Tag Archives: political consultants

Consultants Who Think They Are Kingmakers

Boyd Marcus (the Karl Rove lookalike on the right) when he still consorted with Republicans.
Boyd Marcus (the Karl Rove lookalike on the right) when he still consorted with Republicans.

Boyd Marcus (the Karl Rove lookalike on the right) when he still consorted with Republicans.

A Virginia consultant no voter ever heard of endorses a candidate for governor nobody really likes and somehow it’s on the front page of the Washington Post’s Metro section. It reminds me of what Democrats formerly called the ‘Shrum Primary.’  That was the jockeying Democrat presidential candidates went through to try and persuade Bob Shrum to join their campaign as lead media consultant and strategist.

It wasn’t quite like a barefoot Emperor Henry IV standing in the snow begging the forgiveness of Pope Gregory VII, but it was close. The Shrum spectacle went on for a number of presidential elections until someone noticed (keep in mind Democrats are often blind to the obvious) that Shrum candidates were never called Mr. President after the election.

There is a larger question regarding both of these instances — who cares and how large does your ego have to be to think someone does?

This week’s ‘newsmaker’ is Boyd Marcus, described by the Posties as “a veteran Republican political consultant.” Marcus is famous as the architect of George Allen’s U.S. Senate victory over incumbent senator Tim Kaine last November. At a time when madcap TEA Party candidates were discussing women’s private parts or God’s plan for rape, ‘mainstream’ George Allen was cruising to victory.

Wait, my mistake. That’s what Marcus assured us was going to happen after ‘electable’ Allen (he can raise money, you know) got the nomination. So when November came around, Marcus and the rest of the Allen brain trust were perched inside the Mitt Romney Momentum Express bus waiting for the acceleration to kick in. They are still waiting.

It’s completely in character for Marcus to move from Republican Allen’s rerun Senate candidacy to a revenge endorsement of Democrat Terry McAuliffe in this year’s Virginia governor’s race. Marcus, who formerly only worked in Republican campaigns, says he is proud to endorse McAuliffe because Terry is the only candidate for governor willing to cut him a check.

Whoops, another mistake on my part.

For public consumption Marcus said, “I was looking at the candidates, and I saw Terry McAuliffe as the guy who will work with everybody to get things done.” Then McAuliffe wrote him the check. And what a deal! If only endorsements for the Democrat money–man were all a simple financial transaction! McAuliffe wouldn’t have to waste time shaking hands and pretending to be interested in what some Virginia hillbilly thinks about the deficit.

The McAuliffe campaign also issued its own bizarre Marcus quote, “I’ve never before supported any Democrat, but this election Terry is the clear choice for mainstream conservatives.” Translation: McAuliffe is the clear choice for self–involved turncoats whose support is for sale.

The real reason Marcus decided to monetize his political sympathies was his candidate for governor in Virginia — Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling — dropped out of the race when Ken Cuccinelli supporters in the Republican Party changed the nomination format from a primary to a convention. This completely upset the Bolling applecart consultants and all.

In spite of the fact Bolling had been light governor for eight years he and Marcus somehow overlooked the importance of building an organization during his two terms. No real connection with the grassroots means no delegates at the convention. So TEA Party fave Cuccinelli walked away with the nomination.

That meant Marcus lacked a meal ticket this fall. Cuccinelli certainly wasn’t going to hire him and there were no wealthy Virginia RINOs running for other statewide offices available to aid his cash flow.

An operative with even a shred of integrity would simply sit this one out. What one doesn’t do is what Marcus did — sign on with a candidate that is the antithesis of everything for which the Virginia, and for that matter national, Republican Party stands. This is what the average American hates about politics: The mercenaries and their candidates who ‘grow’ in office and have infinitely malleable principles.

How many pro–life bills does Marcus think uber–Democrat McAuliffe is going to sign? How many taxes will McAuliffe be willing to cut? How much government intrusion into the free market is McAuliffe going to prevent? And how often will McAuliffe oppose public employee union attempts to put one over on the taxpayer? Will McAuliffe fight Obamacare and the Medicaid expansion? Will McAuliffe be a voice against pressure from the left to legalize illegals?

In a nutshell, none, none, none, never, no and no. The things McAuliffe will get “done” involve abortion, alternate lifestyles, amnesty and helping Hillary gear up for 2016.

The vast majority of Virginia Republicans really believe in the party’s platform. They don’t change their positions like Marcus changes his socks. Marcus’ politics of petulance is one of the many problems with GOP ‘leadership’ today.

I know a little about changing political parties. Up until about 2000 I was a Democrat, but as I experienced more of reality and the Democrat party decided to embrace unreality, we drifted apart. I made the change official in the 2002 election and I stopped working for Democrat candidates and limited myself to Republicans.

Switch–hitting in baseball is fine (and leftists would have you believe it makes for an exciting marriage) but in politics it only indicates opportunism and a lack of core beliefs.

It will say a great deal about Marcus if he tries to work for Republicans in the future. And it will say even more about any Republican who hires him. Conservatives beware.

The Media Beats a Dead Macaca

Macaca, the Republican gift that keeps on giving. (Washington Post)

Macaca, the Republican gift that keeps on giving. (Washington Post)

Former Virginia GOP Senator George Allen has always been more politician than movement conservative. Allen throws us the occasional social issue vote — he opposes abortions, except in the politically expedient case of rape and incest, and he’s on record as supporting gravity and man/woman marriage — but George is also a big spender and crony capitalist, which come to think of it, is also politically expedient.

But after watching his performance in the Fairfax County Chamber’s Senate Candidate debate with former Governor Tim Kaine, one starts to wonder if he’s much of a politician.

In 1994 Republicans took the House after Hillarycare collapsed. In 2010 Republicans took the House in response to Obamacare. A majority of the public still opposes Obamacare and wants to see it repealed. Discussion of and opposition to Obamacare should be a given for any conservative Senate candidate.

Yet during the debate Allen uses the leaden euphemism “healthcare tax bill” instead of the more obvious Obamacare.

This is a mistake on two levels. “Healthcare tax bill” is a term that only saw light after Chief Justice John Roberts applied for asylum at the White House and ruled Obamacare constitutional. To understand the term a listener must be reminded of the decision — something conservatives want to forget — and then connect it with Obamacare.

So it’s a descriptor that’s once removed from the topic at hand. Secondly this bloodless term has none of the baggage and negative connotations that Obamacare has acquired. So why use it at all unless your goal is to discourage your own vote?

Does some consultant think that using Obamacare will alienate independents? Good grief, even Obama embraces Obamacare as a label. And is that also why Allen talks about reforming the “healthcare tax bill” rather than repealing it?

Even in Minnesota — a state that sent Al Franken to the Senate! — a majority of likely voters want Obamacare repealed. In 2010 Virginia voters didn’t defeat Democrat incumbent Congressmen Glenn Nye, Rick Boucher and Tom Perriello because they wanted to send Obamacare to rehab.

Voters want it sent to Restland.

Consultant–pecked candidates pledging to tinker around the edges of Obamacare are everything that’s wrong with conservative politics today. It sucks the enthusiasm out of your own base in a futile effort to seem less threatening to people who won’t vote for you anyway.

However, I know this discussion is inside political baseball. Readers are really asking: What about Macaca? The term Allen used to describe a Democrat tracker during the Senate re–election campaign he lost over six years ago.

It just so happens 34 minutes and 31 seconds into the debate Macaca reared its ugly head (on second thought this particular topic might not be the best candidate for personification, so let’s just say the question appeared).

Holy smoke! What’s the statute of limitations on stupidity? George Allen is a serial apologizer for his Macaca comment. Allen personally endowed the Macaca Studies chair at the University of Virgina. He journeyed overseas and built a school in Macaca’s village. The entire Allen family sends him a non–denominational “Season’s Greetings” card every winter solstice.

What more does the media want?

Why does the MSM have a memory like an elephant for Republican mistakes, but when a Democrat sounds like a jackass interest dies in a month? In mid–August Vice Buffoon Joe Biden tells a campaign audience full of blacks that Republican policies are designed “to put y’all back in chains.” By mid–September the controversy is gone.

By comparison, what would the MSM would do if Paul Ryan told an audience of Jews that Democrat policies on Iran are designed to “put y’all back in the ovens?” Let me save you the trouble. For the next decade demonstrators dressed as kitchen appliances would appear outside Ryan events as the media jostled each other for the chance to interview the burner with a brain.

And should Ryan participate in a debate, he would be peppered with penetrating questions from Anderson Cooper, just as soon as Andy was able to remove his Jenn–Air costume.

If George is paying attention, there’s actually a lesson in semantics buried here among the bias. The debate questioner didn’t ask George about “an unfortunate slip of the tongue” during a campaign rally. She asked about Macaca because she knew the word had impact, would put Allen on the spot and would reaffirm her caring credentials among peers and watching Democrats. (Save your email. I know this is redundant.)

Obamacare does the same thing for public policy. The word is motivational. It shows conservatives that Allen is on their side and the unpopularity of the issue puts Kaine on the spot.

Allen’s consultants appear to be telling him otherwise, but I suggest if he has any doubts, George should call former Congressmen Boucher, Nye or Perriello and ask whoever answers the phone if Obamacare is a good word for Republicans and a bad one for Democrats.