What would you do to support your candidate?

Week After Romney-Ryan Loss, Man Regrets Logo Tattooed on Face

As Billboards, Posters Come Down, 30-Year-Old Indiana Man Ponders the ‘R’ Inked on His Mug

Published: November 12, 2012

Last weekend, while driving around near my parents’ home in Pennsylvania — one of the battleground states, which President Barack Obama won by a narrow margin — I was struck by the number of Romney/Ryan campaign signs that, a week after the election was over, were still plastered all over the place, on lawns, along highways, on cars. “What a giant pain in the ass that’s gonna be for folks to have to dispose of,” I thought.

Eric Hartsburg and his Romney-Ryan tattoo.
Eric Hartsburg/Facebook

Eric Hartsburg and his Romney-Ryan tattoo.

Well, that’s nothing compared to the guy who can um, NEVER, dispose of the tattoo of the Romney/Ryan ticket’s logo across half his face. Remember him? The guy who in October auctioned off a side of his mug and was paid $15,000 by a Republican eBay user to get inked with the GOP nominee’s “R” — that giant red-white-and-blue logo that, as we recently noted, looks like the glob of toothpaste emblazoned on tubes of Aquafresh?

Politico caught up with Mr. Tattoo, 30-year-old Eric Hartsburg this weekend. So how much does “R” now stands for regret given the candidate he was backing wasn’t successful?

“Totally disappointed, man,” Mr. Hartsburg told the site. “I’m the guy who has egg all over his face, but instead of egg, it’s a big Romney/Ryan tattoo. It’s there for life.”

It’s all the more bitter considering he lives in a state that voted Obama. And it seems not everyone’s been so sympathetic to Mr. Hartsburg’s plight. “I’ve gotten a lot of negative stuff, a lot of ‘F-yous,’ and ‘Your guy lost!'” he told Politico.

So how do you even respond to those sorts of meanie insults? With a movie quote, of course. Via Twitter he summoned all the courage he could watching “The Karate Kid” movies and told a detractor: “In the words of Mr. Miyagi: ‘Win lose, no matter.’ I never proclaimed a Romney victory.”

Yes, everything about this story is ridiculous, and screams of someone who’s willing to do anything for 15 seconds of fame. But he’s not quite alone.

Various articles in the past couple of years have posited the theory that people are far more willing than ever to allow their bodies to be used as ad space for their favorite brands. Mr. Hartsburg is one of several fans who’ve sported ink of their favorite brands; others have gotten tatted with logos of Google, Apple, Jack Daniels and Cadillac.

Meanwhile, the non-branded tattoos that celebrities have are being airbrushed out of ad campaigns.

“I was trying to make politics fun. … I shed blood for this campaign, and I’m glad to know that I did all that I could,” Mr. Hartsburg said to Politico, adding: “I’m hoping this opens some other doors in the entertainment business.” That seems unlikely, given that even with a tiled background of his tattooed face, he’s summoned just 125 followers on Twitter.

So, folks, it’s another presidential election down, another important lesson learned. At the risk of sounding like a PSA: Think before you ink.

18 responses to “What would you do to support your candidate?”

  1. andreaj7 says :

    I give props to Eric Hartsburg for agreeing to put the logo on his face for money and the good of the Republican party presidential candidates. His decision, though, was obviously a bad one. He didn’t have to show his support for the party in that drastic of a way (the tattoo is ugly, permanent, and it’s on his face). He could have contributed to the Romney/Ryan campaign through the particular donations we talked about in class, and read about in Bianco. For example, he could have contributed money to a Republican 527 organization that accepts unlimited amounts of soft money. I’m sure Romney and Ryan would rather that form of support….

  2. Kalyn7 says :

    I think this article is just proof that we shouldn’t “try to make politics fun.” Or if we have to make politics fun, invest in temporary tattoos. All the support, less of the pain. And embarrassment. And not to mention none of permanence. Based on the partial photograph of the tattoo on Hartsburg’s neck, however, I’m guessing our friend Eric doesn’t care too much about the content of his tattoos (for those of you who can’t see it, it looks to be a certain word that rhymes with duck. And it’s not truck). He probably doesn’t worry about the message he is sending to the world. And more power to him for that.

    But as someone judging him, I think that his decision was ridiculously asinine. If he was trying to support his candidate, he should have, as Andrea said, donated the cost of the tattoo and of the spirits I’m assuming he enjoyed before getting the tattoo, to a fundraising organization. Or he could have painted the logo on his garage. Or anything else in the whole entire world really. His political efficacy seems to be really out of whack. He thought a face tattoo was an effective way to support someone.

    But the bottom line is this: I am way less likely to respect a logo or a brand or a candidate when it (or he) is advertised permanently on someone’s face.

  3. sarahb7 says :

    I agree with Kalyn– I think it was a ridiculous decision to tattoo such a visible part of his body with a something as personal as politics. Hartsburg is never going to be able to conceal his opinions, even when it would be otherwise prudent. There is also the issue of his physical appearance now being permanently altered; companies will likely be less inclined to hire a man with a Romney tattoo on the side of his face. As well as demonstrating a total lack of judgement, it also makes Hartsburg into somewhat of a joke. He is already enduring taunts and insults both online and in person. No company wants to hire an employee with a pre- existing bad reputation. I think the real reason Hartsburg tattooed himself was not for the benefit of the campaign, but in an attempt to gain some room in the spotlight. The Romney campaign was just his method of getting there. Had he really wanted to make a difference to the campaign all it would have taken was some minimal research to find many other ways to contribute his time and efforts by working for the campaign, and other ways to contribute financially by starting a PAC or making small contributions of whatever he could afford. This tattoo was not at all about the Republican party, but about Hatsburg personally.

  4. Christina4 says :

    Politics is the system in which we decide who will run our government, not a sports event. Yeah, people wear t-shirts, buttons, and have bumper stickers, but what if someone had tattoed “Barry Goldwater” on their forehead? not the best PR post-election (even if you’re candidate won or now). This guy should show his support by voting, not “trying to make politics fun.”

  5. 4thomas says :

    From my point of view and most people’s, this man’s decision was regrettable to say the least. As someone who had difficulties, both emotionally and physically, in removing a Romney Ryan sticker, I originally could not imagine this man’s troublesome dilemma. However, I was soon surprised to learn that he had no concerns or doubts about the permanent tattoo. This man seems to be valuing the quote of famous rapper, Drake, “YOLO” (you only live once) quite highly. Although I could never see myself doing the same thing, I do have a certain level of respect for him. He is $15,000 richer, a solid D+ celebrity, and living his life with no regrets. His actions were useless in making an actual difference in the outcome of the election, as most yard signs, buttons, and stickers also were, but seems to being enjoying his 15 minutes of fame and 15 G’s. For that, I am glad he tried to make politics fun.

  6. molly4 says :

    What I find most disturbing in this post is that Hartsburg considered getting that tattoo doing “all that [he] could.” He could have done so much more by running a phone-a-thon, going door-to-door, donating money, or advertising on his lawn rather than his face. This was an act of ridiculous desperation for attention and probably hurt Romney more than helped him. Polls indicate that Romney gets much support from wealthy, Caucasian voters, and, let’s not kid ourselves, face tattoos probably freak that demographic out. Romney supporters most likely do not want to be associated with a man with a preposterous tattoo on his face, and undecided voters may not be attracted to a candidate who has the support of a man with so little judgment. I do not believe that Hartsburg’s tattoo has any bearing on the outcome of the election at all, and the fact that he considered this tattoo his best effort is pretty depressing.

  7. marytravers4 says :

    This is ridiculous. There are so many things you can do that are actually effective and productive in a campaign and this makes the Republican Party look like a joke detracting from substantive issues. Politics today are at serious risk for being too much about gaudiness and “cool factor”. Candidates are treated like celebrities, the introduction to a debates is like a football game halftime show, and now look at this guy…what’s next?

    (P.S. can’t you get tattoos removed…?”

  8. Nick4 says :

    I feel like this would get the opposite effect on people. For me, if I were to see someone with a logo on their face, I’d be more angry at the company than the person. The company is treating people like walking billboards, not actual human beings. True, no one connected with Romney paid him to get the tattoo (just some random Republican on ebay), but the people who saw the tattoo probably assumed that the Romney campaign had something to do with it. People see some poor guy who got some money to advertise some presidential candidate. You see this same stuff with Google, Apple and Nintendo. Those companies pay a person to get the logo tattooed on their body, showing a complete lack of respect for people. With a Romney/Ryan tattoo, a person isn’t going to think that Romney’s looking out for them. They’re going to think that he wants to get his name out no matter the cost. This was a bad decision on the ebayer’s part. It made Romney look bad and potentially lost him some votes.

  9. Connor1 says :

    Seeing this reinstates the message that i continue to hear from the adults in my life, who tell me not to get a tattoo. Although in the moment it might be about something you love and support, or it may just seem cool at the time, it is likely that one day down the road, you will no longer want that tattoo, and when it comes to that point, there is nothing you can do about it; I’m sure Eric is going through that period now. Politics is one thing that i think is best not to be publicized. I don’t think that sharing your opinion on politics does anyone any good because it usually just ends in a debate. Yes in a civil and controlled environment i think that discussing politics is very beneficial because you learn a lot, and you may even change your opinion on certain things, but with a tattoo on your face, promoting the party you affiliate with, is just a recipe for disaster. Not only does it set yourself up for ridicule and abuse from people of opposing parties who can visibly see what you believe in, but it also sets a bad image for the people of your party. This tattoo, aside from the quick buck this guy made, was a lose lose situation all over.

  10. Jen1 says :

    I for one am very happy this man inked his face. Not only did it bring a smile to my face, but it also reaffirmed what I’ve come to understand about some voters, they just don’t care. If this man knew more about politics or even elections, he wouldn’t have tattooed himself with a campaign logo. To reiterate Christina, we aren’t picking a side and cheering for them. Though politics might seem that way at times, it requires people to call upon their logic and intelligence to make decisions. Now would I tattoo myself for a candidate? I don’t even put a bummer sticker on my car, so definitely not. From this report, it doesn’t seem this man is too unhappy with his life right now. So let him live on and hopefully the next time we see him with another logo on the other side, ‘cause someone’s got to do it. 🙂

  11. Dan1 says :

    Eric Hartsburg is a man who doesn’t care what people think and ,above all else, is someone who is out there with their opinion. Although he probably only did it for the $, his gesture will promote the campaign in a fun way, not often seen. I don’t think it was too outrageous because if people are able to donate money to Pacs or different third party groups to tear someone down through largely false ads, why can’t someone get a tattoo,which hurts no one at all.

  12. nicoleb7 says :

    This is definitely an extreme and unnecessary way of supporting a candidate during the election. There are a lot of ways you can show your support and writing all over your face should not be one of them. It is permanent and ugly and once the election is over the person is not going to want it on their face anymore. There are far more efficient ways to make a difference that would probably be more effective for the candidate and party. This is just silly; no one is going to actually take it seriously. Of course it should still be allowed, no one should tell you what not to put on your face, but really there is no need to do something like this.

  13. Ryan4 says :

    At first glance at the picture listed in the description, I assumed that the article was about a young, irresponsible teenager who got a massive tattoo to rebel against his parents in so odd political manner. When learning that this man was 30 years old and an avid supporter of Mitt Romney, I was taken aback. For one, getting the tattoo before the election was decided was premature and idiotic. Secondly, there are much better ways to show your appreciation to a party in a very non-idiotic manner. Maybe take the funds put towards getting the tattoo, bad haircut, and lip pairings and donate them to the campaign fund. Either way, lets hope Romney/Ryan runs for election some time in the future.

  14. jackb7 says :

    I will give him the benefit of the doubt and say he was probably voting for Romney because he believed in his mission to get America working again and allow job creators to create jobs and allow small businesses to thrive. Ironically, something tells me not many people will look to give a job offer to a guy with 3 lip piercings and a tattoo on his face…especially if they were staunch Obama supporters…

  15. langston4 says :

    While showing support for your candidate is a great, this is a bit too extreme. There are better ways of showing support for a candidate, like donating money. Even a bumper sticker could have sufficed. But this….this seemed more of an attempt to get media attention than just trying to support a candidate. I mean just look what he says at the end! “Im hoping this opens other doors in the entertainment business.” I’d say that getting this tattoo was more out of self interest in an idiotic attempt to become internet famous instead of “trying to make politics fun”.

  16. Ellen7 says :

    I agree 100% with Molly. The fact that Hartsburg thought getting the Romney Ryan logo tattooed on his face was doing everything he could’ve done to help, or the fact that he thought he was doing anything at all really is just sad. It goes to show how many people are uneducated when it comes to politics, yet still have a say in who becomes president of the country. We talked in class about the amount of people who are making decisions as to who they want to be leader of the country for unjustified reasons when we discussed whether or not there should be some kind of test for the eligibility to vote. Actions like this almost make me think there should be! I admit, it’s unfair for me to assume that Hartsburg is uneducated, but based on what he said in response to questions about his political tattoo, he is just embarrassing himself.

  17. iqra07 says :

    While proudly supporting a candidate is a good thing, this is just ridiculous. No one benefited from Hartsburg’s attempt of making politics fun; not Romney, not Ryan, and not him. Though one can argue that he got $15,000, it is a very small compensation for having the mark of a failed candidate forever plastered upon his face. It’s quite sad that after getting the tattoo he felt “…glad to know that I did all that I could.” Even if Hartsburg donated $5 to the campaign, it would have been more helpful than this tattoo. I wonder if Hartsburg even supported Romney, or if it was just a quick way to get money and 15 minutes in fame. Even if he was a Romney ‘supporter,’ it’s sad that people like these call themselves supporters of candidates. Do they know what’s going on in the world of politics? Definitely not if they think that a tattoo will help their candidate win the election.

  18. govrobin1 says :

    Well that was a terrible idea…

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