tend to discount damn fool things uttered by 71-year-old multimillionaires. Especially ones from Wyoming.

It may serve to reinforce the notion held by many–myself for example–that Santorum is a religious extremist who shouldn’t be given the power to issue orders to our federal bureaucracy. But people who feel that way–myself for example–aren’t going to vote for Santorum, anyway.

Additionally, the name Foster Friess and evoked Mickey Kaus’ old Feiler Faster thesis, which is relevant beyond the shared alliteration. Around this time in the 2000 presidential cycle, Kaus observed, “The news cycle is much faster these days, thanks to 24-hour cable, the Web, a metastasized pundit caste constantly searching for new angles, etc. As a result, politics is able to move much faster, too, as our democracy learns to process more information in a shorter period and to process it comfortably at this faster pace.” If anything, that’s more true now than it was twelve years ago. Twitter and Facebook hadn’t even been invented yet.

My guess is that this story will have legs for maybe a day or two–the late night comics will have a field day and “Morning Joe” and others will dissect in in the morning–but it’ll slip down the memory hole over the President’s Day weekend.

Woman with pills image via Shutterstock

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Gender Issues, Health, US Politics, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    If Santorum is the GOP’s nominee, get ready for more of these gaffes from his surrogates and supporters. Know why? Because Santorum’s people truly believe women, collectively, are a bunch of whores.

  2. Hey Norm says:

    Look…Issa is holding comittee hearings on the PPACA Contraceptive Rule with no women…and no opposing viewpoints allowed. So frankly…I have a hard time listening to the idea that Friess is unique in the Republican party.

  3. sam says:

    “Additionally, the name Foster Friess and evoked Mickey Kaus’ old Feiler Faster thesis”

    When I read the aspirin thing, I thought of Foster Brooks (put a beard on Friess, and he looks like Brooks, come to think of it).

  4. Hey Norm says:

    “…We have jihadist camps being set up in central – in Latin America…”

    WTF?
    Um…any back-up for that claim?

  5. DRS says:

    We have jihadist camps being set up in central – in Latin America, which Rick has been warning about,…

    Personally I’m inclined to think this is the dumber comment.

  6. legion says:

    Does the fact that Santorum’s chief financial backer is apparently a Grade A moron matter? Probably not.

    Umm… I would _strongly_ disagree, James. It’s one thing to just be “a rich guy contributing to a candidate”, but this particular rich guy is the _main money source_ for Santorum’s entire campaign. It’s not unreasonable to think that Santorum wouldn’t be the contender he is today without Friess’ money, or that he’d collapse if Friess pulled out. Given the central nature of this guy’s pocketbook to Santorum’s chances, how independent can he realistically be from Freiss? Either Santorum & Friess already agree on a great many things – in which case it is perfectly legitimate to judge the one by the public statements of the other – or Santorum will pursue whatever policies Friess tells him to – making Friess’ public statements even _more_ telling about what a potential President Santorum (I just threw up in my mouth) would do.

  7. Brummagem Joe says:

    My guess is that this story will have legs for maybe a day or two–the late night comics will have a field day and “Morning Joe” and others will dissect in in the morning–but it’ll slip down the memory hole over the President’s Day weekend.

    Probably but it will also serve to reinforce a stereotypical image of Republicans as vaguely misogynist and anti women’s health. I’m sure it’s going to resurface in Democratic ads where the women’s vote is important particularly if by some chance Santorum pulled it off.

  8. @Hey Norm: @DRS: Speaking as a Latin Americanist, I agree that this is the dumber comment. It is part of an ongoing fantasy/fear in some rightward circles about a jihadist presence in LatAm. Usually this is placed in the TriBorder region of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. Sometimes there are claims made about Colombia and Venezuela. Central America is a new one.

  9. BTW, the aspirin comment came across to me as a condescending: if you’d just keep your legs together, sweetheart, you wouldn’t have these problems.

  10. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Gold Star for Robot Boy:

    Because Santorum’s people truly believe women, collectively, are a bunch of whores.

    Whores or angels. Neither is necessarily accurate.

  11. Buffalo Rude says:

    My guess is that this story will have legs for maybe a day or two–the late night comics will have a field day and “Morning Joe” and others will dissect in in the morning–but it’ll slip down the memory hole over the President’s Day weekend.

    Which will be just in time for the next idiot to open his mouth and let some more stupid out.

  12. PD Shaw says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: “the aspirin comment came across to me as a condescending: if you’d just keep your legs together, sweetheart, you wouldn’t have these problems”

    Yeah, I’m not sure if the title of the ABC article might be somewhat misleading, but in this context, condescending towards a class of people might be worse than a dumb comment.

  13. Moosebreath says:

    I remember reading this line in a joke book from the 1970’s. I think the next joke involved a teenager asking a priest if it was a sin to sleep next to a girl, and the priest responded, “No, but the trouble with you teenagers is you don’t sleep.”.

    Is this life imitating art?

  14. Doubter4444 says:

    He botched an ancient joke (I remember it from a Dear Abby column decades ago):
    Question: What’s the best form of birth control?
    Answer: An Aspirin – held firmly between the knees.

    It’s a really just a reminder (if we needed it) that Santorum, and indeed, most of the far right wing, is still stuck in the late 60’s, or early 70’s – still fighting the dirty hippies, and still pining for a Nixon that can express their grievances.
    The rhetoric, the dress (sweater vest), the sense of being overwhelmed by social change all fit.
    That’s why this resonates with me – I heard it all a long time ago.
    The tea party is really the last gasp of the “silent majority” that Nixon exploited.

  15. Dazedandconfused says:

    “Slip down the memory hole”

    Pushed down by another outrageously stupid comment out of the Santorum camp, would be my prediction. Presidents Day? Seems quite likely. A week, tops.

  16. anjin-san says:

    You get the sense that there are two types of sex the far right approves of. Two minutes of guilt ridden fumbling between married people and rich/powerful white men bending secretaries over their desks. Everything else is a sin.

  17. RightKlik says:

    ” Especially ones from Wyoming.”

    enlightened

  18. superdestroyer says:

    People should remember that being a politicians in public and talking to the media is a skill is has to be learned and practice.

    Too many rich guys believe that because they can handle a board room that they are capable of going on television or giving interviews with no practice and no preparation.

    It is why no one other than professionals should ever give interview or talk to the media. It is also why the same few people appear to virtually all the talking head shows since so few people are capable of performing on television.

  19. An Interested Party says:

    People should remember that being a politicians in public and talking to the media is a skill is has to be learned and practice.

    An unconvincing excuse…one doesn’t have to be a skilled politician to avoid acting like a fool as Friess did…

  20. M. Bouffant says:

    @Brummagem Joe:
    “Vaguely?”

  21. superdestroyer says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Written by someone who sounds like they have never had media training. Dealing with the media is a skill that has to learned.

    One of the first rules is that you never make a joke with a reporter.

  22. anjin-san says:

    @ superdestroyer

    Written by someone who likes to think they are sophisticated, but does not actually pass muster.

    Friess has been in the public eye as a businessman, philanthropist, and political activist for decades. If you think this was a rookie mistake by someone who rode into town on a hay truck, you are probably projecting…

  23. An Interested Party says:

    Written by someone who sounds like they have never had media training.

    It hardly requires media training to not make the mistake that Friess made…common sense, on the other hand…

  24. superdestroyer says:

    @anjin-san:

    When one takes media training, the first thing the trainers usually do is show videoclips of politicians, CEO. celebrities, etc who tried to wing it during an interview or broke the rules of how to deal with the media.

    Anyone who is trying to tell a joke while in a hostile environment is a fool is not following the basic rules of how to deal with the media. Now that clip will be used in media training on what not to do.

    And anyone who thinks that it is easy to deal with the media is a fool. The media can ruin anyone they want to if they decide they want to do it.

  25. anjin-san says:

    @ Super

    I am willing to admit that you have expertise when it comes to making a fool of yourself.

  26. superdestroyer says:

    @anjin-san:

    And I will admit that if progressives did not have snark, they would have nothing to add to the conservation. Why do progressives believe that they can never look bad in the media because they only watch MSNBC and PBS.

    My guess is that media consultants have already starting to use the Friess clip so train people is what not to do just like they use the clip of Bill Clinton pointing with his finger while claiming to “not have sexual relations with that woman” which was of course at least two major mistakes.

  27. @superdestroyer: I, for one, hope that you will partake of your profound interest in seeing a media consultant so that they can tell you how a) people get tired of repetition (e.g., “one party state) and how most people find race-based argument offensive and tiresome.

  28. superdestroyer says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Actually, one of things I remember from one class is that reporters have the habit of repeating the same question in the hopes that the people being interviewed will keep expanding their answer each time.

    That is why the consultants tell people to repeat themselves exactly each time.

    Also, if you cared about repetition, you would remark that progressives like Rachel Maddow repeat themsevles during a show and across shows.

    Also, if you want to discuss politics without discussing demographic and voting blocks, then you are not discussing reality.

    Do you really think that Santorum or Romney have a chance to beat President Obama. Do you really think that a conservative party can survive in the U.S. do you really think that government is doing anywhere but up.

    Since you live in Alabama, you should be able to realize some much demographics affects politics.

  29. @superdestroyer: The point being that there is a difference between repetition for effect/reinforcement and sounding the same note constantly and without end. You tend to have only two types of post: race and the single party state (and the two are often merged).

    It is tiresome, repetitive to point of monotonous, and unconvincing.

  30. superdestroyer says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    1. I only discuss race when it is relevant to the topic. Of course, since demographics have such a huge effect on politics and governance in the U.S., it is impossible to discuss politics without discussing race. How does one write about education, poverty, jobs, migration, healthcare without discussing race?

    2. Second, almost every wonk wannabe has been posting about the irrelevant Palin, Trump, Santorum, Bachmann, etc. I just keep pointing out that the Democrats are the relevant politicians in the U.S. and yet, too many bloggers seem to work very hard to never discuss them.