I have heard it muttered that the Web was responsible for the election of Barack Obama. So I have sudden cause to wonder whether the Web can also be used to prevent a candidate from getting elected.
I am brought to this wonderment by an election for a judgeship in McClain County in Oklahoma, one that is being characterized by some splendid online activity.
John Mantooth would like to become a judge. His daughter and son-in-law, on the other hand, appear to think he is the type to give people chocolates filled with worms. Now I am not entirely sure if worm-filled chocolate giving should automatically disqualify someone from being a judge. There are a couple of people I can think of who might deserve such desserts and I think I'd make a very passable judicial presence.
Still, voters will learn this from a site called Donotvoteformydad.com--which has been helpfully created by his daughter, Jan Schill, and her husband--that Mantooth hasn't entirely endeared himself to everyone.
Some of the posts on the site are positively pained. Especially when it comes to the worms and weevils that were alleged to reside in a box of chocolates that Mantooth left with his son-in-law as a gift for his daughter.
"Offering a chocolate to one of my friends, I took a quick bite. However, upon recognizing an unfamiliar and unpleasant taste I yelled in shock for my friend to stop. My deepest momentary fear was realized when a survey of the remaining chocolate revealed the remains of the numerous worms and weevils that had long ago devoured the aged chocolate," reads the post from Andrew Schill.
According to the Huffington Post, Mantooth has not enjoyed a perfect relationship with his daughter since 1981. Jan Schill, his daughter, told the Huffington Post: "We just felt like it would be bad if he were to become a judge. I assumed that he would not appreciate it, but he's made so many people mad, I'm just another mark on his board of people's he's had a beef with."
I assume that the site is, indeed, a rather poetic version of the chocolates.
Strangely, the chocolate theme has continued in some of the verbal jousting. Mantooth reportedly believes that his son-in-law has an interest in seeing his non-election because he was once partner in a law firm with one of Mantooth's opponents, Greg Dixon.
"For a person to believe that Greg Dixon had nothing to do with this is like trying to believe that cows give chocolate milk," Mantooth told the Huffington Post.
Andrew and Jan Schill deny Dixon's involvement. However, the site, at the time of eating my Cadbury's Caramello and writing this, has experienced almost 400,000 visits.
What a sweet impression Jan Schill gives of her father on the site: "District 21 judicial candidate John Mantooth is not a good father, not a good grandfather and in my opinion a review of his 37 year record as an attorney in Cleveland, Garvin and McClain Counties reveals that he would not be a good judge."
I have watched enough daytime TV to know that sometimes fathers and daughters fall out. But it will be more than fascinating to see whether this site (and a quarter page ad in a local newspaper that features Jan Schill's post) can truly turn an election, being held Tuesday.
It's a good thing Hillary and Chelsea get on, isn't it?