Who You Calling “Nixonian”, Pal?

NEW SLAUGHTERThere is much to love about the secret taping of a Mitch McConnell strategy session, and I’m not just talking about Mitch himself referring to it as “Nixonian”.

The story, briefly, is that back on Ground Hog Day someone recorded Team McConnell huddled to discuss the points of attack they’d likely take against various Kentucky Democrats positioning to run against their man, Sen. Do Nothing Ever, Oppose Everything Always. Whether the whole meeting was taped we don’t know. But the first eleven and a half minutes, where the team rattled off actress Ashley Judd’s vulnerabilities was and it was given to Mother Jones’ David Corn, the guy who also received the video of Mitt Romney’s now-legendary 47% comments.

The Mitch Machine immediately made a big show of calling in the FBI … the FBI! … to root out the criminal low-life who would make such a nefarious assault on the Senator’s precious constitutional freedoms. (The FBI is required to consider investigating, but hasn’t exactly jumped on it yet.)

Mother Jones and Corn are protecting their source, saying only that the recording was not the result of a “Watergate-style” bugging. Since I presume Corn is hip enough to media cons to have verified that the tape isn’t a slick composite of out-of-context remarks, the only explanation is that it was done by … one of McConnell’s team, which given the rat-fucking mentality of the GOP’s tactical apparatus today, seems completely plausible.

Legally, Mother Jones is in the clear under almost any scenario, since virtually anything discussed by a public official meets the definition of “public interest”. Moreover, all taint of “criminal activity” evaporates if one person in the room — the recorder — was aware of the machine.

This is of course juuuuust a bit different from the now familiar conservative-Breibart-James O’Keefe tactic of misrepresenting yourself to an ideological opponent, recording that conversation, then editing it to distort the intent and meaning of what the other party said and getting humiliated in court for your trouble.

A couple of things that semi-amaze me about the McConnell incident:

On the tape you hear Team Mitch talking about Judd’s myriad points of weakness, including her bout with depression … which, and they did a lot of heavy research here … she freely discusses in her autobiography. Better though, is that Judd has gone on record, and by that I mean in front of cameras and microphones that she knew were there, talking about being a rape victim as a girl, and how that trauma haunted her well into adulthood. Point being, Team Mitch probably is so completely cynical and clueless that they would dare take the GOP brand — now roughly equivalent to a toxic waste dump — back into a fresh round of tone-deaf “rape talk” by attacking an actual rape victim.

That would not surprise me. I suspect the Team has numbers proving that smearing rape victims for battling depression is a win-win strategy among McConnell’s aged white male, evolution-denying, Bible-clutching, gun-stroking base.

That said, what’s remarkable about the McConnell tape is that … nothing all that remarkable is said. I seriously doubt Judd or any Democrat was surprised to hear what team Mitch was talking about. Opposition research in the spit-balling phase, liberal or conservative, always includes a consideration of every conceivable factor. The problem for the GOP today is that since they have no intention of making any substantive legislative proposals beneficial to the middle-class, misguided, shoot-your-feet-off “social” and “cultural” strategies are pretty much their whole game.

It’d be funny if they weren’t such a damned millstone around the rest of our necks.

But the best part, really –McConnell invoking Richard Nixon to characterize liberal criminality, in the context of McConnell discussing smear tactics aside — is the cesspool of intra-mural intrigue that the new conservative movement has wrought. Here in Minnesota we have Michele Bachmann under multiple ethics investigations, originating from former employees. We are still watching fall-out over the Michael Brodkorb era on our local Capitol Hill, where rat-fucking was elevated to a kind of prime directive. This includes senior GOP (white males) conniving against Amy Koch. We also had Tony “The Chairman” Sutton elevated and then abandoned by the GOP’s elders and money-handlers. And then we move off to the national scene … .

The obvious aphorism here is, “There is no honor among thieves” … and much less among those who serve institutional cynicism.

20 thoughts on “Who You Calling “Nixonian”, Pal?

      1. Jim Leinfelder says:

        “…coined in the 1960s…”


        1. ratfucking

        1. In politics, the use of “dirty tricks” to discredit one’s opponent(s). This often takes the form of false or semi-false accusations spread through underhanded means. The term was coined in the 1960s by Hunter S. Thompson and Bob Woodward. The art of ratfucking was brought into the public eye by Karl Rove. Among his ratfucking accomplishments are the 2000 GOP South Carolina primary and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

            1. Mike Thomas says:

              Yes wise Leinfelder…and despite liberal paranoia, John Kerry, Al Gore, and Michael Dukakis did themselves in too.

      2. Jim Leinfelder says:

        Some, of course, credit Nixon’s Don Segretti, with the phrase. Thw point is, it’s a pretty well understood term of art:

        Watergate-era dirty tricks
        Main article: Watergate scandal
        The Nixon Committee for the Re-Election of the President (CRP), a private non-governmental campaign entity, used funds from its coffers to pay for, and later cover up, “dirty tricks” performed against opponents by Richard Nixon’s employee, Donald Segretti. Segretti famously coined the term ‘ratfucking’ for recruiting conservative members to infiltrate opposition groups (and/or misrepresent them through false flag activities) in order to undermine the effectiveness of such opposition.[1]
        As a result of post-Watergate reform legislation, such activities are strictly regulated, though other private entities still may practice what has become commonly referred to as questionable or unethical dirty tricks.
        Recent nomenclature equates a Dirty Tricks Squad to any organized, covert attempt to besmirch the credibility or reputation of a candidate, individual or organization so as to render them ineffective.

  1. PM says:

    I think Mitch was foolish to try to make himself out to be a victim of liberal dirty tricks (while he was talking about which dirty tricks he was going to use) here. My guess was that if he had totally ignored this entire thing, it would have blown over in a couple of weeks (especially as Judd had already withdrawn from the race before he had actually done anything). Now he looks like a clown in a three ring circus….

    1. In the Nixon era, the only conceivable way to get a recording would be from a) a spy-style bug or b) a recorder the size of a shoe box. Because the shoe box-sized machine was pretty impossible to hide, if you didn’t see a tape recorder in the room, bugging was plausible.

      But in 2013, there are these pocket-sized devices, which every single person in the room likely had sitting on the table in front of them, called smart phones, which record, photo and video at the flick of a digit.

      Given that, I’ll be surprised if it turns out there was a bug in a ceiling tile or someone’s lapel flower.

      That’s the small issue. The big issue is that 20 million Americans have depression, including lots of very successful people. So grow up already.

  2. Newt says:

    Since there is no issue with bugging, I invite my conservative brethren to begin bugging the conference rooms of the MSM. Can you imagine the rich and damning guana that flows out of the mouths “journalists.”

    1. PM says:

      Ahhh, Newt…

      I imagine that the recordings come from one of the participants in the meeting, not from a “bug”. That, of course, makes the entire thing legal.

      But if you have any proof that something illegal happened, please share it with us.

  3. Newt says:

    I’d like to electronically evesdrop on a Reid or Pelosi campaign meeting. I’m sure there would be no cynicism or vitriol. (Fucking liberal hypocrites.) I’m also waiting for Woodward & Bernstein to jump all over this case (yeah right).

    1. Newt: I gather from your indignation that you know FOR ABSOLUTE CERTAIN that those damned lying hypocrite liberals bugged poor Ol’ Mitch. Kick over where you read that, will you? Also you might have missed the part where I said that what was said was nothing much and no different than what goes on in any political campaign … including the bastard liberals who are sucking money out of your pocket and freedom from your lungs.

      Santorum 2016!

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      I was guessing it was a staffer or volunteer actually at the meeting using their smart phone. Creeps me out that it was some liberal hack in the hall eavesdropping. I don’t know if it is legal or illegal or ratfucking, but it doesn’t feel ethical. Yuck.

    2. Well, I have no problem conceding I was wrong if this turns out to be the reality of the situation. My sentiments and characterizations of other intramural takedowns remains “operative”. There are so many examples of nefarious behavior on the part of the modern right, it is always reasonable to assume they have done it again. Obviously, liberals play the same game from time to time, but usually with much less fervor and skill.

      But if all these guys had to do was turn on a smartphone in a hallway and get sound quality that good … I don’t see much of a legal case. Mitch will, however, earn a great deal of sympathy … befitting his victimhood.

      1. I agree that conservatives do more and better skullduggery than libs. I just don’t know why liberals feel like they have to do it at all. Beyond the ethical reasons, which are important, in an era when conservatives regularly say supremely damning things in public, there just isn’t that much to gain by sneaking around in hallways and risking making the bad guys look like victims.

  4. Newt says:

    I suppose this is liberal payback for the NPR and Planned Parenthood sting videos produced by the young conservative operatives. Next, I want them to punk (and topple) the MSM.

  5. bertram jr. says:

    Bertram loves the part where Mother Jones (liberals beloved “journalism bastion”) issues statement that they are “waiting for McConnell to respond to his remarks” in the illegally obtained tape, which MJ had released.

    Oh, the richness of the twisted liberal psyche, where wrong is right , and all dissenters are demonized and silenced.

  6. bertram jr. says:

    Ah, yes, the old “fervor and skill” rejoinder.

    Would that there was a return to “fervor and skill” as values in this country, which is now being run by and for the do-nothing entitlement crowd.

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