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 newfound 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.