Having Fun on Twitter at Khazei's Expense, Fehrnstrom Couldn't Resist Himself

Friday, August 26, 2011

If you've been following the story about Eric Fehrnstrom impersonating senate candidate Alan Khazei on Twitter, you have to be wondering why.

Why did Fehrnstrom risk embarrassing himself and the high-powered Republicans served by his Chestnut Hill-based consulting firm, The Shawmut Group, by writing a series of tweets that aimed to undercut just one of the eight persons currently vying for the honor of challenging Scott Brown in November, 2012?

Khazei is a likeable and accomplished gentleman, but he he has never held elective office. He was unable to win the senate nomination the first time he tried (2009) and is not exactly busting out of the pack in his second attempt. When's the last time you heard someone say, "That Khazei guy has 'Senator' written all over him."

Why would Fehrnstrom, a top advisor to both Brown and Mitt Romney, go to the trouble of setting up a false Twitter account and spend time composing pretend tweets under the rhyme-name "CrazyKhazei" ?

No one following this account could have believed it was the candidate actually speaking when Fehrnstrom wrote stuff like, "I promise to devote all my time in office to making gay videos. Shame on Scott Brown for focusing on jobs!" or this, "Just got back from sunny California. Thanks to all the elitists for donating to my campaign."

There was no strategic value in this endeavor.

When Fehrnstrom revealed his identity this week by mistakenly sending a "CrazyKhazei" tweet through his own Twitter account, there were the predictable cries of "dirty politics" from the Democrats. Crocodile tears of outrage flowed in the bastions of the elite.

To his credit, Fehrnstrom did not try to cover up, deny or explain away his involvement, nor did he put on a show of mortification and sorrow. "Sometimes we take our politics too seriously," he said, "and this was my way of lightening things up."

We should take him at his word.

Fehrnstrom started his professional life (if you can call it that) as a newspaperman, and he headed the Boston Herald's State House bureau for several years before becoming a press aide to former State Treasurer Joe Malone. My theory is, he was simply using "CrazyKhazei" as an escape valve for his wit.

These were the funny lines that came to him unbidden at all hours of the day, the thought bubbles that popped over his head as he racked up the billable hours in those office towers with the big-paying clients. Once they came to him, he had to share them. Reporters can't resist this kind of thing. They're possessed by a demon insisting to be read and appreciated for his cleverness.

Good thing Fehrnstrom couldn't resist. We do take our politics too seriously nowadays.

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