A 29-YEAR-OLD semipublic nuisance, Aaron Proctor would rather be right than popular.
The tall, goateed bald blogger - part gadfly, part H.L. Mencken, part Howard Stern - has been in more hot water than a tea bag, but he won't shut up.
Under a thin shell of exhibitionism, the self-described "right-wing basket case" deeply cares about Philly and wants to reverse what he calls the Philly Decline, which is also the biting name of his website.
He has no "real" job, because "I can't hold one. I can't. I have a big mouth. I question things too much."
The Chester native loathes Democrats, but hates Republicans even more when they don't toe his extreme libertarian/conservative line that encourages a dog-eat-dog world in which the poor and powerless would be cut loose by the government.
In the three years he's been back from California, where he spent eight years as a professional wrestling promoter after graduating from Delaware County's Chichester High School, Proctor's made a name for himself in some political inner circles.
The name is "gadfly." Also "rabid."
He can write satire, such as referring to Philly as "East Detroit," or calling the city Finance Department "Mayor Nutter's Bitch Boys," but can fall short in the four to six posts he puts up daily, almost always to bash someone, usually a Democrat or union, but Republicans, too. He had a mondo rant about a dolphin tattoo on the right breast of GOP mayoral candidate Karen Brown, whom he calls "dumber than a bag of hammers."
He believes in 95 percent of what he writes, but admits to sometimes crossing the line "just to get more clicks" on his website.
He went too far in his previous job at Examiner.com, which publishes local news websites across the country. After complaints (and threats of legal action) from groups as disparate as the Republican City Committee and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, he was let go.
After Examiner, he launched Philly Decline, which produces enough ad revenue to keep him solvent. He dreams of turning it "into a little Huffington Post of Philadelphia, in terms of business model, not in terms of politics, obviously," he says. On a "good day," he gets 5,000 visitors sampling his rants, video parodies or fake warning labels.
In Port Richmond, where he lives with his fiancee, Katherine, "I hear complaints from people about the size of government, about the soda tax, whatever, and I'm like, 'Maybe if you guys weren't drinking the Kool-Aid unions were giving you to drink, you'd be voting Republican.' "
To Proctor, Section 8 housing gives slumlords "tax breaks . . . to run these cockroach-infested criminal mills." In his "Mad Max" society, he'd close libraries; public schools are a "gigantic waste of money."
Critics say public education certainly was wasted on him.
One target of his barbs, Republican Council candidate Al Taubenberger, calls on him to get into the ring, as Teddy Roosevelt once challenged critics.
Proctor already has. On the Left Coast, then a Democrat, he ran for mayor of Pasadena (mostly to promote his wrestling persona). He lost.
During that campaign, someone gave him a book by conservative icon Barry Goldwater. Gobsmacked, Proctor concluded he was a conservative - and liberals were wrecking California.
When he returned to Philadelphia, "I 'dated' the Libertarian Party," but all they wanted to talk about was legalizing cocaine and 9/11 being an 'inside job.' "
So he became a disloyal Republican by default. Rather than light a candle, each day he mounts his keyboard and screams into endless cyberspace.
It won't make him popular, but Aaron Proctor believes he's right.
(UPDATE: In December 2012, Proctor told Stu Bykofsky that he regrets and disavows most of the views he expressed, which were accurately reported in the column.)
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