We often accuse politicians of being prostitutes, but in some cases they actually are prostitutes. For the last two years, Linda Fondren has been glowering down from inspirational posters put up by the Values.com Foundation for a Better Life campaign that boasted that she helped her town lose weight.
Somehow her weight loss campaign led CNN to declare her one of its top 10 heroes and a community crusader. Obviously the standards for heroism are really low these days.
Left unmentioned by the Values campaign and CNN was that in addition to her weight loss heroism, Linda Fondren had been a hooker and then a brothel owner.
Now Linda Fondren is running for mayor of Vicksburg, a majority African-American city, and her former pimp has come out to endorse her in the Democratic primary.
Linda Fondren and her husband Jim owned and operated The Sagebrush Ranch (a Nevada brothel that is located next to Hof’s). Before that, she was a working prostitute at Hof’s brothel who met her husband when he was her client.
Hof hopes that a mayoral term could in fact lead to state wide office for Fondren, perhaps as a congresswoman or governor, where she could draw on her past as a legal prostitute to advocate for Mississippi becoming the second state in the nation to legalize the brothel industry.
A week ago, I didn’t think the Democratic Party could get any lower, but like a circus geek, it always keeps surprising me. Linda Fondren is denying that she owned a brothel, but the evidence points to her being a liar… which is really shocking from a Democrat and a hooker.
Later that same year, the St. Petersburg Times in Florida ran a series of feature articles on legalized prostitution. One said the Sagebrush Ranch was owned by Fondren and her husband, Jim, who the story lists as “a developer and former restaurateur.” Fondren’s campaign website confirms the couple built restaurants together.
Further, Fondren’s signature on the articles of incorporation for RAHA is a close match for her signature on the articles of incorporation for Shape up Mississippi and Shape Up Sisters Vicksburg, both of which were filed with the Mississippi Secretary of State. The signature from 1987 is more sloppily written, and the F in Fondren is styled differently, but the other letters look alike.
When pressed for answers about the lies and the prostitution, the CNN hero of weight loss replied in traditional rambling liberal fashion.
“These are rumors, and politics is really a business that people do whatever it takes to get things said about people instead of discussing the issues, what concerns people the most,” Fondren said. “This does not help our children get a good education. This does not help our people get out of poverty.”
Fondren repeatedly denied any involvement with the brothel and said she was not aware of any newspaper articles on the subject.
But while Fondren denies any knowledge of the brothel, a second story by the St. Petersburg Times quoted her husband giving a reasoned defense of legalized prostitution.
Jim Fondren goes on to refer to his wife in another quote. “This I saw as a business opportunity, and we haven’t regretted it since,” he reportedly told the paper. “We’ve grown from 19 rooms to over 60.”
When asked about her husband’s quotes, Fondren replied: “I have no knowledge of any article at all,” adding, “You can give an opinion about real estate; you can give an opinion about lots of things.
“What I am going to say on all of this is that it is unfortunate that people would come out with things that will make other people judge you,” Fondren said. “This is politics, and I’m not a politician. I’ve never ran for an elected office before. What happens is when they come out (with accusations), then you spend all of your time trying to defend something as opposed to trying to deal with the issues.
“We are on the bottom of so many things,” she added. “That’s what we need to be focusing on.”
I don’t know. Linda seems like a politician to me. But why hold her time as a prostitute and the owner of a house of prostitution against her when we don’t hold Barney Frank’s gay brothel against him, Bill Clinton’s inability to keep his pants on against him and Obama’s cocaine use against him.
We’re in a post-values world where a former prostitute can be a hero by promoting weight loss and become the subject of a values campaign. Morals are also so 1950. Our heroes today are people who advise everyone to eat kale and raise taxes on the rich. It’s a brave new world and Linda Fondren is the perfect embodiment of it.
Why not Mayor Hooker or Governor Hooker or President Hooker? The future is bright with hope, change and venereal disease and the Democratic Party under the inspired leadership of prostitutes, real and metaphorical, is leading us forward.