The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Chip Gerdes, Remembered

Posted on | May 6, 2013 | 12 Comments

Chip Gerdes (left) with Dana Loesch and Andrew Breitbart

The first rule of Chip Gerdes was, nobody talked about Chip Gerdes. In a world of political fame-junkies, nobody was so deliberately anonymous as the man whose Twitter handle was @TookieW.

That handle was, of course, an inside joke about Tookie Williams, one of the Left’s cop-killer heroes, and Chip Gerdes was in a sense a sort of inside joke: A shadowy behind-the-scenes operative who was well-known to all the people who really knew what was going on, but who made a point of being completely unknown to the larger world.

Today Chip is being fondly remembered by his friends who would never have dared to write his name in public while he was alive, lest they accidentally let slip the closely-guarded secret of his existence.

Chip was a “black ops” guy, a disciple of the legendary Republican operative Roger Stone. He was adept at research and organizing, but his specialty was the kind of no-fingerprints political trickery that some people have termed “ratfucking.” Knowing how Chip worked, you never trusted that any “coincidence” in politics was actually coincidental, because you realized that whatever mischief Chip did on the GOP side, there were professional ratfuckers doing the same kind of thing (and probably worse) on the Democrat side.

When the WeinerGate scandal broke, one of the first phone calls I made was to Chip Gerdes: “Did you do this?”

“No, swear to God, man — this is legit,” Chip said. “I mean, yeah, we all knew Anthony had this problem weeks ago, but it’s the real deal. Dude hit the wrong button trying to DM a meat-Tweet to this girl. I’d love to tell you it was us, but it wasn’t.”

The first time I remember meeting Chip was in California when I went to see Alabama play in the BCS title game in January 2010. Chip was hanging out with Breitbart’s colleague Mike Flynn and I actually crashed that night in their motel room near the beach. About a week later, I went to Massachusetts to cover the Scott Brown campaign and, while I was there, actually reported on something that (unknown to me) was one of Chip’s black-ops stunts.

That’s how good Chip was — he fooled me. Now that he’s gone, I suppose it might even be possible to believe in coincidences again.

You had to know the guy to really appreciate him. Jim Hoft pays tribute to a loyal friend, and Dana Loesch attempts to convey a sense of who Chip was and what Chip did:

Most people couldn’t fathom all that he contributed to our movement. They simply don’t know. They don’t know how many victories he helped win for conservatives. They don’t know how he pitched in with fundraising behind the scenes. How he worked to turn blue districts red. How he encouraged and supported the next generation of conservatives. He always answered his phone. He always had a plan. He always had advice, most often given in his fast pitch with a cigarette perched on his lip. . . . He was the biggest Bama fan I knew. He was a family man. He was a diabolical genius.

“The biggest Bama fan I knew”? My feelings are slightly hurt, but I’m not in a mood to argue. Not today. #RollTide. #RMFT.

Chip Gerdes, R.I.P.



12 Responses to “Chip Gerdes, Remembered”

  1. DanRiehl
    May 6th, 2013 @ 2:17 pm

    RT @smitty_one_each: TOM Chip Gerdes, Remembered #TCOT

  2. Kevin Trainor Jr.
    May 6th, 2013 @ 2:42 pm

    Kevin Trainor Jr. liked this on Facebook.

  3. John LaRosa
    May 6th, 2013 @ 2:45 pm

    This is so sad. Great guy. Terrific sense of humor. True patriot…and a total “character”. Stacy, I believe you (or Lash) introduced me to him in 2010 during one of our #PA12 #unsustainablebartab events. I was glad to get to hang out with Chip there, and at a couple of subsequent CPACs, but I wish I knew him better. My thoughts and prayers are now with his family and close friends. May he rest in peace.

  4. David West
    May 6th, 2013 @ 3:19 pm

    I met Chip when he came to Omaha to try to get a feel of the landscape of politics here. Chip and I immediately hit it off, he was such an easy guy to talk with. He had met with two of the politicos in the area, and was less than impressed until he talked with me.

    The both of us traveled around the city and beyond, meeting with various people as we could get a hold of them. Chip went away, with promises to help when we needed it against those he had ‘ratfucked’ previously.

    Football was another area where we hit it off, him with his #rolltide loyalty, and myself with my #huskers. We sent messages back and forth constantly during football season, and I became a small Bama fan because of his enthusiasm. (My Huskers are still #1)

    Then, it was Game of Thrones. We spent hours on the phone, talking about Game of Thrones up until recently. He loved the books, and was afraid George RR Martin would pass on before finishing them. Unfortunately, it was Chip who passed so never learned how the story would end.

    I recently contacted Chip about helping against the campaign of Jim Suttle, the progressive mayor of Omaha up for reelection. I had sent him information about how the anti-Keystone Pipeline forces were being funded through a Warren Buffet surrogate.

    The last time I texted Chip was just Thursday. He was one of the people I messaged about my termination at work, thus finally freeing me up to get fully immersed into politics instead of having to couch everything I had done. I sent him a note saying I’d love to get into more writing, or if any conservative group he discovered needed IT work, I’m available. He told me he would look for me.

    That was the last time I talked with Chip. Hearing about his passing has just devastated me. I may not have known him as well as you, Robert, but he was still my good friend. I am really going to miss him.

  5. Monday Catch-Up: The Truth Is Coming Out About Benghazi | Nice Deb
    May 6th, 2013 @ 4:13 pm

    […] The Other McCain: Chip Gerdes, Remembered: […]

  6. TommyHolly
    May 6th, 2013 @ 6:09 pm

    I’ll miss ya Chip! Good times at the “Eagle’s Nest” in Chicago with a telescope.

  7. BackwardsBoy
    May 6th, 2013 @ 7:23 pm

    A conservative and a Bama fan? I wish I could’ve met him since that describes me too.
    Prayers to his family and friends. RIP.

  8. John Spake
    May 6th, 2013 @ 7:41 pm

    That nest was mine. Too bad I wasn’t there

  9. Gerry Smith
    May 6th, 2013 @ 10:48 pm

    His name was Robert Paulson.
    His name was Robert Paulson.
    His name was Robert Paulson.

  10. Ellen
    May 7th, 2013 @ 1:13 am

    I never had the privilege of knowing him, but understand the loss of a dear friend. Prayers out to you and his family.

  11. SoCalChick
    May 7th, 2013 @ 10:51 pm

    Chip was blasting instructions into my ear via cell phone one gray postElection day morning in Chicago at the Cicero warehouse where ballots were counted. It was 2010, I had been brought in to knock out a GOTV effort for the Joe Walsh campaign. We won days later, but it was tense for a few days. A few weeks earlier, Chip hooked my up with a premiere GOP legal team effort in Chicago which enabled me to set up roaming legal teams for the Joe Walsh campaign. Chip was larger than life and unlike alot of people I’ve met in politics – he was no armchair hero – he was the real deal.

  12. Rest in Peace, Dear Friend – Until We Meet Again | Politifreak - Political Blogs and News
    May 13th, 2013 @ 9:45 am

    […] Loesch and Stacy McCain posted beautiful tributes to our friend last […]