Boy, the Democrats are scared that they’re going to lose power. We’ve been monitoring their progress toward insanity for some time — the Koch Brothers obsession, the hysterics over Supreme Court decisions, the attempts to portray even the most moderate Republicans as crazed maniacs.
Well, we’re now into the personal attacks. You may remember about a year ago, Mother Jones — now the unofficial muckraker of the Democratic Party — ran a bizarre piece on Mitch McConnell. Progress Kentucky illegally recorded a conversation between McConnell and his staff discussing a potential campaign against Ashley Judd and MJ was shocked, shocked! that Judd’s mental health issues came up. I wrote about it here. (Strangely, or maybe not so strangely, no one has been prosecuted for the illegal recording).
Well now they are going after one of the GOP’s rising lights: Susana Martinez. Calling her the “next Sarah Palin”, they describe her as “petty, vindictive and weak on policy”. Their evidence for this? Some old recordings of private conversations and some e-mails. Seriously. And even those were frequently taken out of context
In the first conversation, a 29-second excerpt about education, Mother Jones reported that in a talk with staff, Martinez “implied teachers earned too much.” Mother Jones described the conversation this way:
In private, Martinez implied teachers earned too much: “During the campaign, we can’t say it, I guess, because it’s education, but … they already don’t work, you know, two and a half months out of the year.”
To its credit, Mother Jones included the actual 29 seconds of audio alongside the article. In that snippet, Martinez said just a bit more than was included in the article:
During the campaign, we can’t say it, I guess, because it’s education, but I really keep going back to that, you know, keeping the teachers from feeling the pain when they already don’t work, you know, two and a half months out of the year, three months out of the year, but earn salaries at the same rate as people who do work 12 months a year.
Looking at Martinez’s full statement — or at least the 29 seconds that were included on the Mother Jones website — it appears her point was not that teachers earned too much but that there was a fairness issue in not differentiating between teachers, who do not work all year, and other workers who do.
The rest of these searing revelations are equally mundane. Apparently, asking your staff questions about issues you are not familiar with means you don’t have a handle on the issues. Apparently, if your staff say something nasty in private e-mails about your political opponents, that says … something. Apparently, something like this exchange is unusual in politics:
Listening to recordings of Martinez talking with her aides is like watching an episode of HBO’s Veep, with over-the-top backroom banter full of pique, self-regard, and vindictiveness. As Martinez and her campaign staff rewatched a recent televised debate, Martinez referred to Denish, her opponent, as “that little bitch.” After Denish noted that the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce had given her an award, McCleskey snapped, “That’s why we’re not meeting with those fuckers.”
(Context warning: Martinez called Denish a “bitch” because she thought Denish was lying about her record, not because Martinez is “juvenile”.)
As Popehat noted last night:
If a rightwing site called Hillary "nasty, petty, juvenile, and vindictive," Mother Jones would trumpet War On Women! http://t.co/o4iFdzkoip
— Popehat (@Popehat) April 17, 2014
Bingo! Politics is a dirty business. It is intense, all-consuming and fought with bare fists. It often becomes personal. Should we be surprised that the occasional profanity is uttered? Are we going to pretend that Obama, both Clintons, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and every politician that ever lived doesn’t have these kind of conversations?
I recently watch “Mitt”, a documentary on Romney’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns. It’s a decent watch. I didn’t make much of it because I already saw Romney as a good and decent person. But while Mitt’s family doesn’t use any profanity, they show the same kind of frustration with the media, with their opponents and with politics itself. At one point, the Romneys were criticized for the “decadence” of installing an elevator in one of their homes. Romney’s son is furious because the press don’t mention the elevator was installed to help his mother, who has multiple sclerosis.
If the Romneys — a deeply religious and tight-knit family — can have politics get under their skin that much, you can just imagine what it does to anyone else? In fact, we don’t have to. There are enough reports of vindictive, petty, nasty behavior from our existing politicians to fill ten shelves of books.
This is a non-story. This is a complete nothing burger. It’s a desperate attempt to smear one of the most popular governors in America. If this the worst they can dig up on Susana Martinez, the Republican party should absolutely be grooming her for national office.