Clendenen campaign manager calls ventriloquism act ‘political theater’

Fortuna ventriloquist Bill Thorington, the somewhat stilted voice behind sideman Clif Clendenen, called managing the apple grower’s campaign for the Second District seat on the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors the “biggest challenge” of his professional career.

“Talk about a dummy,” Thorington said, shaking Clendenen’s head. “I’ve worked with sock puppets that knew more about the issues than this guy.”

Thorington said they tried running the real Clendenen for the seat, currently filled by Roger Rodoni, but after hours of instruction and public speaking classes, the candidate still sounded “uninformed, wooden and not completely human.”

Thorington credited Fourth District Supervisor Bonnie Neely with the idea of using a Clendenen puppet to run against Rodoni as political payback for the incumbent’s independent voting record.

“Bonnie was a godsend,” Thorington said, noting that Neely kicked off Clendenen’s campaign by assigning her own longtime political handler, Meghan Vogel, to file the necessary paperwork and put semi-intelligent words in the candidate’s mouth until management duties could be transferred to a professional ventriloquist.

Neely also made introductions between campaign staff and disgraced political has-been Richard Salzman, who helps produce much of the dialog for the act.

Additionally, Thorington said, the campaign was “indebted” to Neely for leaking county information to the duo so that Clendenen could appear better informed than he is or ever will be.

“That letter Clif suggested the county send to the Palco bankruptcy court, it looked an awful lot like the one the board proposed a couple days later, didn’t it?” Thorington asked, pulling strings in Clendenen’s back so that the candidate appeared to be winking and smiling.

When asked if it was appropriate for one supervisor to blatantly attempt to unseat another, Thorington replied without moving his lips.

“This is just political theater. None of it’s real. Besides, Roger dug his own grave. He should know better than to stand up to Neely or ‘vote his conscience’ or whatever crap he wants to call it. I can assure you the board will have no such difficulties with Clif.”

Former biased news reporter Estelle Fennell is also running for the second district seat. Insiders believe her campaign is unlikely to survive a primary challenge in June, when it will likely be revealed that Eureka City Councilman Chris Kerrigan is pimping a low-level associate from John Edwards’ failed presidential crusade to manage her campaign.


17 Responses

  1. Leaping lizards bug – I damn near shot coffee all over my computer box after reading this one.

    Thorington ought to pay more attention to the whole problem of lip syncing with Cliff. Last couple of times they let Cliff off of his very short leash Cliff’s mouth was moving differently than the words Thorington was saying. Maybe Thorington should quit trying to hide behind him and just come out in front.

  2. I read one of Clendenen’s daily news releases about nothing and even attended one of his public forums. I shit you not Thorington either answered or added to every reply Clendenen gave to every question he was asked. It was a bunch of, “What Clif meant to say was” BS. Is this and Mark Lovelace really the best the county has to offer?

  3. Aw campaign managers. The great clarifiers. But what’s Salzman going to do with Neely backing Clendenen and Kerrigan helping Estelle? Sing it with me: ‘Torn between two lovers…’

  4. Aw shucks, here I was laughing at the Rodoni voted his conscience sentence and then I saw you meant it seriously.

  5. Oh trust us, Kym. We don’t mean any of it seriously. But in the continuing comedic battle between our illustrious elected officials, we’re still giving Neely the nod for providing the most laughs, although that could be simply because she’s been at it longer. Much, much longer.

  6. The bird is back – but what’s with the swallow, I want the whacky McCaw!

    Hey and where did Neely’s nameplate go? Don’t tell me we are now bashing Ronald McDonald!

  7. It’s all in the name. You underestimate Estelle Fennell.

  8. Seeking sanctuary from homeless gadfly blog and I am ROTFLMAO, not my SA, mind you.
    Love the bug.

  9. If Clendenen wins do we all get a free gallon of apple cider? Why should politicians be the only ones getting the bribes, what about the voters, we need bribes too?

    Mmmm, cider.

  10. The bugs are thinking about running in the Sixth District. We’ll bribe the shit out of everyone if we do!!

  11. In that case, you need to swing by John’s Liquor and order some of that 24-year old scotch, because the cider might be nice for an afternoon autumn picnic, but if the Bug wants in, the price goes up.

  12. What??! What about the bug love?

  13. You know Humbug, I think there ought to be a sixth district, kind of like the sixth dimension.

  14. HCDCC just pushed Local Solutions off a Clif and endorsed Estelle Fennell!

  15. Bonnie does want it HER way (I still favor the Burger King er Queen tiara)….She is amazing isn’t she??? Can we spell arrogance in this County or what?????

  16. Yes HCDCC endorsed the only Democrat in the race, isn’t that strange?

  17. I think you made up the Thorington quotes for this article. CLiff does indeed have a voice all his own, he doesn’t do a lot of screaming, yelling or cussing out like some other public officials. Besides – Rodoni was one of the ‘good ol’ boys’ who for decades (he and his ilk) has run this county for their own personal profit – big profits for a very few, leaving a sickly environment and worse economy in their wake. I say good ridance to the Rodoni crowd of empire builders and thank goodness we now a a real person in that post. A person who wants to serve the public – not themselves.

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