The Other McCain

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

Democrats in Disarray

Posted on | November 24, 2010 | 2 Comments

One of the best things about stomping Democrats is to watch their predictably laughable reactions when they lose.

Howie Klein at Down With Tyranny has devoted enormous effort to compiling a sort of conspiracy theory: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is CORRUPT! Because they’re hiring CONSULTANTS!

And for all we know, he’s right. But let’s see how he frames his thesis:

How were all those insane Republicans able to win?
Some of them– too many of them– really are dangerous crackpots. Was it really just because Obama didn’t deliver enough of the Hope and Change agenda? Or was it because some of the very Democrats tasked with victory were focused on something entirely different from winning — focused instead on personal enrichment? This is a story of, at best, horrifying dysfunction at the DCCC.

If you’ll click that “dangerous crackpots” link, you’ll see that the list includes, among others, Renee Ellmers and Allen West, whose campaigns we’ve written about at some length. Howie Klein can’t bring himself to believe that there are voters who share the “extreme” views of these Republicans. And he also can’t bring himself to accept the Occam’s Razor explanation of the election — i.e., voter backlash against Democrats, generated mainly by the perception that Obamanomics wasn’t working.

No, simple answers won’t do. There must be something sinister afoot, for how else to explain such actions as this?

Stalwart Democrats who supported the agenda . . . were cut off by the DCCC, including progressives Alan Grayson, Mary Jo Kilroy and Carol Shea-Porter.

Alan Grayson? You want to make Alan Grayson your test case? And then you want to talk about Republicans as “dangerous crackpots”? Pot, kettle, black.

The Man on the Grassy Knoll in Klein’s conspiracy theory of Democratic defeat is former DCCC executive director John Lapp, who is now a consultant with his own firm, Raltson-Lapp Media. Lapp evidently exercised supervisory authority over the DCCC’s independent expenditure operation, as Klein explains:

Incumbents told me they would go to DCCC Chair Chris Van Hollen or Debbie Wasserman Schultz and ask for financial help for their campaigns, only to be told that it was up to Lapp. One Member even told me that Van Hollen promised him help on four separate occasions, help that was never authorized by Lapp . . . and never came.

OK, looking at this accusation from the Republican side, I can tell you that there were lots and lots of GOP candidates — Renee Ellmers among them — who felt that they didn’t get enough help from the NRCC. But these were challengers, many of them running underfunded grassroots campaigns where an extra $5,000 or $10,000 would have been manna from heaven.

The disgruntled Democrats on whose behalf Howie Klein pleads were incumbent members of Congress. I’m sorry: If you’re a member of Congress and you don’t raise enough money to secure your own re-election, you’ve got worse problems than some consultant to your party’s campaign committee.

And, in point of fact, Alan Grayson’s problem wasn’t a shortage of campaign cash. He raised more than $5 million, whereas his GOP challenger Daniel Webster raised a mere $1.3 million. In what moral universe is Grayson a victim, deserving of charitable assistance from the DCCC?

Keep in mind that I have warned of “Death by Consultantitis” among Republicans, and have not stinted in criticizing the operations of the National Republican Congression Committee:

Pete Sessions should have been stripped of his [NRCC] chairmanship the day after Dede Scozzafava endorsed Bill Owens. If there were still any old-fashioned justice in the world, Pete Sessions would have been horsewhipped and stomped to death by the House Republican Caucus, his head carried through the streets atop a pike, and his mutilated headless corpse fed to dogs.

So I share, in a general way, Klein’s contempt for these Beltway bandits who claim to possess a monopoly on political expertise. And I’ve warned grassroots activists that the difference between them and the campaign professionals is that the professionals get paid — and they get paid whether their candidate wins or loses. The important thing for grassroots activists is to avoid getting bamboozled by incompetents and quick-buck artists.

Success in politics tends to breed cynicism. People win elections and obtain power. As soon as they get power, some of them start looking for the window where they can cash in their chips and exchange power for wealth. Trying to turn politics into a get-rich-quick-scheme landed Jack Abramoff in prison, but there are plenty of people — on both sides of the aisle — who’ve run scams  as cynical as Indian Jack’s and gotten away with it.

Were John Lapp and other Democrat consultants focused on their “personal enrichment,” as Howie Klein says? You betcha.

Let Howie Klein wrap his head around this: The people who run the Democratic Party are capitalists. They’re in the politics industry, and their goal in life is to get rich, rich, rich!

If you expect successful politics to be run entirely by amateurs — True Believers whose only motivation is their zealous devotion to the Sacred Cause — you’re a damned fool.

But then again, you are a Democrat, aren’t you?


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