spring 2012 disgust with politics, part I: in which Newt Gingrich does not fully realize that he is a patsy

i have been avoiding talking about politics because i find them pointless and depressing and blah blah blah. ever since Cory Booker walked back from a middle-of-the-road call for civility in debate so that he could get back to a partisan position, i’ve been thinking that MAYBE my regular annoyance with politics would result in my bursting out with a sincerely aggrieved post on the matter, but i have been able to resist until now. UNTIL NOW. let’s get this over with so that i can lapse back into not giving a damn about politics as hard as i can.

Kevin Spacey, i think
i don’t often listen to convicted felons for advice, but when i do… wait, when i do, i realize that’s fucking stupid and i stop

pro-transparency liberal group United Republic won’t disclose donors

the problem with commenting/complaining about hypocrisy in politics is that your righteous indignation can be easily punctured with remarks along the lines of, “well, what else did you expect?” which, honestly, is a fair point: what else DO i expect from politicians than a high-level, expensive version of “do as we say, not as we do,” right? that being said, i think i might be able to round up a slight amount of outrage for this one:

“The progressive non-profit advocacy group United Republic, which is dedicated to rooting out “big money in politics,” has failed to disclose its big-money donors despite numerous promises to do so. The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP), which opposes restrictions on political speech, said United Republic should be more open if it wants to fulfill its stated purpose. “It’s a bit ironic,” said CCP president David Keating in an interview with the Free Beacon. “If they’re doing that, then they should be willing to disclose their donors.””

well, to start, let’s get this out of the way: i am SURE there’s an element of partisan politics at work here, what with one side being progressive and bearing the name “United Republic” and the other being the self-unaware “CCP,” which i suppose espouses a conservative brand of “may the best man win” regarding funding political speech. here’s the thing: i don’t give a shit about all that. what i care about is a basic concept: if your advocacy group stands for primarily one thing –transparency in politics, in this case– then i think you should stand for that, that’s all.

“United Republic launched in November. The organization comprises a coalition of groups, such as Dylan Ratigan’s “Get Money Out,” that share the “goal of ending the domination of Big Money over the political process.” Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff joined the organization in February and now writes for its blog, Republic Report.”

two things:

–is this just another example of a group bitching about funding and “big money” and meaning “the money of those we don’t agree with” when to the average man, said group is funded by the same kind of elitist wealth? ultimately, we’re probably not going to resolve this, since the article seems to be implying United Republic will not tell us, but i think you see where i am going with this;

–ah, we’ve brought in disgraced lobbyist Kevin Spacey (wait, is it Jack Abramoff? i get them confused) to show us the error of our ways. you know, since he’s a notorious criminal who helped corrupt politics to the best of his ability and for his own personal gain, and… oh yeah. well, anyway, he clearly paid an incredibly high price for that, what with him being quickly out of prison and touted on the internet and… oh yeah. anyway, here’s the thing: much like Victor Conte, why do people think these kinds of guys, even granting their intimate knowledge of the topic(s) they cover, don’t just attach an easily-attacked figure to their cause?

“United Republic claims it “is funded by hundreds of individual donors and foundations, big and small, who understand that nearly every issue Americans care about is held hostage by well-financed special interests.” United Republic’s first-year budget is somewhere between $5 million and $10 million, according to National Journal. The identities of the special interests bankrolling United Republic are unknown.”

now, call me nuts, but 5-10 million dollars in a yearly budget from sources admitted to include big as well as small sounds to me like yet another well-financed special interest kicking in 9.9 of the 10 million. i suppose this COULD be resolved by identifying the donors, of course.

“Many non-profit advocacy groups that engage in political activity do not disclose their donors. United Republic is different, however, because it regularly promises to disclose. The Fund for the Republic, United Republic’s 501(c)(3) arm, states on its website: “Because we advocate for transparency in political spending, we ask that our own donors be transparent as well. While we don’t post donors’ names publicly, we like to provide them upon request.” United Republic did not return numerous requests by the Free Beacon for information about its donors, however.”

frankly, this IS almost a dazzling level of hypocrisy. look, i am sure there are donors who legitimately only want to hide their personal information and there might be some shred of a justification for it… but maybe, MAYBE if you’re not prepared to do the thing that you not only want others to do, but also explicitly promise to do on your website, you MIGHT want to dial back your rhetoric a little.

the article goes on to provide some specific examples of United Republic operating in this line:
–United Republic staffers confronting a Media Research Center staffer over their donors being connected to ALEC while refusing to tell MRC who funds United Republic;
–United Republic again going out of their way to post on Twitter that they were posting their donors, and then not doing so, furthering this ridiculous self-inflicted wound concept;
–United Republic’s co-founder/CEO Josh Silver failing to disclose meetings pre-United Republic (but presumably similar in concept) and currently, while possibly meeting with the Democracy Alliance.

so again, yeah, a lot of this is undoubtedly partisan politics between the groups in question, but unfortunately for at least me, it’s also yet another reason why people don’t believe in all these politics.

O'Malley versus Gingrich: THE CONFLICT CONTINUES
O’Malley watches Gingrich intently, knowing that at any moment, the former Speaker might try to eat him

O’Malley talks 2012 presidential race, gets advice for 2016

okay, this one will do (although i must apologize for linking to the Baltimore Sun, in that it has one of those annoying halfway pay-wall things going on these days). let’s just fire it up:

“For close observers of MD Gov. Martin O’Malley, the most interesting part of his 17 minute segment this morning on Meet the Press came at the end. Host David Gregory revealed there was “a reason” that he asked both O’Malley and Newt Gingrich, a failed presidential candidate, to be guests on the show.”

let’s be clear: the REAL reason is that Newt Gingrich has devolved into this ugly political whore. he’s willing to spar with O’Malley because whether or not he can best O’Malley in any kind of televised debate –and personally, i think his debate prowess is overrated on the grounds that his major success seemed to be attacking the moderators, which gets an audience response, but is not REALLY debate skill– he gets attention either way. he CRAVES attention. also, a serious Republican political figure with any hope of a future in a Romney administration or the post-election Republican mass of sadness would not be caught on television serving as a punching bag for a Democrat golden boy right now.

there’s other things too. put a pin in that for right now, we may come back to them.

“Given the “buzz” that O’Malley has his eye on the White House, what advice, Gregory asked, could Gingrich provide Maryland’s governor about running for president in 2016?”

the buzz? i suppose if by “buzz” you mean “the fact that the Democrats have been prepping him for national elections for YEARS now.”

“Gingrich had a snappy reply: “Raise a lot of money.” The former House Speaker has $4.8 million in debt from his campaign, according to the Washington Post. Gingrich also said to expect “two or three years on the road” for a serious presidential run. “This has been a brutal, tough process,” Gingrich said. “If you are not tough enough to get to the presidency, you are not tough enough to be president.””

several points:

01. note that Gingrich does not comment on the facts that he’s left his campaign with that massive amount of debt; that large portions of it were racked up well after there was any point in him continuing to campaign; that it’s likely to be unpaid for years to come; and that it might –and i say might because i don’t know– include the debt from when that he sold his own campaign mailing lists. so it’s not JUST about raising a lot of money, you see.

02. this whole “two or three years on the road” thing is a big part of the problem. we should NOT be spending two or three years running for fucking President. look, if the election is in 2016, and you spend three years running for it, then you’re basically kicking off your campaign RIGHT after the previous election, which means that even if it’s just you pressing the flesh and getting the word out and the actual President ignores you to run the country for some time, i’m STILL going to have to hear about it, and that’s what i truly mind the most. all this running for President should be done the year of the election. period.

also, it’s funny that Gingrich, a man who did not take the time to build lasting post-Speaker connections with Republicans across America the way someone like Nixon after the loss to JFK did, would seem to give this “spend years on it” advice considering how half-assed his OWN supposedly serious run was. but maybe Gingrich just loves contradiction?

03. it’s obvious that someone not tough enough to get the nomination and win the election isn’t tough enough to be President, Newt, because we JUST acknowledged with that build-up that said someone was not tough enough to get the nomination, let alone win the election. i know you think that’s a cute soundbite, but it just sounds lame and redundant to me.

“When the camera turned to O’Malley, the governor demurred. “I haven’t even thought that far.” O’Malley, who is also chair of the Democratic Governors Association, said he’s “focused” on his current national role. “Doing everything in my power to elect Democratic governors.” Since taking on the top post at the DGA at the end of 2010, O’Malley has become increasingly engaged in national politics. He’s crisscrossed the country speaking at state-level Democratic party events (next weekend includes stops in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine) and he’s become a regular guest on cable and Sunday political talk shows.”

LIES LIES LIES. look, i actually DO believe that right now his primary goal is the whole Democratic governors thing… in as much as this is his political stepping stone toward the presidency. it’s that whole “building support in the party” thing that Gingrich seems to have forgotten about. however, i definitely subscribe to a Wire-based view of O’Malley in which he’s only focused on attaining and serving in his current role as long as it takes him to realize he COULD aspire to a higher one. in fairness, the incredibly entrenched Democrat machine in Maryland has ensured nothing has happened that would dissuade him from this view.

“As during other national TV appearances, O’Malley was meticulously prepared. He showed a firm grasp of Mitt Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts — but also had a handle on the lines of attack Gingrich had used against Romney. Gregory asked if Obama will come across as “anti-business” by attacking Romney’s time at the helm of Bain Capital, a private equity firm. “No, I don’t believe that,” O’Malley said. “I agree with Speaker Gingrich.” O’Malley reminded viewers that Romney had initially taken credit for creating “hundreds of thousands of jobs” while at Bain. “A claim that he eventually backed off of under the Speaker’s questioning,” O’Malley said.”

back to that pin. see, Gingrich, the OTHER reason is that you appearing on Meet The Press in this manner allows O’Malley to attack Romney on behalf of Obama (earning O’Malley points and helping Obama dodge the mud-slinging that drags down favorable ratings) AND rehash the attacks Gingrich made on Romney. well-played, O’Malley, well-played. i don’t think Gingrich even realizes any of this.

see, Gingrich is still in the throes of sadness over his ego being denied, so he’s not fully aware that it’s obvious to everyone that a) he doesn’t really like Romney, as he’ll always be someone who denied Gingrich what was “rightfully his”; b) he doesn’t really care if his attacks drag Romney down because he’s mainly focused on after an election where Romney loses to Obama so that Gingrich can strut around telling everyone how they should have listened to him. however, it DOES remind me of how disappointed i am in politics.

…given that i still have a little rage left, i think i’ll continue this next time. until then, picturing me burning with my unending rage.

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