Fred Karger is not your average Republican candidate for president in
2012. For one thing, he's moderate. For another, he's Jewish. And
for another, he's gay. While he never hid his politics or religion
from the world, he did keep his homosexuality a secret for years. He
was 41 when he finally came out to his family. And in his 27 years at
one of the most highly regarded political consulting firms in the
U.S., he never told his peers. Only after Karger retired in 2004 did
he reveal himself.
The revelations coincided with a new found social activism that
blossomed in 2008 when Karger became involved in the effort to save
same sex marriage in California (the battle over Proposition 8). In
"outing" the Mormon Church's secret funding of the campaign to
eliminate same sex marriage, Karger found himself the subject of
international headlines; vitriolic condemnation by the Church and its
front, the National Organization for Marriage; and even received a
death threat. He also received numerous messages from gay men and
women – many of them young – thanking him for his efforts.
Having worked on hundreds of political campaigns, including nine
presidential races, Karger was energized to run for president.
As he makes clear in this book, crashing the party is nothing new to
him. In his youthfully exuberant days, he crashed the stage at the
Academy Awards twice, Hubert Humphrey's campaign plane, and, yes, even
the White House. "When you are a closeted gay person, you learn to be
creative," he explains.
In FRED WHO, Karger – with uncommon candor and poignant humor – answers
the question that everyone from Sir David Frost to Rachel Maddow, from
the New York Times to Politico, has been asking for the last several
months: Who the hell is Fred Karger? He painstakingly relates what it
is like to live in the closet, afraid to tell family, friends,
colleagues, and the candidates for whom he works. He shares the
lessons learned working for the likes of Ronald Reagan and George H.W.
Bush. And he offers wonderful stories about life on the political
trail and in Hollywood (where he was an actor before turning to
politics. Sound familiar?)
By the end of this memoir, the reader will indeed know who Fred Karger
is and have new insights into the many worlds that he has inhabited.
You may even want to support his candidacy.
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