Carol Platt Liebau: A Dirty, Rotten "Schume"

Friday, September 23, 2005

A Dirty, Rotten "Schume"

As noted here yesterday, two staffers from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee -- led by the preening Senator Charles Schumer -- have either resigned or been fired.

Today, this editorial about the matter ran in The Washington Post. Despite the Post's charitable characterization of the staffers as "a pair of twentysomething operatives," at least one of them is former research director of David Brock's outfit Media Matters and a veteran of the John Edwards campaign -- and was the Research Director of the DSCC.

If I were one of the staffers at issue, I'd be getting a little nervous. As someone who has done opposition research myself (on Harriett Woods in 1986 and on Dianne Feinstein in 2000), whenever one reads a story like this, the first thought is, "There but for the grace of God . . ."

But one's second thought is What were they thinking?! Every opposition researcher knows (or should know) that doing anything even remotely illegal is not only wrong, it's stupid. Even setting aside morals and principles (always a bad decision in politics), the fact is that wrongdoing not only damages one's own good name, it also hurts the candidate and the cause that's supposed to be the point of the whole exercise.

If any good is to come of this, perhaps it will remind other young people just starting out in politics that their parents were right -- it never pays to engage in wrongdoing, and people who want you to do so aren't really your friends. It's hard not to feel some sympathy for two young women whose reputations have now been sullied -- perhaps as a result of nothing more than immaturity and bad choices.

In any campaign or organization, the tone for whether "anything goes" is set at the top. I was fortunate -- it was clear to everyone on both campaigns for whom I did opposition research (that would be for Kit Bond and Tom Campbell) that "dirty tricks" would not be tolerated (and, indeed, Senator Bond later fired an aide immediately after discovering some appalling activity on the aide's part).

At the DSCC, Chuck Schumer was "the top." Who knows whether he encouraged an "anything goes" atmosphere? But one thing is clear: When this wrongdoing came to his attention back in July, it was hidden, not disclosed. Tells you a lot, doesn't it?


Blogger cookie jill said...

Carol -

If you want to see an "anything" goes atmosphere, you only have to look at this administration.

I don't think that Republicans don't have any morals, but I would like at least one to stand up and say that the greed and corruption in this administration should just stop and BE PUNISHED instead of rewarded.

Just one person to stand up and notice and call out that BushCo has no clothes.

Just one person to stand up and say NO to DeLay...say NO to Pombo...say NO to Abramoff...say NO to Rove...say NO to Brown (who is still on the Government dole, by the way.) say NO to Halliburton...say NO to Cheney.

Just one person to say "thou shalt not lie"....well, we know one person who said that but no one seems to be listening to his teachings anymore.

12:30 PM  
Blogger cookie jill said...

you might want to have a word with these folks, too...

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.

12:56 PM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

cookie jill, You just don't understand. It's OK I You're A Republican, IOKIYAR. I'm sure Carol agrees.

9:27 PM  

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