Maine GOP attack-flier condemns Democratic candidate for playing an orc rogue in online game

A flier distributed by the Maine GOP attacks Democratic state senate candidate Colleen Lachowicz for playing an orc assassin rogue in World of Warcraft, using quotes she's made about the virtual violence her imaginary fairy-tale creature gets up to in order to imply that she is unfit for office. Timothy Lee has more on Ars Technica:

"I love poisoning and stabbing! It is fun," the flyer quotes Lachowicz as saying. The candidate is apparently a regular commenter at DailyKos, a liberal blog. And the Maine GOP has mined the site looking for what it regards as damning comments. Most of Lachowicz's remarks were posted in 2009 or 2010, most likely before she began her current campaign for office.

"I can kill stuff without going to jail," she wrote in December 2009. "There are some days when this is more necessary than others." The flyer points voters to a website, called "Colleen's World," that highlights more cases where she describes virtual violence she committed in the online world.

Candidate for Maine State Senate attacked for Warcraft character


  1. If I was on the fence about an electoral race, a postcard like this would definitely make my mind up – in favour of the gamer.

    1. On the one hand, yeah.  But on the other, Azeroth sounds like a WoW-type game, so who knows how much actual work might get done in her term of office? :-P

      1.  If we could get legislators at all levels hooked on mmorpg’s, so that they had less and less time to pass laws, on balance this would be a significant improvement.

      2. Yikes, I think it’s become apparent that I’ve never played WoW.  And I don’t intend to, even with Bloon Tower Defense I can lose days and days on end.  If I ever started on WoW, nobody would ever see me again!

        1. I played WoW for 30 mins once, decided it was a Huge time-sink and I already had enough of those installed on my PC and in my life

    2. Maybe YOU would vote for her, but she definitely could lose a big chunk of the valuable Elf vote because of this.

  2. Goodness only knows what the Republicans will say when they find out the ex-governor of California is a time-travelling cyborg assassin.

    1. …But if he’s from the future, where do we go to look for the birth-certificate? Do we just… wait?

      It sickens me to think that a lot of the Right-wing birther loonies, prior to 2008, were seriously talking about amending the United States Constitution to allow the (Austrian-born) Governator to run for president.

      Also, it should be pointed out; the OTHER candidate for president in 2008, John McCain, dosen’t have a birth certificate, because he was born in: PANAMA. 

      I nearly broke my neck from the moral relativistic whiplash.

      1.  Well, if the cyborgs follow country of origin guidelines, it should be printed somewhere on him.

  3. im willing to vote against anyone who plays world of warcraft, ive seen too many people ruin their lives over that game

  4. LOL! Out of all the slimy things these politicians are involved with… this one would be an angel if this is the worst dirt they have on her.

    Suddenly hoping my Grand Theft Auto antics never come to question during a job interview! :(

    1.  Don’t worry, it’s really the skull humping in all the first person shooters that will sink you.

  5. I wonder what a political smear campaign looks like when someone runs for office in Second Life.

      1. I thought those were just a traditional part of the campaign, like the balloon drops at party conventions.

  6. Hm.  Is political assassination legal inside World of Warcraft?  (If not, could the jail term you serve inside the game be used against you in the real world?)

    1. Sure it is legal… you even get an achievement and a mount for killing all the leaders of the opposing faction. And in this expansion we are going to get rid of the unpopular leader of one of the factions the old fashioned way… by kicking his butt. Although I’m not sure if torches and pitchforks will be provided for the raid.

        1. I’m not totally 100% sure that they said “kill”, but at least that we are going to go take him out as the final raid boss (or something to that effect), so… that’s what I’m assuming.

    1. Until the ones who don’t comprehend it decide that the most sensible course is to burn the witch.

        1. One of the most powerful shamans in the WoW-verse is Thrall, the main protagonist of the orc nation. Nerd. 

    1.  I actually think that’s a rogue in-joke, heh. Other classes do damage per second – rogues to deaths per second.

  7. Republicans don’t understand gaming or fantasy (except their own brand). They don’t acknowledge that we all have aggressive instincts, and that play is the best place for them.

    In fact they don’t seem to understand much. But we knew that.

    Of course, choosing the Horde does betray a certain lack of maturity ;)

        1. Don’t be completely sure. The NRA is so completely ’round the bend, the sorts of politicians they work to get into office are the sort likely to cause things to blow up all over the world. Sure, the NRA’s advocacy for a machine gun in every room of every house doesn’t affect you directly, but the loons they back well might.

          1. If the argument is that the purpose of the 2nd amendment is a guarantee against government tyranny (and the language is pretty clear that’s the case) then it guarantees the right to whatever armaments would be required to overthrow a tyrannical US government.  At this point, that would mean two nukes in every garage and an ICBM in the chimney to deliver them.

    1. Stereotype, not true, have known plenty of Republican gamers over the years.  We try not to talk politics. 

      1. The Alliance has surprisingly mature kiddies, while the Horde has surprisingly immature adults.

    2.   Alternative modes of thinking, being, playing and imagination are all threatening to the core Republican mindset – they all imply an alternative political landscape is possible.  The name of the game is limiting political choice and to do this alternative sets of of possibility must be abrogated.  This is why artists for instance are always the first to go, at least the imaginative, groundbreaking ones, they are the canaries in the coalmine as it were. MMO’s seem to nicely fit in here (at least for me).   Also, I ve always looked upon choosing Alliance as betraying an inability to accept otherness ; )

    3. I always thought it was strange in TV and Movie ratings to warn that something has “Supernatural themes”   Ohhhhhhh blasphemers.

  8. But!  You’re a true patriot and not at all crazy if you buy lots of guns and bullets with every burp on Fox News and go the gun range and pretend that you’re killing your boss or the politician you don’t like or whatever.  

  9. I’ve played a sith in SWTOR and have pretty well done every evil thing possible. Apparently I am now unfit for political office. YAYYYY!!!

    1.  Weirdly enough I have encountered virtual racism in WOW.  In a kinda related story,  a small group of skinheads dressed as Droogies (they were fond of saying they didn’t dress any differently than usual) crashed a Halloween party I was at once.  I happened to have my face painted totally green at the time, and the leader looked at me closely upon encountering me and stated: “Do you know your face is green?”

    2. “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”- John Rogers

      And even if the Republican candidate wasn’t a Randroid, they’re probably a Tom Clancy fan…

  10. I tried to follow the link and got a 503 error. Have the reprobates at 4chan aimed their LOICs at the Maine GOP?

  11. I’m not an Orc-ist, but I do think she’s WAY unfit for office. Mostly because WoW is such a jealous mistress. ‘Santiaga’ is level 85  (see link below), the highest level in the game up until last Tuesday, when it was raised to 90. If you’ve done this kind of leveling a couple of times already, and know all the tricks, you MIGHT be able to finish it within a full week of dedicated 8 hour days. But for everyone else, we’re talking about a month or more of WAKING play hours if that’s your only task.

    But most people don’t play that way. They piddle and have fun, and eventually – after YEARS –  reach that level. And that’s just one character. Most players have multiples to experience the different classes. Also, she’s a member of a guild (second link). Many guilds are hella-fratty (yes, hella), commanding 4 AM meet-ups, various participation ‘tithes’, gold contributions, and a baseline of hours logged each week. Her ‘Wreck List’ guild isn’t elite, but as a top-level player, and as the highest ‘rank’ in her guild (7), she probably carries more responsibility than most of her fellow guild members.

    Yes, there are many Santiagas on WoW, but the one referenced in the links is located in the US Eastern ‘realm’ – and there’s only one Orc rogue named Santiaga there.

    This information is all public knowledge. There are very few privacy protections for this kind of social networking, mostly because people are PROUD of their ranks/levels/baubles on WoW and actively advertise them. I mean, Santiaga IS accomplished, but in the Ashrita Furman vein.

    WoW provides players with a running count of the hours they’ve spent in Azeroth, across all of their characters. It’s one of the few things that ARE private about the game. Santiaga knows that number. And for that reason, I’m guessing she probably didn’t laugh this ad off the way everyone here did. I really don’t know a single living mammal in Maine, but it bothers me how flippant everyone was about this. This isn’t “Parents Just Don’t Understand” funny. This is Trainspotting’s “dead baby on the ceiling” funny. There are not enough hours in the year for this woman to be good – or even ‘not truant’ – at a day job. And don’t tell me ‘she might not play as much after winning the election’. Past record is exactly what we’re SUPPOSED to be looking at in candidates. I don’t care if she didn’t INHALE the Mists of Pandaria. I get it, not every person who plays WoW is obsessive. But spotting the difference between a casual gamer and a compulsive will soon become part of informed voting. I, for one, plan to keep playing video games until arthritis kicks in. Then I’ll play Wii. Then I’ll play teledildo, which will be the new WoW.

    While it’s admirable that Bill Clinton plays saxophone, and while some people can even make a living playing saxophone, it should affect your ’92 vote, McFly, if you learn that, as a matter of arithmetic, Clinton spent more time playing saxophone as governor than governing.  No puritan.

    1. It’s a good recommendation for her current position; highest level in the guild you say? She has shown dedication, responsibility and commitment to her community.

      1. Super true.  I’m just saying those are latent and ongoing responsibilities/compulsions.  At any job, you’re going to get fired if your second job starts to interfere with your first.  And I really don’t even like to imagine ANY lawmaker finding time for a second job.  

        I’m trying, and failing, to find an analogy that isn’t offensive.  Let’s try this – hypersomnia.  Not narcolepsy, mind you.  Imagine a person who requires 20 hours of sleep a day.  Now imagine the hiring/firing process is en masse and a right (like an election).  In what universe is a voter just supposed to ignore that condition?  

        Sleep indirectly makes me better at my job.  But if I do too much…. I think that jibes, right?  

        1. It doesn’t take a year to get to the top level for a char.  Being in a demanding guild though and ya, you’ll lose sleep.  I quit because it was just a crazy time vacuum.

        2.  “And I really don’t even like to imagine ANY lawmaker finding time for a second job.”

          As a data point, consider that in NY state legislators are officially part timers.

          1. And in Vermont they’re actually part-timers- the legislature only meets for about 4 months a year. We consider having a part-time citizen legislature a feature not a bug…

    2. Friend of mine, full-time biology and chemistry teacher, had 6 lvl 85’s as of my last count. While his math seems to be okay, yours needs some work.

    3. I’m against her only because she ninja’d my loot.  Come on, that axe was a big upgrade for me!

    4. It probably takes years to reach 90 if you play for a few minutes a day. Spend an hour and it takes weeks. My experience is that most people shoot for 90 and certainly don’t take years to reach it, or spend all their waking hours doing it.

    5. So her character is level 85. That’s been the max level since the last expansion, which came out nearly two years ago. Before that, it was 80. She’s been playing this character for a few years and has had all that time to level up. And as Jeffrey Karter pointed out above, her activity feed shows she’s barely playing at the moment. What about that suggests obsessive gamer to you?

      I have two level 85 characters myself (plus numerous lower-level alts), after playing for a little over two years, and I’ve hardly played for months. And yes, I have a day job.

      Dark lady watch over you!

      1. Your results may differ.  You can’t just spend two seconds sniping/bragging with an anecdote about how you and your friend are more efficient levelers and call it a day. And sure, she’s not playing a lot at the moment.  That’s one data point, probably skewed by this exact scrutiny. Please stop with the numbers.  

        Can we at least agree that:

        1. There is SOME point at which a person can objectively play too much WoW?  Either as a weekly rate or as a sum total of hours spent?  

        2. That this point is reached more often among max-level and max-guild-rank players – as a rate, but also, and ESPECIALLY as a sum total?  

        3. That there are a finite number of hours in a day, and that most people require more than six of those hours for sleep.  

        4. That as the magnitude of one’s offline responsibilities increases (whether it’s actually sitting in session or doing any of the cameos, dinners, fundraisers, next-cycle campaigning etc. expected even of part-time legislators) time spent online does NOT have to decrease to make room. That legislators can and do flake on MAJOR responsibilities – like voting.  

        5. That although past behavior is not an ideal predictor of future behavior, it’s fair and proper to consider it during a job interview or an election. And that past behavior is, at the very least, a far better predictor of future behavior than a promise.  

        If not, why not?

        1. So, you cannot run for an office if you, say, like gardening. Because gardening takes time, and you have only so much time a day. Or, have a husband/wife and kids… because having a family takes time and… um… well… have life overall, because it takes time and…

          1. Yes, actually.  EVERY activity, including WoW, gardening, and raising kids – if done to the point of obsessiveness, should make you a less attractive candidate for office. It’s a terrific person who loves their kids so much that they frequently miss work to hang out with the tykes. That doesn’t change the fact that the person is likely to be fired.  

            And if I know that a candidate has a record of spending so much time hanging it with her kids that it’s per se detrimental to her work performance, I’m going to LIKE that candidate a lot.  But I would still have valid reservations about voting for her. By the same token, I really like that Santiaga is a fellow gamer. But there IS a point where it’s too much.  And she’s crossed that threshold.

            And stop making this about yourselves.  I get it, you play even more than Santiaga. Who cares? I’m not attacking you by proxy. Your gaming habits are just fine by me.  Do you speak for thousands of people in a legislative body?  No?  Then grind away.  

          2. The POINT is, you don’t actually know how it’s affected the candidate’s performance, if at all. You’re just making a bunch of inferences with insufficient evidence. That’s not about us or the candidate, it’s about you.

          3. The Founding Fathers were farmers. And lived a week or more away from the seat of government. Clearly, the whole country was built on inattention.

        2. Because the information you unearthed doesn’t actually reveal anything in particular about the candidate’s specific activities and you’re concern-trolling for the sake of concern-trolling. That’s why not.

          1. Jesus.  I’m false flag.  A shill.  Concern troll.  Just about the laziest argument short of ‘Nazi’.  And yet every time.  The GOP can go f*ck itself is how I feel about that.  Does that resolve your own ‘concerns’?  

        3. Your results may differ.  You can’t just spend two seconds sniping/bragging with an anecdote about how you and your friend are more efficient levelers and call it a day.

          But that’s exactly what you’re doing — you’re claiming on the basis of (I guess) your own anecdotal experience that this woman must be obsessive because because because.  Look at your numbered points.  It’s all innuendo.  You’re implying this all applies to this woman but you’ve done absolutely nothing to demonstrate that’s the case.  You accuse others of basing their arguments on anecdotal evidence but what evidence have you provided?

          That’s ignoring the fact that this isn’t the argument being made in the flier so it’s not really relevant to the thread. 

    6. Years to get to max level, 85-90 MAYBE if you play 8 h a day for a week??? What???

      Stop sitting in your main city trolling trade channel. Go out and level up.

      Edit: Oh, and the “requirements” that you say most guilds demand. Total BS. Some of them, perhaps, if you are in a raiding guild as a raider (RP guilds may also have some required participation, but I have never been in one of those, so I can’t say). But her guild didn’t have any of the heroic achievements for Cataclysm, so it looks like it’s mainly a social guild.

    7. Oh please — I play WoW after my son has gone to bed, and after the household chores are done. I’ve leveled two toons to 90 now, and without any 4am raids “required” by my guild. You simply can’t judge what is a “casual gamer” or a “compulsive gamer” unless you live with one, so don’t act like having one or more level 90s means she has some kind of addiction.  But beside that — what’s the difference between WoW and fantasy baseball (the people that I work with spend HOURS on that weird obsession) — or knitting? Or reading trash novels? Or keeping a personal journal that involves an hour or two a night?  Or going to church 5 days a week?

    8. You seem to have done a lot of research here, which is commendable. But still ended up drawing some seriously erroneous conclusions. If the majority of her posts were from 2009/2010, that means she’s been a WoW player for more than three years. I’ve been playing the game for a similar stretch of time, and currently have three level 85s and a bunch of lowbies spread across a couple of servers. By your logic, I spend too much time in-game and therefore am not fit to hold a position that requires a large commitment of time and energy (because I am already giving it to the game and my guild) . 
      Well, let me tell you what else I have accomplished in the four years I’ve been playing WoW, and maybe you’ll take a moment to reconsider. I’ve held down the same full time job, which regularly demands 40 to 60 office hours a week and is dependent on meeting strict monthly deadlines. I also run my own publishing business, and have edited some twelve+ novellas and collections (four of which have gone on to be nominated for awards). And in the last two years, I have written and polished two complete novels – all while playing WoW and still making time to spend with my husband, pets, etc. 

      You CAN be successful, ambitious and a gamer. It’s called good time management. Where some people choose to veg out in front of the TV for leisure, I play video games. That doesn’t mean I am doing it when I’m supposed to be working. That would be stupid. As I’m sure this woman would agree.  

      What it really comes down to is people choose to use the free time they have differently – some camp, some travel, some read, some watch TV or go to sporting events and some game. If I’d rather level an orc to 85 (which I have), than go to the movies or the mall or whatever, that’s my own business. But it’s ridiculous to assume that how I spend my free time (as a responsible adult) is a hindrance to my professional life or my ability to get things done.

      1. This!  Thank you for actually having a conversation with me, instead of calling me names. And congratulations on all your successes.  

        I don’t think GAMING is the problem.  At all. I think this thread demonstrates that gamers may be a little more touchy and defensive than other hobbyists. But that’s with good reason. There’s always been some idiot crusader claiming Mortal Kombat or GTA was going to rot our brains and morally bankrupt us. And in part, this flier tries to capitalize on that sensationalism (the whole ‘I love poisoning and stabbing’ part.  Like duh, she’s a rogue). I should be clear that I don’t think gaming is any more or less valid than any other hobby.  I enjoy – and overindulge in – a lot of different hobbies, including tons of gaming.  

        Generally, I don’t begrudge anyone, of any age, the right to spend their time as they see fit.  But we are talking about public office. So I think the stakes are a little higher. Let’s say this election was in my State.  We’d be talking about an EMPLOYEE of mine. Of ours. An agent who might completely represent my interests, or who might completely negate them. I think it’s perfectly fair that if I suspect the person has too many balls in play to zealously represent my interests, that I won’t vote for them. It’s a little bit like issue voting. Say a politician has ties to Halliburton.  Say I’m ambivalent towards, but don’t actively dislike Halliburton (this is a hypothetical). It still hurts that politician if I suspect they’ll have to spend a considerable amount of time and effort courting Halliburton and its interests.  That’s time and effort that won’t be spent elsewhere, on my interests.  

        I’m happy that you can balance your work life and hobbies so well, DoC.  In fact, I’m a little jealous. But this anecdotal stuff still doesn’t do it for me. Not every person who has a level 85 character will let it hurt their work performance. You’re a great example of this. But by the same token, not every person who has a level 85 character WON’T let it hurt their work performance. There’s no magic number of hours. It’s a spectrum, a window. And I think she’s solidly within the window where, without an exceptionally fastidious sense of time management like yours, her work performance is probably going to suffer a little.  And you know what?  Probably – when it comes to someone speaking (or not speaking) on my behalf when laws are written – is all I need. None of us can know for certain in advance how politicians or going to perform or vote. We can ONLY infer. We don’t wait until AFTER her term – when we know for certain that WoW didn’t affect her work performance – to vote.  

        1. “Not every person who has a level 85 character will let it hurt their work performance. You’re a great example of this. But by the same token, not every person who has a level 85 character WON’T let it hurt their work performance. ”

          And you have no idea which of those people this woman might be.  No idea where on the “spectrum” she might be.  Why are you so determined that your arbitrary math is more valid than anyone else’s?  You can’t just say “She has a level xx character, so I can therefore tell you she spends this much time a day gaming.  You just can’t.

        2. Definitely the best way to infer is immediately lean on the “it’s a huge fucking issue” button when all the available evidence is that she’s done basically nothing in game during the past year other than cook some food, run a single dungeon (~30mins time) and attend a Christmas celebration.

    9. I reached 85 in about 6 months, playing very casually and irregularly, certainly never while I was AT MY JOB, while also dabbling in alts, and additionally without ever teaming with another player.  So your assertions, while perhaps based on YOUR experiences, are not universally true.

      Also, if you look at her in the WoW armory, based on her “recent” achieves, she plays pretty casually, and has for a while.  She’s also still 85, while I, playing only 30-60 minutes a day since MoP release, am level 87.

      I think democracy is safe if we elect this woman.

  12. I was about twelve before I realized that people actually really believed in  weird religious fables, father than just being really really into them the way me and my friends were really really into D&D and fantasy books.

  13. I’d be glad to find out my representative is a gamer. It’s certainly better than the creepy crap Republicans are routinely caught doing.

  14. She plays them thar crazy game things!

    Seriously, she is less into fantasy than most right-wing commentators.

  15. The only problem is that she is a rogue, which seems to fit the mentality of the typical politician, but is not the one they should have. I.E. sneeky, always ready to vanish when about to lose and coming at you from the shadows when you least expect it. Resto druid or even warrior tank would have impressed me more.

      1. Here’s the ad campaign for that scenario:

        “Colleen Lachowicz spends hundreds of hours playing a holy priest… but doesn’t she know about the separation of church and state? Or does she just think she’s holier than thou?

        Colleen Lachowicz: not holy, not a priest.” 

  16. Okay so here’s a question: 

    Can someone from the GOP please explain to me how they think the party is NOT evil? 

    Or have they all just stopped caring and simply gone over to the darkside?

    1. Probably some sort of loophole for political use, just like how robocalls are bad unless they’re political in nature. Still, it’d be nice to hear from someone at Blizzard Legal to see what they think.

    1. I don’t get it. I mean, I get that you’re trying to ‘snap a Z’. But are you saying WoW is comparable to military service?  Or that veterans run back into combat zones too often, and it’s affecting their day jobs? This looks suspiciously like one of those conversation-ending gambits we all know and love…9/11….Nazis…can’t f*ck with the armed forces right?  Cos they’re completely relevant to this thread.  

      1. Not to speak for Johnny, but I saw his comment very differently than you did.

        I think his point is that if real violence doesn’t necessarily make someone unfit for office, video game violence definitely doesn’t make someone unfit for office.

  17. Is this a great way to alienate the gamer audience, or a snipe at someone for still playing WoW? Would be awesome if the GOP candidate revealed she’s playing Borderlands.

  18. I say: have the Nazgul bear away the Maine GOP to the houses of lamentation, beyond all darkness, where their flesh shall be devoured, and their shrivelled minds be left naked to the Lidless Eye!

  19. “We need a Senator who lives in our world, not Colleen’s world.”

    Which world is “ours?”  Certainly not the real one.

  20. Nothing in the attack ad says that she’s missed work as a result of playing WoW; nothing in the attack ad says that her hobby is an obsessive compulsion. The ad basically says she plays the game as an orc rogue.

    In reference to your numbered points:

    1. Sure, there’s plenty of evidence that people with addictive personalities have problems with online games. This ad doesn’t claim that.

    2. Is that point reached most often by max-level characters? I cannot agree with that blanket statement. I can agree that some addictive-types are probably max-level, but that does not infer that players with max-level characters are addictive personalities. All apples are fruit, but not all fruit is apples.

    3. Yes, there are a finite number of hours per day, and yes, people do need six or more hours of sleep.

    4. Not really sure where you’re going with number 4 – separate activities are separate. And yes, politicians do flake out on responsibilities – although that point is not made in this attack ad. Again, she’s being smeared for playing a game, not for avoiding her job responsibilities.

    5. Yes, past performance is an indicator of future performance. She’s played WoW in the past, she may play it in the future. How is that relevant to anything?

  21. I don’t approve of computer games in general, or the people who play them. Having said that: is Colleen’s fantasy world any worse than the one shared by Christian Conservatives?

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