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NASCAR Bumper Sticker Decision

I think this decision is just silly, but then I am of the opinion that everyone should be allowed to contribute what they want to candidates as long as there is full disclosure.

In a decision announced Tuesday, the FEC sent an "admonishment letter" to Kirk Shelmerdine Racing. Kirk Shelmerdine, a former pit boss for the late Dale Earnhardt, has been an unsuccessful, underfunded and undersponsored driver. He has never finished higher than 26th.

So back in 2004, in a move perhaps designed to draw some attention to his car, he placed a "Bush-Cheney '04" decal on his rear quarter panel, which was otherwise unencumbered by advertising. Democratic activist Sydnor Thompson complained to the FEC, and the agency found that Shelmerdine "may have made an unreported independent expenditure or a prohibited corporate expenditure."

Former commissioner Bradley Smith dissented in one of the case's early votes and blogged about the result this week. He has written that in reference to the FEC's $250 expenditure limit, "evidence is strong that the market value of Shelmerdine's rear quarter panel was approximately $0, give or take $249."


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Comments (12)

I don't think that politics... (Below threshold)

I don't think that politics should be involved in sports at all. A lot of people -- like me -- use sports as a respite from the tumult of politics and when we're smacked with gratuitous partisanship such as that, it's intrusive. And from a more practical standpoint, NASCAR is like any other business, they don't want to offend their customers, so things that would drive viewers away will be discouraged.

How are sports entertainers... (Below threshold)

How are sports entertainers any different than musicians and actors?

After the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, I sent my brother (a big Sox fan) a "Why Not Us?" shirt that Curt Schilling had made. Once he found out Curt was "pitching for Bush" in the Presidential election he sent the shirt back to me. I told him imagine what Conservatives have to go through every time they want to watch TV, a movie, or listen to the radio (country music excluded). He actually said "Yah, that must suck" and I think he meant it.

Blackcat, you just describe... (Below threshold)

Blackcat, you just described how I feel when I go to a concert, only to have Eddie Vedder put a Bush mask on the microphone and punch it. If I wanted that, I'd have gone to a protest or a rally.

As for business decisions... maybe they know their audience. Both NASCAR, and in my example, Pearl Jam, and decided to please 80+ pecent at the expense of the rest.
Where the Dixie Chicks did the exact opposite.
The first 2, if I recall, can still put buts in seats. :)

>>How are sports entertaine... (Below threshold)

>>How are sports entertainers any different than musicians and actors?

They aren't. If entertainers want to appear at a political event, that's their business and they can express their opinions as they see fit, but if they are just putting on a performance, they should leave the politics at the door.

Correct me if I'm wrong, bu... (Below threshold)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I am currently under the impression that there are less than five registered Democrats among current Nascar Nextel Cup drivers. So if that is accurate, it seems that the political lines have already been drawn on the asphalt - the finish line. Hendrick Motorsports has the largest Democrat stable of the bunch - coincidence?

>>The first 2, if I recall,... (Below threshold)

>>The first 2, if I recall, can still put buts in seats. :)

I just went over to Amazon and the current Dixie Chicks album is second in sales to a Johnny Cash collection in the Country category, so they're not doing too bad. :)

I respect the right of the members of the group to believe as they choose and even to express that belief. But if they do, they can't whine about people who take offense at their public remarks by avoiding their albums and performances. Maybe the best thing that could come of this would be that other performers will stop and think before shooting off their mouths.

Blackcat, agreed. You can ... (Below threshold)

Blackcat, agreed. You can have freedom of speech, but had best be prepared for the consequences when other people excercise theirs in response.

However, I was referring to the floundering concert series the DCs have had


They either mistook how much they had crossed the genre boundry or how many of the traditional country fans they had lost (if not some of each)

So, has the FEC fined Eddie... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

So, has the FEC fined Eddie Vedder and the Dixie Chicks yet? They mouth off (advertise) to thousands of people at their concerts.

Why do they get away with supporting Dems but a NASCAR driver can't support our President?

Why the double standard?

Funny, free speech used to ... (Below threshold)

Funny, free speech used to be a liberal ideal.

NASCAR: Fast cars for slow... (Below threshold)

NASCAR: Fast cars for slow minds.

DNC: Fast talk for suckers.... (Below threshold)

DNC: Fast talk for suckers.

I WOULD RATHER WATCH NASCAR... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:







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