The Other McCain

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

Grow Up or Go Home

Posted on | June 3, 2013 | 14 Comments

Over the past couple of years, Ali Akbar has occasionally suggested doing a book called Operatives, about all the behind-the-scenes drama in politics, the existence of which most people never suspect.

But I’d never write a book like that, because (a) my sources would never speak to me again, and (b) it’s probably best people don’t know what kind of shady backstabbing egomaniacal polecats earn their livings by getting Republicans elected.

The fate of America hinges on defeating the Democrats and that, in turn, requires hiring a crew of vicious unscrupulous pirates whose motivation is best summarized by the question, “What’s in it for me?”

Having seen these people at close range — I never burn my sources, so I’m honor-bound to take their secrets to the grave — I have to say that most of them are not really bad people, it’s just that the business of politics naturally attracts people whose chief characteristics are ambition and an appetite for power. Goody-two-shoes types don’t last long in a racket like that. Either they quit in disgust, or else they get screwed over and dumped by the side of the road. “Idealist = loser.”

The classic example of how the political operative game works was the Abramoff scandal, in which “Indian Jack” went to federal prison while Ralph Reed, who reportedly collected $5 million in fees from Abramoff’s casino clients . . . Well, Ralph kept his $5 million. Legally.

Only a hard-boiled cynic lasts more than a few weeks in that kind of business. Fortunately, I’m merely a journalist — like a sports writer reporting the final score, and never mind if the starting tailback is jacked up on illegal painkillers and dodging child-support payments. If he scores the winning touchdown, he’s the hero of the story. But if he loses . . .

Somebody has to be the scapegoat for defeat and it’s predictable that, whenever Republicans lose elections, we’re treated to tawdry tales of incompetent staffers and money-grubbing consultants whose blunders and grifting are blamed for the loss. Most of the time, it’s the same “sources close to the campaign” (who were confidently predicting victory in October) who anonymously leak out post-election dirt on their campaign insider buddies.

Loyalty? They can’t even spell the word.

Nevertheless, even in the treacherous shark-tank of Republican politics, there are standards no wise operative would ever violate:

Eyewitnesses reported that Miner followed former Senate candidate (and potential Congressional candidate) Dan Bongino into the parking lot at Michael’s Eighth Avenue. Miner reportedly was involved in a drunken confrontation with Bongino (Miner was reportedly the drunk one as you will see in a moment) that resulted in Miner shouting and cursing at him. It’s a good thing Miner didn’t try to get physical with Bongino — it could have gotten ugly.
Sometime after that and before the charges were filed at 1:22 a.m. on Thursday May 30, Mr. Miner was stopped by a Westminster Police officer on Route 140 Westbound at Route 31.
Miner (Ryan Richard Miner if you’re using Maryland Case Search) ended up being charged with driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence of alcohol per se, driving while impaired by alcohol, failure to display registration card on demand, negligent driving, and failure to obey traffic control devices. The per se charge means that Miner did agree to take a breathalyzer test and blew over a 0.08. I’ve heard that Miner has retained GOP activist and attorney Greg Kline as his defense counsel.
Miner has been volunteering for the gubernatorial campaign of Harford County Executive David Craig. While doing this, Miner has made all sorts of backhanded digs online and elsewhere about Bongino, who was originally thought to be running for governor.

You can read the rest of that at The Quinton Report, and also the follow-up about Miner getting thrown under the Craign campaign bus.

This kind of stuff happens often enough that political junkies seldom pay attention to it — another operative who pushed his amateur-hour act too far — so it’s pretty impressive when a feud involving an Ohio-based consulting firm you never heard of turns into a 5,000-word feature article by McKay Coppins of BuzzFeed.

Show of hands, who ever heard of Strategy Group for Media? Rex Elsass? Nick Everhart? No, you never heard of those guys, but somehow the fact that Everhart worked 10 years for Elsass’s firm, then left under less-than-amicable circumstances is big news at BuzzFeed.

Question: When did McKay Coppins or anybody else at BuzzFeed ever write this kind of inside-dirt story about Democrats?
Answer: Never.

BuzzFeed is a partisan liberal blog, or otherwise they would occasionally dish dirt on Democrats this way, which they never do.

Do I want to wade through a 5,000-word gossip column about routine backstabbing among Republican consultants? No, I don’t, and I think that the world of Republican operatives should be divided into roughly two categories:

  1. People who never talk to McKay Coppins; and
  2. People who are never going to work in GOP politics again.

If McKay Coppins were on fire, I wouldn’t piss on him to put out the flames.


14 Responses to “Grow Up or Go Home”

  1. Taxpayer1234
    June 3rd, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

    I gotz my dose of gonzo attitude today. Kewl post!

  2. ak4mc
    June 3rd, 2013 @ 12:59 pm

    Good advice across the board. RT @smitty_one_each Grow Up or Go Home

  3. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    June 3rd, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

    This is nothing new. Go read Destiny of the Republic. The GOP operatives in that story make Karl Rove look good.

  4. Jaynie59
    June 3rd, 2013 @ 1:42 pm

    It drives me insane when conservative blogs link to and give shouts to left wing rag sites like Buzzfeed and Mediaite. I just read a shout out to Noah Rothman of Mediaite this morning on one blog. I don’t remember where I read it but it happens all the time. Hot Air. Ace. The Corner. They all do it. Someone refers to themselves as a conservative, or some liberal occasionally state the obvious, and conservatives fall all over themselves in praise. It’s sickening.
    I used to think conservatives were just good people who were painfully naïve about the thinking of the average liberal. Now I think most conservatives are just plain stupid. It’s nice to read one who gets it.

  5. Finrod Felagund
    June 3rd, 2013 @ 1:59 pm

    Don’t forget the PuffHo. I don’t even read Radley Balko articles there.

  6. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    June 3rd, 2013 @ 2:13 pm

    I do it too, but only if it is in our favor or to make a point. I recognize Buzz Feed and Mediate are not friendlies.

  7. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    June 3rd, 2013 @ 2:14 pm

    I refuse to link to Huff and Puff. I stopped reading Balko very much when he made the switch and I have not linked there.

  8. Adjoran
    June 3rd, 2013 @ 3:30 pm

    I actually clicked through at the start of the post, but after a few paragraphs realized why I never read Coppins’ drivel. I’ll never get that minute or so of my life back.

    Politics is a dirty business, and the people who get their hands dirty aren’t going to earn any civic awards. That’s just a fact.

    Another fact is it isn’t the fault of Coppins or his editors that they never do tell-all features on leftist operatives. There aren’t the sources. In Republican and conservative circles, as noted in the post, every man is out for himself. That leads to the sort of hatchet jobs on rivals that hack writers eat up.

    But on the left, they aren’t out for themselves over everything else, they serve the Collective. When a leftist operative is thrown under the bus, he usually assumes it is necessary for the Greater Good of the Socialist State, and takes. Oh, sure, they love to enrich themselves in the process, but they don’t turn on their masters like true capitalists do.

    When Obama threw Rev. Wright under the bus, the guy stayed there – or went on an extended tour of Africa to avoid embarrassing the Big Guy. When John Edwards had to ditch his campaign bloggesses for their extreme views recorded on the internet, neither of them trashed him or his campaign. And Susan MacDougall spent a year in jail rather than testify truthfully about Bill Clinton.

  9. Adjoran
    June 3rd, 2013 @ 3:32 pm

    Oh – and while I agree with you about putting out Coppins if he were on fire, I would in the spirit of bipartisanship be willing to piss on him as a preventative measure.

    He’d probably like it, though.

  10. K-Bob
    June 3rd, 2013 @ 4:29 pm

    While I agree with “The Collective” bit, I think there’s a huge amount of “resume enhancer” that attains to anything tawdry done by a leftist. So neither reporters nor insiders can even conceive of much of anything a Dem does as “wrongdoing.”

  11. K-Bob
    June 3rd, 2013 @ 4:33 pm

    I’m going to pretend that you read those sites (Hot Air, The Corner, Ace) more than I do. Just for grins.

    My guess is that you read them about as frequently though. I’m betting a punch-press operator could count the number of times I’ve bothered to read anything at Hot Air–this year–on one hand.

  12. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    June 3rd, 2013 @ 5:15 pm
  13. K-Bob
    June 3rd, 2013 @ 5:43 pm

    Two words: Roman à clef

    It would be hilarious. Get Sayet to co-author.

  14. Lovely Transparency | The Necropolitan Sentinel
    June 4th, 2013 @ 10:44 am

    […] I would guess, most everyone else who has a cartoony understanding of political operatives, which knowledgeable people like Stacy McCain can speak of in frustratingly vague terms, from first-hand experience with such seemingly inevitable […]