Saturday, February 2, 2008

More on John H. Cox

I encourage you to read the May 2007 Weekly Standard article The Sane Fringe Candidate. Both humorous and telling, it describes the story of a candidate who is running for President who doesn't want to sell his soul to the devil. A few excerpts:

A good Reaganite conservative, Cox has tried to be self-sufficient, financing his campaign thus far to the tune of $800,000. After 20 trips, he's been to all 99 counties in Iowa. He's been to New Hampshire 14 times, and South Carolina, 10. He's won a Republican straw poll outright in Aiken County, South Carolina, and finished fifth in total votes among all Republican contenders when three other counties were totaled. And yet, he's lucky if he ever gets mentioned in mainstream media candidate roundups. Meanwhile, doing interviews with the Small Government Times just isn't putting him over the top....

I've spent a fair amount of time around fringe candidates, but he didn't seem like the others. He doesn't own a sandwich board or a megaphone. He never says "blood for oil" when critiquing the war in Iraq. His suits fit, and he has no tendrils of out-of-control ear hair....

Cox, 51, is a self-made man. He finished college in two and a half years "because I was paying for it," he says, adding, "My daughter finished in five years--because I was paying for it."...

In the mid-'90s, he led a group that purchased the Jays Foods potato chip manufacturer, sparing more than 600 local jobs and taking it from a $17-million loss to a $3-million profit in less than a year....

He spent around $200,000 of his own money running for the [Cook County] recorder's job on the promise to eliminate the position as wasteful spending if he won--the kind of idea that used to fire up conservatives back when they were, how to put it, conservative....

The advantage of writing about someone who has absolutely no chance of winning is that you get to dictate terms. I agreed to see John Cox, but told him there'd be some conditions. I would not be manhandled or warded off at crucial junctures by any punk press secretaries. Also, I would be granted exclusive access. He told me nobody wanted access, so that wouldn't be a problem. He added that I'd better get out there shortly, he was having an important press conference on Monday. That would mean I'd have to fly to Chicago on Sunday. But it was perfect weather outside, and I wanted to get some fishing in over the weekend. "Can you bump it to Tuesday?" I asked. "I don't see why not," he said....

Cox feels that none of the current crop of Republicans is actually carrying the leadership mantle of Ronald Reagan. And it's not, he wishes you to know, like he's one of those weirdo Reagan fetishists. Reagan had plenty of faults. "It's not that he was some giant," Cox says. "It's just that he stood head and shoulders above all the other midgets."

Cox feels he can do the same, given the faux-conservative "Rudy McRomney" midgets currently in the on-deck circle. He says he doesn't even necessarily want to be president--he has a great life--he just wants to see the job done properly. "I'm pissed, because I expected something better out of a conservative Republican president. On everything--Iraq, immigration, spending." And many true conservatives he meets feel the same, which is how a no-name like him can win a South Carolina straw poll, a feat he mentions at the slightest prompting, or at none....

[At the press conference] Cox eyes us two journalists, then says, "No need to go there," nodding at the podium. Instead, he pulls up a chair next to us. "It's much more intimate this way," I say, trying to make him feel better. "Most of my gatherings are pretty intimate," he says, with a pained smile. He tells us he is on the South Carolina ballot, and hits the highlights of his platform: how he wants to eliminate the IRS and our disastrous, confusing, punitive tax system and go to a "fair tax" (a consumption tax), how he's pro-life and pro-Social Security reform, how he's anti-spending and anti-corruption. I can't speak for the radio reporter, but to me it sounds pretty good. Though he didn't have to go into all those details. He had me at "eliminate the IRS."


Matt Labash felt so sorry for Cox that he arranged for Cox to infiltrate a 2007 debate at the Reagan Library (to which Cox, the passionate Reaganite, had ironically been excluded).

Before joining up with Cox, I'd told him that I was credentialed for the debate, so he should get someone from his campaign to apply to be my photographer, which Herren had done. The next day--debate day--we arrive early at the press credentialing table. I pick up my lammie, and Dan picks up his, giving it to Cox. Cox and I board the media shuttle bus at the bottom of a hill that runs us up to the Reagan Library. Cox, it appears, will have his day in the spin room.

But he is unhappy about the whole arrangement. It demeans him, he feels. I tell him to get with the program. His look is all wrong. For one thing, he's wearing American eagle suspenders over a crisp, white dress shirt. If he wants to pass for a journalist, he can't go around looking patriotic. "Put on your suit jacket," I tell him. As we arrive at the Library and walk through its gates, I give him more pointers on how to pass for a reporter. "If you see anything free, especially a drink, take it," I say. I hand him a prop reporter's notebook, and tell him if anyone asks why he's not holding a camera, since he's supposed to be my photographer, tell them he's taking mental pictures.

As I leave him at a courtyard buffet table, where journalists are inhaling raspberry sugar cookies and iced tea (the bar doesn't open until later), I turn to interview some elderly docents, who give me details on the Library's architecture and vegetation. I watch out of the corner of my eye, as Cox, on his cell phone, walks across the lawn. He might as well be wearing a neon "imposter" sign: His posture is too good, his clothes are too pressed, he is way too distinguished-looking and silver-haired, like Blake Carrington out for a stroll--really un-journalist-like. He disappears from my radar. Minutes later, when I find him again, he is standing next to a burly security goon outside the gate. I ask him what happened. "Umm, the guy came over and found out who I am." I ask how that could've happened. Not a single person had recognized him since we'd been there. "I told him," Cox says unapologetically. "I'm not going to lie to anybody."

We are bounced from the debate before it even begins.


This story is followed by one of the most impressive sentences that I have ever seen from a journalist:

As we ride past the fringe-sters on the curb--Ron Paul supporters wearing dolphin suits to illustrate Mitt Romney's flip flops, guys in "Stop Chemtrails" hats, etc.--Cox grows reflective....

A few months later, Cox put together a music video.



The Right's Field was not impressed:

It’s GOP fear-mongering meets cheap ’80s hair band rock.

My favorite part is where the video has several pictures of key Republicans and Democrats on the Hill and that of a storm trooper from the film Star Wars. I’m. Not. Kidding.

I’ve seen 7th grade A/V class productions better than this.


Unfortunately, the Right's Field unintentionally drummed up support for Cox from the all-important Led Zeppelin wing of the Republican Party:

Wait, what!? “cheap ’80s hair band rock?!”

Anyone who calls The Mighty Zep “cheap ’80s hair band rock” loses all credibility.

John Cox has raised the bar for supreme YouTube awesomeness. This is postmodernism at its finest. This is what we’ve been waiting for!

Left by Jed
August 8, 2007 at 5:07pm


By October 2007, Cox had moved to a stairway to Iowa, unfettered by other Republican candidates who didn't bother to court the black women at Sisters on Target.

It was a tough crowd Saturday night - at least for the sole Republican who spoke at a dinner for Sisters on Target, a nonpartisan alliance of black women, in Des Moines.

Three Democrats attended: Joe Biden, a senator from Delaware; Hillary Clinton, a senator from New York who is the Democratic front-runner both nationally and in Iowa; and Barack Obama, a senator from Illinois.

The night started off well for Republican businessman John Cox of Chicago. He got a laugh when he said: "I'm not a celebrity. You won't see me on 'Law & Order' tonight."...


But Cox apparently was a little ahead of his time. Remember the questioner in the Hollywood Obama-Clinton debate a few days ago who talked about having Bushes and/or Clintons on the national ballot for 30 years? No one really complained about that question a few days ago, but they certainly weren't pleased when Cox raised the same issue a few months back:

He ran into trouble when he gave his reason for running for president: "Because for 20 years we've had nothing but Bushes and Clintons in the White House. With all due respect to Senator Clinton, she's a lovely lady, but I think in a country of 300 million people we ought to be able to do something better than Bushes and Clintons."

That was met with murmurs of displeasure and scattered, weak applause.

"Yeah, he messed up. Not going to vote for him," said Artelia Hoffman, a retired teacher aide from Des Moines. "He might as well sit down."


But while Cox turned people away for raising the issue, guess who raised the issue and got away with it?

Obama said nearly the same thing minutes later.

"There are a lot of good candidates in this race, and I admire them all, but the fact is that we've been hearing the same thing from Republicans and Democrats for the last 30 years," he said. "The question is not who can say the right words but who will have the judgment and courage to act on those words, even when it's inconvenient."

He got a roaring standing ovation.


Sometimes you just can't win.

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2 comments:

The Anti Cox said...

"Sometimes you just can't win."

You're right. And this guy CANNOT win. He got 40 votes in New Hampshire, a few more than that in South Carolina. Zero in Iowa. He's spent a million dollars and has blown through five campaign managers. The guy is an egotistical millionaire who simply likes to buy a place on state GOP ballots. A fringe candidate, as these citations above make very very clear.

Any hero worship of this pathetic character is very misplaced. There is one REAL conservative in the race now (Romney) and if people can't figure it out by now, they have no business flirting with LOSERS like Cox, who has just about two dozen supporters" across the country after 19 months of solid, daily campaigning behind him.

Ontario Emperor said...

How things change when you revisit them.