NRSC Disses Dick Wadhams

Politico.com is circulating excerpts it obtained from the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s Internet Campaign Guide. Much of the advice in this document is quite good, outlining an effective strategy of reaching out to conservative bloggers early, providing them with scoops for the mainstream media to riff off of–message amplification that they concede the Democrats executed brilliantly in 2006.

The report becomes doubly interesting to Colorado observers when it gets to the section “Blogging Community Outreach: Rapid Response to Attacks.”

If candidates are more or less continuously monitored via blog search engines, with the use of websites such as Technorati.com, blogs can often be used as an “early-warning system” to help discern if an opponent’s attacks are gaining traction. Rapid response and explanation of a position or vote to friendly blogs can ensure center-right solidarity behind your defense. The paradigmatic example of the failure to do so is the “macaca” moment. Conservative blogs, who had long been lauding Senator George Allen, were annoyed by shifting justifications and turned on Allen with a vengeance. Senator Allen was never fully able to regain his status with bloggers, many of whom, at the time, were still touting Allen for President. [Pols emphasis]

As our readers of course know, Colorado GOP chairman Dick Wadhams was Allen’s campaign manager, as well as a major proponent of the kind of blogging engagement strategy the NRSC is telling all of its candidates to adopt. Wadhams helped pioneer the blog/media methodology in South Dakota managing a successful campaign to bring down Sen. Tom Daschle, and it’s prominently adorned his resume ever since.

It’s pretty tough to read this internal NRSC document and not conclude, however, that he’s lost his standing with national Republican leaders. After all, Wadhams is the one quoted by the Washington Post as dismissing the “Macaca” incident with a “barnyard epithet,” exactly the disastrous response the NRSC is urging candidates to avoid in this memo:

TWELVE DAYS after his now-notorious “macaca” comment, Sen. George F. Allen (R-Va.) succumbed to the political equivalent of begging for mercy: He apologized to his victim. Yesterday he telephoned S.R. Sidarth, a student at the University of Virginia who is of Indian ancestry, and said he was sorry for holding him up to public ridicule at a rally held in a 99 percent white county in southwest Virginia on Aug. 11. Mr. Sidarth, who is from Fairfax County, was videotaping the rally on behalf of Mr. Allen’s Democratic opponent, James Webb.

The senator’s gesture was apt, but it hardly seemed sincere. Even as he apologized, his campaign continued its two-faced strategy of simultaneously scoffing at the entire incident as what Dick Wadhams, Mr. Allen’s campaign manager, has said is a contrivance. To Mr. Wadhams, politics means never having to say you’re sorry.

Mr. Wadhams, an itinerant political hit man known for his nasty attacks on opponents, told Republican leaders in a memo sent over the weekend that the Webb campaign and the media had ganged up “to create national news over something that did not warrant coverage in the first place.”

He continued: “Never in modern times has a statewide office holder and candidate been so vilified.” In other words, Mr. Allen is the victim — not the 20-year-old student whom he mocked with an insulting, possibly racist slur in front of scores of chortling supporters…

“Never having to say you’re sorry”–except to candidates whose defeat you preside over. Apparently, the NRSC got the message.

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    • Emma Anne says:

      If you *are* going to apologize, don’t undercut it by scoffing  about the whole matter at the same time.  That way you look weak *and* mean – and inconsistent as well.

  1. mountain man says:

    Its good to see what goes around comes around.

  2. Jack Shaftoe says:

    “It’s pretty tough to read this internal NRSC document and not conclude, however, that he’s lost his standing with national Republican leaders.”

    Because they’re using his mistake in 2006 as an object lesson in pitfalls to avoid?  Are you kidding me?  That’s pretty weak stuff and quite a leap of faith. 

    So let me get this straight.  DW screws up (they don’t mention him by name) in Virginia last year, the NRSC takes that screwup and uses it as an example of a screwup to avoid, and that means that “he’s lost his standing with national Republican leaders.”

    Right, Pols.  You’re kind of betraying your lack of contacts within the national GOP establishment with this type of post. 

    • JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

      That’s how Wadhams went from getting ready to run a presidential campaign to chairing the state party of a flyover state? You don’t think that’s a bit of a demotion?

      I don’t need “contacts within the national GOP establishment” to see that for what it is–Wadhams out to pasture, smarter guys working for the presidential candidates…

      • A little more to the left.... says:

        Dick Wad is lucky to have a job after that humilitating defeat. I would loove to know how much the CO Rep Party is paying him. Whatever it is – he should be thankful for it – even if it was a paycut. Everyone oohs and ahhs over his “work” and supposed reputation but you’re only as good your last race in this biz. And right now Wad has loser written all over him. I look forward to next year when CO continues its Blue trend and Wad is relegated to obscurity. I mean, sure Pat Waak may be a flake and marginally ineffective but the Democratic Party is more than just Pat Waak in this state. And right now, it seems that there’s no room for R’s who dissent from Wad’s playbook. This intolerance is turning many moderate R’s off and next year the voters will be turned off as well by the right-wing my-way-or-the-highway approach Wad is taking. It’s the kind of approach that Rove and Bush have used in DC and look at how they’re falling apart.

         

    • bobster1 says:

      without him, Karl Rove wouldn’t be facing a subpoena over the US attorney scandal. So yes, I think the national Rs are pissed.

  3. Zappatero says:

    The NRSC may want to preempt any more “wadhams” in their campaigns, but we’ll never let him forget that one.

  4. GOPpundit says:

    Wow… this qualifies as the most ridiculous item of the day. Wadhams is still a national darling. Sorry Dems…  !!

    • Middle of the Road says:

      In reality, he’s largely the reason Virginia has a Democratic Senator.

      Thanks Dick! You’re the best! You’re awesome! You’re a national darling, baby and don’t you ever let anyone tell you otherwise!

      • bobster1 says:

        it’s the reason Senate Dems now hold the majority, period.  Webb was the last race to be declared.

        So yes, I suspect the NRSC is more that a little peeved at Dickwad for throwing them into minority status, so now they’re throwing him under the bus like a ketchup packet.

    • Danny the Red (hair)Danny the Red (hair) says:

      because if Darling Wadhams is the best they got, this is going to be easy.

      Unfortunately, I think you’re wrong.  I think it will be difficult.

  5. parsingreality says:

    More sturm und drang – did I say that right? – than an election god, if you look at the big picture.  While I don’t think Dick can do very effective ghost campaign running, I’m sure his input will be sought.  But I’d wager that his glory days are behind him.

  6. BS detector says:

    where can we find the report on the website?

  7. Old Rep says:

    Funny part is that Jim Webb was a republican until the republican party abandoned him and many others with its  political nonsense strategy.  It is a shame that professional strategists are taking the place of good solid prospective politicians in elections.

  8. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    Good looking too. The Republicans are so very lucky to have him and she follow every directive of his exactly. That way leads to total control of the state.

    Dick, you have 100% support from me for leading the Republican party here. Don’t listen to the naysayers here, they’re just jealous of your perfection.

  9. Lester Government says:

    Thoust doth demean too much.  You never miss an opportunity to take a swing at Wadhams the way Kay NuttyAsSquirrelShit never misses an opportunity to take a swing at her foes.  The main difference is that Kay needs a tinfoil hat and you guys really do have something to fear.  The tide is still against Republicans in 2008 but we’ll have to see what 2010 brings (it will be just after the second year of the Hillary administration) to know if he’s lost the magic.  Be afraid, be very afraid!

    • Haners says:

      Of another President Clinton….  ::shudder::

      • parsingreality says:

        Lots of peace and prosperity, passed NAFTA – which the R’s have long wanted, ditto on welfare reform. Paid off a lot of the federal debt with a modest tax hike on the rich, cost of borrowing plummeted and the economy took off.  Bond holders saved billions in rewriting them at lower interest rates. 

        Lots of optimism, just like under RR. But RR spent us into the ground, Bill did the opposite.

        I guess some R’s would hate the family leave act. 

        I think R’s hate Clinton because they hate Clinton.  Just like Paris is a celebrity because she is a celebrity.  And that he was so good for America and the average American. Sour grapes. 

        Clinton had his flaws – see NAFTA, etc. – but man, what I would do to see him in the presidency again.  And no, Hillary is not the same.  Bill has incredible charisma, she does not.

        • Lester Government says:

          elected him; we also got Newt.  Hillary without a Republican congress will be a disaster.

          • A little more to the left.... says:

            from my freshman year Logics class. When you’re losing a debate….change the target. In this case, it’s now Hillary and 2010 we’re talking about. So does that mean you’re tired of trying to defend Wad?

            • Lester Government says:

              what are we debating?  I believe it was the effectiveness of D.W.  My point is that the tide is against Republicans again in 2008 and we’ll have to wait until 2010 to see if he still has the magic.  Sorry that I’m not part of the liberal choir that so enjoys it’s own voice.

          • parsingreality says:

            And despite the fact that not one Republican voted for his budget bill in 1993, we went ahead and had eight years of increasing abundance and low unemployment.

            • Lester Government says:

              So how is the 1993 budget relevant?  Newt passed legislation the required Congress to live under the same labor laws that they passed for the rest of us.  He forced Clinton to sign welfare reform the he’d vetoed twice before.  The balanced budget was a bipartisan effort the ushered in the abundance and low unemployment that you cite.  I guess we agree after all.

              • parsingreality says:

                In August of 1993, Clinton signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, which passed Congress without a single Republican vote. It raised taxes on the wealthiest 1.2% of taxpayers,[33] while cutting taxes on 15 million low-income families and making tax cuts available to 90 percent of small businesses.[34] Additionally, it mandated that the budget be balanced over a number of years, through the implementation of spending restraints. This laid the groundwork for the longest peace-time economic expansion in U.S. history.[4]

                Damn, what a great Republican!  Balanced budget, spending restraints.

                • Lester Government says:

                  for the longest peace-time economic expansion in U.S. history.[4]”  This is nothing more than someone’s opinion.  I could make the same case by citing Ronald Reagan’s reigning in of the federal budget during his administration. As a matter of fact, Bill Clinton benefited more than anyone else from the heavy lifting that Reagan did.

                  • parsingreality says:

                    “Reined in the budget?” Come on, Les, I know you aren’t dumb. Reagan put us into debt like no other presidetn – until his Republican successors. 

                    • AristotleAristotle says:

                      For all his stumping for a balanced budget amendment (why don’t the ‘pubs talk about that anymore) I can’t think of a single one that his administration submitted.

                  • Danny the Red (hair)Danny the Red (hair) says:

                    Sorry my BS (not bob shaffer) detector just went off.  Reagan expanded the government, and ran up gigantic deficits, which didn’t start to slow down until after Clinton was elected.

                    We could debate Reagan’s deregulation/Anti-labor policies (actually I could debate myself–I have a bit of a mixed mind about it), but I will conceed that some positives came out of it.

                    Reagan was the beneficiary of an agressive anti inflation campaign by Paul Volker that broke the back of inflation.  Volker was appointed by….Jimmy Carter.  He was latter reappointed by Reagan.

                    Of course breaking the back of inflation, broke the back of the family farmer (remember the tractor protests), and caused the worst recession since the great depression. 

                    Probably had to be done to break the back of inflation, but when combined with the aformentione deregulation/anti-labor policies, the disruption of the social contract was the greatest since the depression.  Reagan was all smiles, but he ‘let us eat cheese’ to paraphrase Marie Antoinette.

                    Though a new social contract was probably needed to meet the new millenium (Thomas Jefferson thought once a generation was good), what did we get?

                    I like to keep these short so I won’t go into the democratic argument for economic equity.

                    Just meant to correct some mistaken notions of reagans legacy.

                  • One Queer Dude says:

                    then Clinton closed the deal w/ the ’93 budget bill, which did indeed pass without one single Republican member of congress voting for it (not even a RINO!).

                    • parsingreality says:

                      As posted earlier, no president is an island.  He inherits what his predecessors have done, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.

                      Then there’s Dubya, handed a blueprint for a long term great economy…..

                    • Lauren Bacall says:

                      Neither Clinton nor Bush caused the recession, which was predicted by economists for many years previous.

                    • parsingreality says:

                      Although I didn’t say it, I was thinking that having the rich pay a bit more in taxes solved a whole lot of problems.  So, Bush cut taxes on the rich and we’ve been bumbling along ever since. 

                      His average job growth per month is STILL below replacement rates, and the much vaunted DJ is STILL below when he inherited it, inflation adjusted.

                      What good economic news there has been overlooks two key facts:  1. The consumer economy has been fueled by homeowners tapping their equity, and 2. Many have just given up looking for a decent job, so they are off the radar of unemployment reports.

                      Here’s a sobering thought: The number of jobs being created is roughly that of illegal immigration!  I won’t get into the numbers unless someone wants to.

              • One Queer Dude says:

                That was one part of the infamous contract which I was a big fan of…….

    • parsingreality says:

      And every indication is that Hillary has the same K-Street, DLC, corporate power base. 

      • Haners says:

        I hate it when I forget that I posted somewhere….

        The things I didn’t like about Clinton mostly had to do with the tax hikes, the push for universal health care, and then of course, the whole lack of real personal character.  I’m not saying that someone has to be perfect, I mean the founding fathers weren’t.  One of them had an illecit sexual scandal, but came clean.  Clinton tried to cover it up.

        Now, I bring that up for a reason other than the typical “trash Clinton” rant.  My point is, that I remember what felt like a constant stream of scandals from the Clinton administration, and I don’t know that I’m ready for that again.  That’s not to say automatically that Clinton squared is going to have a lot of scandals…but both sides have perfected the art of at least making the appearance of scandal.  Republicans perfected it on Clinton, and Democrats have perfected it on Bush.

        To go from Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton for the last what….20 years it would be if Hillary wins at least one term, and have the same crap being flung for the whole time….it certainly doesn’t excite me.  At least with someone in the white house with a last name other than “Bush” or “Clinton” could give everybody a chance to settle down, and get over the same old stereotypes that each carries.

        So yeah, as a Republican, the prospect of a Democrat president is unappealing.  The thought of another Clinton in the white house makes me shudder

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