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Ill-informed Comments From a McCain Staffer About Dungeons And Dragons

by Bob · 34 comments

in Dungeons and Dragons

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2 posts in one day? Must be something in the water…

Anyway,I offer to you the latest from Michael Goldfarb at the John McCain for President website (emphasis mine):

“In the least credible and most vicious corner of the internet, liberal bloggers at the Daily Kos are accusing John McCain of plagiarizing from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The story Solzhenitsyn told was of a prisoner who drew a cross in the dirt in a Soviet Gulag. McCain’s story is of a guard who drew a cross in the dirt in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp.

The only similarity between the two stories is a cross in the dirt, but it is hardly an unlikely coincidence that there were practicing Christians in both Russia and Vietnam, or that in the prisons of those two Communist countries the only crosses to be found were etched in the dirt, as easily disappeared as the Christians who drew them.

But those desperate to discredit Senator McCain’s record will have to impugn his fellow prisoners as well. Orson Swindle, who was held as a prisoner of war along with McCain, tells the McCain Report that he heard this particular story from McCain “when we first moved in together.” That was in the summer of 1971, Swindle said, though “time blurred” and he couldn’t be sure. He said it was some time around then that the Vietnamese moved all “36 troublemakers” into the same quarters, where they “talked about everything under the sun.”

It may be typical of the pro-Obama Dungeons & Dragons crowd to disparage a fellow countryman’s memory of war from the comfort of mom’s basement, but most Americans have the humility and gratitude to respect and learn from the memories of men who suffered on behalf of others. John McCain has often said he witnessed a thousand acts of bravery while he was imprisoned, and though not every one has been submitted into the public record, they are remembered by the men who were there (one such only recently reported by Karl Rove though it escaped mention in any of Senator McCain’s books). But as Swindle said, this is a “desperate group of people trying to make something out of nothing.”

I’m not liberal. I won’t go into politics here, but let’s just say I’m to the right of John McCain at least. I also don’t live in my mom’s basement, and I certainly respect the sacrifice of others, including Senator McCain.

But I won’t be voting for McCain in November. Not as long as Mr. Goldfarb remains on staff. Here was the reply I sent to the McCain for President website:

I am thoroughly disgusted with the comments of Mr. Goldfarb at

I am further to the right, politically, than John McCain. I’m also a Dungeons and Dragons player. I don’t know why Mr. Goldfarb felt the need to connect liberals with D&D, but his comments were ill-informed. Most of the D&D players I know aren’t liberals. In fact, most of them don’t live in their mothers’ basements, either.

There are more than 1 million gamers in the United States. I’m glad to know that Mr. McCain’s lead is so pronounced that he can alienate this segment of the population.

As for me, I won’t be voting for John McCain in November, certainly not as long as Mr. Goldfarb remains on staff.

Here’s the Contact Form for McCain for President, if you need it.

Forget politics for a minute. I’m amazed that this stereotype still exists of gamers in their mom’s basement. What do we have to do to prove it?

Goldfarb is a moron who needs to be fired, plain and simple.

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{ 6 trackbacks }

August 20, 2008 at 1:17 pm
Ace of Spades HQ
August 20, 2008 at 3:14 pm
Vempyre’s clogged thoughts » Blog Archive » McCain vs DnD
August 21, 2008 at 4:20 am
John McCain Campaign Takes Aim at the D&D Crowd
August 21, 2008 at 12:01 pm
McCain Takes a Swipe at Gamers
August 21, 2008 at 1:15 pm
Buy and Sell Products on Ebay » Blog Archive » John McCain Campaign Takes a +3 Vorpal Blade to Dungeons & Dragons Players
August 27, 2008 at 11:08 am

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 David Lacy August 19, 2008 at 6:30 pm

Did you get your little D&D feelings hurt? When D&D is the more important in your decision making than the future of our country, you might as well be living in your mom’s basement.

2 John Soldier August 19, 2008 at 10:50 pm

One thing left out of most stories of McCain’s POW experience… he broke and made propaganda statements for North Vietnam. He may have went through hell, but he broke.

CPT Rocky Versase died rather than break.

3 Bob August 20, 2008 at 6:12 am

@ David – Do you believe it is acceptable for a campaign staffer to insult a segment of the voting population like this? It’s not like he insulted the “pro-choice Obama crowd” or the “anti-war Obama crowd.”

No, this was the “D&D Obama crowd.” That would be like saying the “Basketball Obama crowd,” except that there are fewer RPG players than basketball fans.

This was a bad decision to publish this article, and it’s a bad decision to leave it there, too.

@ John – Thanks for the info, but I’m not interested in the political side of this. At least, not on this blog. I’m interested only in this staffer and his completely unacceptable comments about gamers.

4 The Chatty DM August 20, 2008 at 6:29 am

Man… that was stupid.

Nevermind that a lot of D&D players are bright people who end up becoming technological industry leaders. Some of whom the politicians need to get elected.

Yeah… crit fail on that one for that staffer and nice baiting of “The Hate” Bob!

I need to read you more carefully now! You may be more dnagerous than you look like… :)

The Chatty DMs last blog post..Chatty’s Bedtime Campaign: Nico’s Quest

5 Bob August 20, 2008 at 6:34 am

@ Chatty – you may have been a rockstar at Gen Con, but I got a link from on this one.

So, there. Nyah Nyah ;)

6 Bartoneus August 20, 2008 at 7:32 am

I forget where I read this yesterday, but it’s never a good idea to generalize a group like that, especially in a political campaign.

I think the shame of it is that most people probably don’t consider “D&D fans” to be a big enough group to really care one way or another about this. Great job being more vocal about it!

7 Tommi August 20, 2008 at 8:14 am

Non-sequitur attacks against a random (fringe) group. Classy.

For some of us, the leadership of a far-away country is not a particularly pressing matter.

8 Brett August 20, 2008 at 10:35 am

I don’t disagree the guy is a jerk, almost anyone involved with politics in any way is, but he did apologize almost immediately with good humor.

9 Bob August 20, 2008 at 10:42 am

@ Bart – We’re not that small a population. 1 million voters is nothing to sneeze at!

@ Tommi – non-sequitur indeed. I don’t see the connection between liberal politics and RPGs at all.

@ Brett – That’s an apology for the last time he insulted gamers – just a few weeks back. It obviously didn’t mean anything, because he’s at it again.

The comments are unprofessional and ill-informed. It’s plain old poor judgment to keep this guy on staff.

10 raetsel August 20, 2008 at 1:14 pm

I don’t think it was wise of him to say this in this manner, considering they all have to be so guarded not to offend any little person ever so people don’t cry, but it’s still funny. You know damn well what he meant and who he meant. Was he actually straight-out criticizing -anyone- who plays d&d? No, and you know it. Normally, I would think the better choice would be to go with saying WoW players or mmo players period… that would even have a funnier/bigger backlash to be amused by. I’d use the phrase myself and have… and I play plenty of games/mmos. If you’re not both a gamer and someone who lives in their mom’s basement then stop being offended and pretending it’s such an insult to your dignity.

11 mesablue August 20, 2008 at 3:38 pm

It was an inside joke — sort of.

Don’t get your panties in such a bunch.

12 Great Banana August 20, 2008 at 3:45 pm

If you really are going to base your vote on your perception of someone dissing D&D, you are a sad, sad, little person.

don’t you think there are more important issues in this election? Get a grip.

And, yes, most people still think of “gamers” as dweebs living in their mother’s basement. And, I’m a former gamer – so don’t get all angry at me for pointing out the obvious.

13 Storos August 20, 2008 at 3:50 pm

Wow, time for a serious reality check. Your vote for the next leader of the free world will be determined by who insulted some game you play? Dude.

“Do you believe it is acceptable for a campaign staffer to insult a segment of the voting population like this?”

Dude, over 118 million people voted in 2004. How many of these 1 million gamers actually vote? How many are over the age of 18? A campaign aide insulted a bunch of guys that D&D. He didn’t alienate the Hispanic population here.

“Goldfarb is a moron who needs to be fired, plain and simple.”

You think McCain is going to fire a media consultant because he insulted non-liberal D&D enthusiasts. This is all part of the “Join the rest of us in reality” thing you need to grasp.

“I won’t go into politics here, but let’s just say I’m to the right of John McCain at least.”

I’m an American Idol-watching, MySpace-using, acting-loving young person. That doesn’t mean that that demographic isn’t dominated by libs.

14 mesablue August 20, 2008 at 4:20 pm

This thread needs some — LIGHTNING BOLT!!!

15 Daaaaa August 20, 2008 at 4:24 pm

Wow, he’s joking around obviously.

Do you ever call yourself a “geek”? Do you think the comic book guy is a funny character on the simpsons? These are all long running comedic stereotypes.

Get a life.

16 MrAnxietyDisorder August 20, 2008 at 6:12 pm

Hah, joke’s on him. I live upstairs.

17 Bob August 20, 2008 at 6:15 pm

No one has addressed my biggest concern here:

The staffer identifies D&D players with liberals. My problem isn’t as much the overdone “mom’s basement” thing (although I think this is as harmful a stereotype as the “Dumb Blonde” stereotype). My problem was the “D&D Obama crowd.”

Not all D&D players are liberals any more than all football fans are conservatives.

Look. I never said this was the one thing to base a vote on. I’ve got plenty of other reasons I don’t like McCain (and more reasons I don’t like Obama). This isn’t the place to discuss all of that. This is an RPG blog, so I discuss RPG-related issues.

What I am saying is that there are things McCain could do to be wooing voters – and that this doesn’t woo me in the slightest. In fact, it adds another strike against him, mainly because the staffer feels the need to insult me and my friends as a group on several levels.

18 DP August 20, 2008 at 6:38 pm

@ MrAnxietyDisorder


To the author:

Dude, you don’t have a thin skin, you have no skin at all. Life is too short. Lighten up and laugh a little.

19 Poweruser August 21, 2008 at 2:23 am

*sigh* While this alone isn’t a vote determining thing, it does blatantly display a very big issue with McCain for myself and others: The man (and his staff) are a clutch of ignorant nematodes. I’m so tired of his shenanigans at this point I can’t actually muster more to say.

20 Tommi August 21, 2008 at 3:06 am

“Your vote for the next leader of the free world will be determined by who insulted some game you play?”

Ahem. Since when has the president of the US had ruling power over the free world? The world is a pretty big place.

Tommis last blog post..Laser clerics, or 4e bashing

21 Rev August 21, 2008 at 8:56 am

As a European, I’m not entitled to a vote in this election.

However, I am entitled to an opinion on it.

This random slur in and off itself isn’t a big deal. However, it is deeply worrying as an indicator of the McCain campaign’s level of research.

The number of voters who are libeled by that statement is not the issue. The issue is that a political campaign is capable of producing such a random piece of libel in the first place.

That is deeply unprofessional.

Until now, I’ve considered both candidates pretty equal. Both have policies I approve & disapprove of.

My opinion is now swinging towards hoping Obama gets elected on the basis of competence by association.

22 Dr. Locrian August 21, 2008 at 11:44 am

I was under the impression that gaming wasn’t really liberal OR conservative. It’s a big hobby.

People who believe similar things will naturally gravitate towards one another–in my anecdotal experience, the majority of gamers are either on the liberal side or maybe have libertarian tendencies.

23 Wolfgang G. Wettach August 21, 2008 at 11:31 pm

Not wanting to spam your blog with copy&paste of my own entry (where I link here), I’ll just do a manual trackback for my english language LiveJournal posting on the topic:

24 McE August 22, 2008 at 9:40 am

Well, if this incident causes any sort of alignment change, you’re welcome to join POD&DC.


25 Bob August 23, 2008 at 11:24 am

@ DP – I laugh often and loud, my friend. But it doesn’t mean I can’t call out a political staffer for declaring that D&D players are all liberals who live in basements.

@ Poweruser – For me, it’s one issue among many, sure.

@ Tommi – You have to realize something. When Americans talk about our president as “leader” of the free world, we’re not talking about “rule.” We simply mean to say that we believe our country to be on the cutting edge of freedom. That doesn’t mean anything bad about other countries, and it surely doesn’t mean we think we have any power over sovereign nations.

@ Rev – That’s my point, here. The remarks were unprofessional. Now, the other side has had several unprofessional actions, too, but in this context I’m most interested in the gaming connection.

@ Dr. L – It is indeed anecdotal. The vast majority of my gaming friends are conservative. I’ve met a roughly equal amount of liberal and conservative gamers other places, such as at Gen Con. I think gamers are probably balanced right down the middle – like much of the country.

@ McE – Not bloody likely ;) However, can I say that’s freaking hilarious?

Bobs last blog post..What I Learned from Gen Con 2008 – Part 2

26 Tommi August 25, 2008 at 2:53 pm


Okay. I think that is very much not true, either, but this is probably not the place for that particular discussion.

27 Jack Phillips August 28, 2008 at 9:44 pm

Thanks for bringing attention to this. I didn’t plan on voting for McCain before, and now this just makes me loose what little respect I had left for his group.

Jack Phillipss last blog post..It’s Getting Mighty Crowded: World of Darkness

28 Mackenheimer August 30, 2008 at 12:26 pm

You believe America to be on the cutting edge of Freedom?! From starting an illegal war in Iraq to destabilizing the world’s economy, not to mention the fact that your own police are arresting your citizens for reading from the constitution at peace rallies. I for one would prefer if you stopped using the term leader of the free world, as it has been shown to be the most hypocritical thing to come out of America since apartheid in the 50′s.

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