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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Conservative challenger to David Vitter has an arf-fully interesting side business

Posted By on Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 5:49 PM

Mike Spears created waves in Louisiana Republican circles yesterday when he announced he would be running for the Senate seat now held by David Vitter -- as an independent and "constitutional conservative." Spears' announcement was carried in many Louisiana newspapers (including The Times-Picayune), and he was interviewed on Fox News Radio affiliate KVOL-AM.

Spears, a former Louisiana National Guardsman, is now a Lafayette-based entrepreneur who runs his own Web development company, Firefly Digital. He told Gambit this morning, "When we try to reach out to Washington, nobody seems to respond. They continue to do things contrary to the will of the American people. I am running as an independent, not as a representative of the Tea Party. What I am saying is that my ideals and beliefs are consistent with the Tea Party, and it’s an affiliation I’m proud to say I’m a part of."

Spears also took a swipe at Vitter in print when he condemned last week's decision by a U.S. federal judge finding the National Day of Prayer to be unconstitutional, writing on the Louisiana political website The Hayride:

Last week a Federal judge ruled the National Day of Prayer, unconstitutional. This is an attack on the Constitution. Where is Senator Vitter, or any of the other Republicans in Congress on this issue? Our Congressmen must defend the Constitution at all costs. It is the foundation, the wellspring of our liberties and freedom. Today, its the National Day of Prayer. Tomorrow it may be the right to private property or the right to bear arms.

In the "About Mike" section of his website, Spears also spelled out his biography while making some not-so-oblique references to Vitter's "very serious sin":

Mike Spears is a devoted husband, entrepreneur, successful small business owner and dedicated community leader. Alarmed at the corruption and irresponsible behavior of sitting Congressmen, Mike has decided to take a stand and is running for U.S. Senate ....

Like many Americans Mike has proven himself a successful innovator and small business owner. His credibility is strengthened by an impressive portfolio of relevant community service work. Mike’s arrival in Washington is sure to shake-up the political “status quo.”

Omitted from the entrepreneurial resume on his election site was one of Spears' side businesses, one more colorful than that of Web provider: Spears owns a company called Molle Tache, where he calls himself "The Dog Designer."

Molle Tache (French for 'soft spot') sells high-end pet furniture and fashions "fitting for any dog's home, personality and lifestyle," and Spears has written that his dream as The Dog Designer is to have his own reality show and become the "host of an wildly popular dog style and fashion TV program."

click to enlarge spears


A June 2008 profile of Spears in the Lafayette weekly The Independent mentions that Spears does all the design and manufacturing for Molle Teche himself, including the "Stage Coach" dog bed ($28,500) and the "Queen's Obsession" ($18,500), "a four poster bed with a Swarovski crystal chandelier."

The Dog Designer's couture pieces includes canine clothing lines with names like "The Little Socialite Collection" (a sleeveless dog gown with "ruffled accents on the collar and skirt and pearl buttons along the back line"), the "EuroStyle," "Dress Blues," and "Lace Formal" ("It's exquisite and charming, playful and elegant. It's exactly what a sophisticated dog requires for any affair, particularly one in your honor! The Lace Formal features a well-fitted jacked, layered laced over satin with prim lace trimmings, adorned with Victorian buttons along the back. Underneath is a delicate ruffled blouse, with a lace collar").

Spears (who, along with wife Ilse, has five dogs, all rescue animals) laughed when asked about his alternate identity as the Dog Designer. "I was one of those guys who watched This Old House and The New Yankee Workshop," he said. "Once I had my own workshop, then I got these 2 little Yorkies, and taught myself how to do upholstery and build furniture." Spears said his life as the Dog Designer was a side business and hobby that's been shelved, partially due to the recession: "They take so much time to do that I have to price them outrageously. I’ve sold quite a few smaller pieces, but the larger pieces -- I haven’t sold any," and added he's also put aside hopes of hosting a reality show: "All that sort of stuff sort of died when the recession hit. I recognized I didn’t have the time or resources into that venture."

Spears says he's now concentrating on national politics, and strategizing about how to compete with the war chests already built up by the leading contenders in the race, Vitter and Rep. Charlie Melancon. He says his campaign will likely be funded by small individual donations: "I don’t want to ally my campaign with special interests. We have adopted a Pledge of Fidelity regardless of the source of our contributions."

Above all, Spears added, is his concern for the U.S. Constitution and America's future: "I just recently got married and we’re planning on having kids, and I look at their future -- the way things are changing now -- and it worries me." But he's hopeful about his campaign.

"We thought we’d have a slow start, but our original launch and our press conference generated a lot of stir," Spears said, adding he hadn't heard much from Melancon supporters yet. "But I have seen a lot of commentary from the strong Vitter supporters, and the feeling is: 'Finally. Wow. We have a choice."

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