Thu Sep 22nd, 2005 at 17:50:00 PDT
I realize this may seem hyperbolic, but I beg you to bear with me...
I visited the Grand Canyon ten years ago. I vividly recall a particularly intense observation: As I stood on edge of one of the seven wonders of the world I came to understand from my actual physical reaction, the emotional swelling within me, the dizziness and thrilling vertigo I experienced, that "the word 'breath-taking' had been thrown around far too often. For this-the Grand Canyon-is truly breath-taking in the literal sense.." My breath was truly lost for a brief moment when my eyes first gazed upon it's enormity. Which brings me to this afternoon, the second time I was brought to truly understand the gravity of certain language after reading an article in The New Republic(subscription required)entitled "Swimming With Sharks" regarding the absolutely abhorent, un-American, and shameful behavior of the College Republicans National Committee (CNRC) AND--get this...the active partcicpation--not complacence--involvement- REWARDING AND PUNISHING of the CNRC members by the Republican establishment!
Yes. When I say "the Republican establishment", I mean the Republicans in charge of our nation. Top of the food-chain scumbags; I.e. congressmen, lobbyists, Karl Rove, et al..
PLEASE RECOMMEND THIS!!
Honestly, I would never ask that, I normally just hope to earn it, unless I had a second Grand Canyon moment occur in my life..
This screams for the need of MSM coverage.
Because before today, I never truly understood the gravity of the expression
"HOLY FUCKING SHIT".
The Republicans are truly are breeding an unscruplous, dangerous army; Impressionable kids are being taught that "win by any means necessary" is not only acceptable, it is necessary. Campaigns are literally equated to knife fights. In other words there are no rules. And they are watched and graded and get higher marks from the "Establishment" if they succeed through lies, deceit and forgery. It is my firm belief that they will seek to forcibly take control of our country by whatever base means necessary--including election fixing--effectively ending America as we know it unless someone puts lots and lots of light on this.. As disgusting and terrifying as this is, if enough light is shed upon this, it could shame their party in a very VERY public way.
The article is essentially a narrative of the recent campaign for President of the College Republicans through the eyes and campaign of one candidate, Michael Davidson. We are shown how the campaigns are run, how they are financed how they are won and, most importantly, how they are closely watched by, as the CRNC calls them, "the Establishment".
When College Republicans invoke the Establishment, they mean a clique of former College Republicans--now grown-ups playing politics at the highest level--who will trample anyone to maintain their clique's control of the organization. Like all good cabals, it is hard to know exactly who belongs to the Establishment and how Machiavellian their meddling is. Before his tumble from grace, the lobbyist Jack Abramoff would lend College Republicans his skybox at the MCI center, donate money, and lead training sessions. (In 2002, the crnc paid Jack Abramoff for "accounting & legal services.") Rove reportedly keeps tabs, and Norquist invites the group's chair to attend his celebrated Wednesday gathering of conservative big shots. But the convention offered some more suggestive examples of the Establishment's methodology. Just past 2 a.m. on Saturday, wavering delegates from Louisiana received calls from Morton Blackwell, the legendary veteran of the Goldwater and Reagan campaigns, urging them to vote for [CRNC candidate Paul]Gourley. It was a perfectly calibrated tactic. "A 19-year-old Republican will generally do whatever a demigod of the conservative movement like Morton tells them," one Davidson supporter griped.
These campaigns are organized as indepenedent 527's. They have war-rooms, campaign chests over $500,000 and embark on smear campaigns against other candidates. Not only are the tactics known, they are admired, emulated, put into action and modified for the ever-changing world of campaigning...
Challenging the Establishment guarantees that you will be subject to the politics of personal destruction. As McFadden told me, a whispering campaign alleged that Davidson was gay (not true) and moderate (quite possibly true) and from Red Berkeley (demonstrably true). Smears appeared on a blog called CR Veterans for Truth, a bow in the direction of the swift-boat veterans who attempted to shred John Kerry's military reputation. But the real destruction doesn't occur during the campaign--it comes afterward. A long trail of defeated insurgents have found their political careers ruined by the Establishment.
Ruining the careers of their own rank and file- THEIR COLLEGE PEERS, their FELLOW AMERICANS is par for the course!! After all, it is no secret how their idols made their bones.
Back in 1981, Abramoff and his campaign manager, Norquist, promised their leading competitor, Amy Moritz, the job of crnc executive director if she dropped out of the race. Moritz took the bait, but it turned out that Abramoff had made the promise with his fingers crossed. Norquist took the executive director job and named Moritz his deputy. That demotion didn't last long, either. After discovering the talented Ralph Reed, Norquist handed the Christian Coalition godfather Moritz's responsibilities and her office space. They placed all of Moritz's belongings in a box labeled amy's desk. Even 25 years later, she hasn't shed her role as College Republican doormat. Abramoff used her think tank, the National Center for Public Policy Research, to funnel nearly $1 million into a phony direct-mail firm with an address identical to his own..
In 1973, Rove was the Establishment candidate, and [Lee]Atwater, the original Sun Tsu-quoting College Republican, was his prime campaign operative. They spent the spring of 1973 crisscrossing the country in a Ford Pinto, lining up the support of state chairs--basically the right-wing version of Thelma and Louise. But, in point of fact, Rove was hardly the right-winger in the race. His two opponents, Terry Dolan and Robert Edgeworth, were. And, when Dolan threw his support to Edgeworth, Rove had no other alternative. He had to cheat.
Take a wild guess who gave young Karl Rove a big hug and pat on the head for his brilliant conniving...
When the College Republicans gathered for their convention at the Lake of the Ozarks resort in Missouri, Rove and Atwater relentlessly challenged the legitimacy of Edgeworth's delegates, even if the evidence did not justify their attacks. Because of Rove's allegations, the convention ended in deadlock. In revenge, Dolan went to The Washington Post with recordings that captured training seminars where Rove boasted of his campaign techniques, including rooting through opponents' garbage cans and other forms of campaign espionage. The Post broke the story under the headline "gop probes official as teacher of tricks."The Republican National Committee chairman, one George H.W. Bush, however, didn't punish Rove for his less-than-high-minded behavior. Instead, he gave Rove the chairmanship and sent Edgeworth a scathing letter accusing him of disloyalty. "He wrote me out of the party," Edgeworth told James Moore and Wayne Slater, the authors of the biography Bush's Brain.
It recently came out that campaign contributions had been been acquired through less-than-honorable means. Once found out, they stopped the practice and their only concern was if the story would get out.
How does one raise $9 million in a year for a group like College Republicans? For starters, it is important to obscure the ultimate destination of the funds. The College Republicans sent out their solicitations on the letterhead of such nonexistent groups as "Republican Headquarters 2004" and "Republican Elections Committee." Next, it helps to fill the missives with as much emotion as a Wagnerian opera. "Apparently the Democrats don't have any concern about hurting you, your family or America," one letter read. "Their sole concern is revenge--vengeance--retribution." The most infamous of these missives included an American flag lapel pin. It urged recipients to pray over the pin and return it, along with $1,000. According to the letter, the pin would be worn by the president as he accepted the Republican nomination: "I could have sent you your own lapel pin, but I knew that it wouldn't mean nearly as much to you as being able to give a special gift to President Bush during this challenging time." This letter, incidentally, bore the signature of Paul Gourley.
Finally, it helps to send these letters to senior citizens, who are lonely and sometimes suffering from dementia. "I don't have any more money," Cecilia Barbier, a 90-year-old retired church council worker and College Republicans contributor, told the Seattle Times. "I'm stopping giving to everybody. That was all my savings that they got." In a single year, Barbier made 300 donations for the organization, adding up to $100,000.
These kids idolize their forebears and will do anything for them. And wherever these kids are focused, they seem to be able to pull out wins for Republicans..
But involvement in College Republicans offers tangible perks for them, too. It provides a vehicle for recruiting protégés. Rove, for instance, has stocked his White House office with CRs. And, by helping the youngsters win crnc elections, the adults earn a chit they can cash in during election season. As McHenry's story illustrates, it's not an exaggeration to say that the College Republicans can tip races. The group flooded McHenry's district with manpower last year, as he competed in a tight primary race. In the end, he prevailed by 85 votes.
All of their CRNC antics are simply preparation for the big game of helping to tip races by doing the grunt work. They are sent out to pound the pavement perpetrating smear campaigns in real political races.
College Republicans had understood this game for years. They had heard many such stories from the children of elderly men and women who receive boxes full of these letters. And many chairmen of the organization sought to break the relationship with RDI. "Everyone called it heroin," says Holder. The CRs sincerely tried to kick their addiction, but they simply couldn't.
It took simultaneous stories in the Seattle Times and the Durham Herald-Sun last winter to finally break the contract's back. In the immediate aftermath of these stories, crnc Chair Eric Hoplin e-mailed top state officials of the organization, telling them not to speak to the news media. "We need the story to go away, which it will," he wrote. "But only if we all withhold our comments."He added that the story was "full of lies and distortions written by a well-known liberal who is out to get us." But Hoplin's position wouldn't hold long. RDI represented a potent campaign issue and a growing embarrassment for the GOP.
It is a hard article to summarize. The College Democrats are afforded the death knell by the author, Franklin Foer.
A few weeks after the convention, I got in touch with the newly reelected president of College Democrats, Grant Woodard of Grinnell College. For his uncontested race, he said he raised $2,000--$198,000 less than Michael Davidson's estimated take. Unlike the College Republicans, Democratic students are not organized as an independent 527. They reside within the Democratic National Committee and exist largely to supply campaign volunteers. Woodard makes all his calls after 9 p.m., "when I get free cell phone minutes," he told me. His salary is $75,000 lower than the one Chairman Paul Gourley receives--that is to say, nonexistent. The contrast between the two organizations is remarkably vivid. When the liberal Center for American Progress sent a blogger to the crnc convention, she returned horrified by what she'd witnessed and sentimental about the Democratic operation: "I much prefer our movement with blue jeans, diversity, goofy kids, birkenstocks and good beer (none of that busch light crap). We've definitely gotta step up the field based organizing, but let's make sure we're enjoying it. And each other." Considering their current losing streak, Democrats might want to spend more time contemplating the contrast between the two styles of political education. How often do Birkenstocks trod the road to victory? Can you really count on goofy kids in a knife fight?
I highly recommend subscribing to The New Republic for this. Hopefully, I have managed to convey the insanity, the utter lack of morality, the disturbing embrace of treachery and most foully, the approval of their leaders..
In an interview with Charlie Rose several years ago, Sec. of State Warren Christopher was asked what he thought was the most important issue facing America's future. He responded (I am paraphrasing) that he worried politics no longer drew the best and brightest from our nation. He worried that political office was not the higher calling it once was and that would leave a vaccuum for power-hungry, unscrupulous, ambitious people to fill the void...
I am having another Grand Canyon moment...
I weep for this nation.