How can we lose to these idiots?
After the Michigan Republican Party was busted earlier this month for using “super secret spy glasses” to surreptitiously videotape Democratic candidates, the story has gotten legs. Yesterday, Steve Benen at The Maddow Blog posted additional exclusive video taken from the memory card found at a Democratic event at a union hall after Republican operatives lost it. The video shows John Howting, a James O’Keefe wannabe, in training sessions with young Republican staffers who are sent to Democratic Party events to do the Republican Party’s dirty work for them:
Howting has a history of this sort of illicit crap. From a 2012 New York Times piece about Howting’s fake effort to form a union in his nonexistent “environmental company in New Jersey”:
[Howting] had a few questions about how to organize a union.
He wanted to know how to get higher wages.
And, oh yes, he had another question: If he formed a union, could his fellow workers join with the employer to shake down politicians for more money? […]
Mr. Howting, in fact, is a young conservative in a hurry. He matriculated at Miami University of Ohio, where he led the deeply conservative Intercollegiate Studies Institute and invited James O’Keefe, the grandmaster of conservative undercover dirty tricks, to speak on campus. Mr. Howting was accused by fellow students of once slathering tanning oil on his face and trying to pass as a Latino liberal activist on campus.
While he was in college, a conservative radio show named him a top young conservative of the week.
For this scam, Mr. Howting apparently took his middle name, Melvin, as his alias. He constructed a fake Facebook page, where he declared his love for Franklin D. Roosevelt, President Obama and Chris Matthews, not to mention the rapper Kanye West. His site for the New Jersey environmental company boasted of a vice president who had attended Earlham College and a chief executive who had graduated from West Point with “highest distinction.”
A check with Earlham and West Point found no record of either man.
Last night Rachel Maddow herself covered the story on The Rachel Maddow Show:
The fact that the Michigan Republican Party has created an entire program to spy on Democrats has people referring to the tactics as “Nixonian”. It’s shameful and, more comically, ineffective. To date, they haven’t hit even the tiniest amount of pay dirt. Turns out that Democrats are pretty straightforward with their messages and there haven’t been any gaffes for the GOP to exploit.
More importantly, it shows how utterly inept these kids are at their job. They film their own faces and seem to spend an extraordinary amount of time filming themselves using the restroom (ewww.) As a friend of mine put it on Facebook, “the best part for me was that they don’t even know who Debbie Dingell is. That’s pretty amateur.”
Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson released this jab at the inept Republican effort:
Rick Snyder and the Republicans may think they are 007 with all the spy gadgets. But when you embarrass yourself with blown secrets and your dirty trickster’s previous antics attracted national attention, you’re more Maxwell Smart than James Bond.
It’s clear that Republican Gov. Snyder is getting desperate,” continued Johnson. “Snyder’s record of cutting our kids’ schools and raising taxes on seniors and families is catching up to him.
If you are a Republican, you have to be asking yourself why your party spends so much time trying to take away people’s ability to vote and trying to dig up dirt on Democrats. Wassa matter, Republicans? Can’t win on the issues?
I suppose we ALL know the answer to THAT question.
[Facepalm CC image credit: Alex Proimos | Flickr]