Tony Krvaric has always sucked
A primer on the San Diego GOP leader who appeared in a video with Nazi imagery
Tony Krvaric is having a moment right now.
Last week, KPBS published a story about a video that’s resurfaced featuring a young Krvaric and a lot of Nazi imagery — including a dancing animation of Hitler and Krvaric throwing what appears to be the heil salute.
It’s not a good look for anyone, but it’s a super-duper bad look for the chairman of San Diego County’s Republican Party, especially when conservatives are increasingly being associated with fascism and white supremacy.
The video was produced by a Swedish hacker group called Fairlight that gained notoriety in the ‘80s for cracking video games (i.e., making them free). Krvaric cofounded FairLight, which is where he earned the nickname “Strider.” This is not really important but it’s very funny and stupid.
The news of San Diego’s GOP leader quickly spread through the internet, even earning the ire of CNN’s Jake Tapper. But If the Nazi video is the first time you’ve heard Krvaric’s name, I don’t blame you. My former CityBeat colleagues Dave Maass and John Lamb kept good tabs on Krvaric, and he’s well-known among San Diego journalists and politicos (especially after he got kicked off Twitter back in 2011 for creating a bunch of fake accounts of local Democrats), but if you don’t regularly follow local politics, the KPBS story might just register as yet another conservative schlub showing their true colors. The truth is Krvaric is a major deal in San Diego politics, and very influential.
He’s also good at forging his own narratives. Krvaric is incredibly prickly with the press, refusing to give interviews to anyone except reporters who are nice to him. He’s quick to discredit anything negative written about him as a “smear.” By all accounts, he’s a relentless opportunist who surrounds himself with minions.
And just like a fart that won’t dissipate, Krvaric has an uncanny ability to stick around. Although he says that he’s not seeking reelection as chair of the San Diego County GOP, he’s said that before. In many ways, Krvaric feels like a local Trump. Given his resilience, I’m not sure if a neo-Nazi video will have any effect on voters. This scares me.
Simply put, Krvaric could be sticking around for a while, and we should be paying attention to him.
Even Republicans hate him
After Krvaric’s Nazi video went viral, I found myself doomscrolling through Twitter, looking through reactions. As it turns out, he’s not well-liked. And, yes, I could point out his offenses all day from my progressive, leftist, beta-cuck, soy-boy high horse, but what struck me was that people within his own party — a party that values loyalty above all else (as evidenced by their continued support of Trump) — who openly hate Krvaric.
“He has not been a good friend of veterans,” Larry Wilske told me during a phone conversation.
Wilske, who served in the U.S. Marines for 30 years and ran in this year’s 50th Congressional primary, pointed to an incident involving U.S. Army Reserve Col Elliot Schroeder, who was elected to the Republican Central Committee.
For whatever reason, Krvaric deemed Schroeder a threat and unceremoniously removed him from the committee. Schroeder found this out by trying to RSVP for a meeting and finding the word “Vacant” instead of his name on the website. The ordeal prompted Schroeder to write a post on the conservative blog San Diego Rostra, calling the Kvaric-led Republican party “a swamp.”
“He’s got a Central Committee and they just do whatever he says,” Wilske said, referring to Krvaric. “I've heard people say in open conversation, ‘Well, I agree that Tony's not good to veterans and he breaks the rules, but I might want to run for office some day, so I can't piss him off.’ He’s got people scared.”
But Wilske was quick to point out that if you have no political aspirations, Krvaric has very little recourse. “He can’t bully me, because I don't care about him. What can he do to me? Nothing. If he was man enough to to step outside, that would be a big mistake.”
“He does tend to roll the party with an iron grip,” said JD Bols, a Realtor and political advisor who also ran for a seat on the Central Committee. Both Bols and Wilkse argued that it’s this stranglehold that has caused the Republican Party to fail so miserably during Krvaric’s reign. They also both pointed me to a Republican-created website called tonykrvaricout.com.
“The reality of his leadership is, in the last 14 years with him at the helm of the party, we've lost more seats than we did in the previous 75,” Wilske said. “His leadership has led us to ruin here.”
“We’re the perennial loser like the Cleveland Browns,” Bols said. “But at least the Browns fire their coach every year.”
Krvaric’s financial shenanigans
Back in 2018, Bols offered free office space to the Republican Party, which he estimated would save $300,000 over the course of four years. Krvaric turned down the offer and then extended the lease of the party’s Rancho Bernardo office space, which, coincidentally [sarcasm], also houses his financial firm, Krvaric Capital & Risk Management.
“It seems highly suspicious that Kvaric has his financial planning firm in the same building as the party office space,” Bols said. “And if you look at what the asking rate is in the building, the party is overpaying for the space. So, the pretty direct implication is that the party is paying for his personal office space.”
Surely a party built on fiscal restraint wouldn’t tolerate such behavior from their leader, right?
“There are all sorts of financial shenanigans that are going on,” Bols said. “But the problem is the financial statements are never disclosed, even in front of the executive committee. They're basically and — it's pathetic — it’s almost like a handwritten and typewritten page. A one-page summary, not like a proper financial statement. Kvaric asks the executive committee to approve it, and they do, and then the next minute, the financial statements are taken from the executive committee, so nobody leaves that room with the information.”
Sorry, I just can’t get over “Strider”
Strider (second from right) wearing a cool jacket
Lol, I’m sorry, but... “Strider”? Could you even come up with a lamer nickname?
In a way, watching Krvaric’s neo-Nazi hacker video reminds me of what you see in the cesspools of the internet today. That type of macho posturing and edginess is commonplace on Reddit, 4chan and all the other sites that are radicalizing naive kids into becoming white nationalists; his involvement in FairLight feels like a prologue to what’s going on now. Had Strider been born in the ‘80s, I have no doubt that he’d be a Gamergater now.
But is Tony a Nazi?
Tony “Strider” Krvaric on the right
Okay, okay, so sure, there’s a video of Krvaric throwing a heil alongside a dancing Hitler. And, sure, his son Oliver Krvaric wrote frighteningly racist and bigotted op-ed for the San Diego Union-Tribune (side eye, U-T.Side-eye, indeed). And sure, his other son, Victor Krvaric, is associated with the white nationalist group “Groyper Army.” And, sure, Kvaric named his car “Panzer” after the WWII German tank. But, folks, does that really make him a Nazi??
“I don’t think he goes to meetings every Thursday night in somebody’s basement and they put on the brown shirts and their SS uniforms,” Bols said. “But his whole attitude and demeanor is very consistent with someone who's authoritarian.”
Perhaps the biggest indication of Krvaric’s prejudice is the party he’s cultivated, which is overwhelmingly pale. I know this because I went to the first Republican meet-up after Donald Trump was elected and was disheartened by the sea of old, white faces. (This was also the first time I saw Krvaric speak, and I’ll never forget when he told the audience that his kids refer to Ronald Reagan as “Uncle Reagan.” I’m still shuddering).
“Anybody that's Hispanic or Black in the Republican Party in San Diego sticks out like a sore thumb,” Wilske told me. “I mean, this is not the Republican Party of Lincoln or the party of freedom, the one I know and love.”
Bols also brought up the local GOP’s problematic homogeny.
“There have been times when he’s said what you would consider racist things over the years,” he said. “I remember being at a Lincoln Reagan Dinner” — the GOP’s big annual shindog — “and myself and my wife looked in shock at each other when when Krvaric, in front of a thousand people, said, ‘Look at all the all the Black people here tonight!’”
When I reached out to Krvaric for comment, he responded with a link to this U-T story about the video. In it, Krvaric calls the video “bad taste” and “offensive,” but makes no apology. When I wrote back that a simple apology could go a long way, Krvaric didn’t respond.
But for Wilske, redemption isn’t in the cards.
“Now, there are idiots these days with swastika tattoos. Punch them in the face!” Wilske said. “Throw them out of our country. There's nothing forgivable about it. And even if [Krvaric] was, you know, 19, 20, 21 — we lost a lot of Americans in that age group fighting Nazis. So it's not a dumb kid thing. It’s intolerable.”
“BRO HYMN” IS THE PADRES’ REAL GRAND SLAM
Over at The Kept Faith, I wrote about my love of jock punk and, especially Pennywise’s song “Bro Hymn.” I didn’t know that The Padres use it when they win, and this revelation made me happy enough to consider getting into baseball.
THE WEEKLY GOODS
Welp, that’s it. I’ve watched all the movies. With not much else to do, I’ve managed to watch every single movie. I must say, there are a few good ones out there. Movies: I’m a fan! Okay, so maybe I haven’t seen every movie, but scrolling through streaming services every night, I often feel like I’ve hit the bottom of the well. Which is maybe why Sputnikfeels like such a revelation. The 2020 Russian sci-fi horror film follows a cosmonaut who has returned to earth infected with a parasitic alien being. The trouble is, scientists can’t separate the two without doing harm, so they call upon the hell of an unorthodox doctor who develops a relationship with the cosmonaut. It’s a patient, tense movie in the style of the original Alien, but it’s shot and acted with the striking precision of a David Fincher movie. It’s seriously one of the best movies I’ve seen all year.
Sadly, I have yet to catch one of The Casbah’s livestream concerts, but this Saturday, Los Pinche Pinches will rock the virtual stage. Pinches play a sinister style of surf punk that incorporates post-hardcore heaviness and a dash of tiki. It’s dope, and dark enough to justify my seasonal need for spooky music these days (oh PS: happy September aka the time when we can officially start listening to Halloween music). The show will be free to watch on Casbah’s Twitch page.
Regular readers of this newsletter know about my unabashed love of hard seltzers. Since the pandemic started, my ironic infatuation for them has turned into a full-blown love (Ryan and White Claw, sitting in a tree...). So, I was very excited to read this piece about the craft beer world finally embracing hard seltzer, written by my former CityBeat colleague, Beth Demmon. Do I think that seltzer is the future of booze-consumption? No, but I’m stoked that breweries are now considering life beyond the latest triple IPA or whatever. Related: I tried Modern Times’ hard seltzer variety pack over the weekend, and dug it, for the most part. I still don’t know what a “cloudberry” is, and I refuse to look it up.
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