Remember the “political and media A-listers” of lobbyist self-promotion group No Labels?:
Republicans and ex-Clintonistas, spanning the political gamut from far-right to center-right! Hey, no point bothering with ‘unserious’, non-Right points of view, if your whole purpose is to encourage that all-American chimera known as “Centrism”. McKinnon & Mark Penn, together again — and if either one takes you by the hand, be sure to count your fingers afterwards…
Meredith Shiner at Yahoo News reports that McKinnon & Penn have just about given up on that figleaf of “bipartisanship”, to better tap the deep pockets of GOP diehards:
… Like many other outside political groups, No Labels spends a disproportionate part of its budget maintaining and promoting its own organization, trying to keep its profile high while ensuring a steady flow of fundraising dollars, whose donors they keep secret, in a cluttered non-profit environment. As part of its efforts to gain legitimacy and grow its membership No Labels has also occasionally waded into congressional contests that in ways that have raised suspicions among Democrats about the group’s own commitment to bipartisanship.
And though No Labels has positioned itself as a warrior against gridlock, an internal document obtained by Yahoo News suggests the group is banking on more political dysfunction in an attempt to find “opportunity” and relevance for itself.
The confidential document, distributed at No Labels’ May executive board meeting, outlines a “break through strategy” for the group, which despite raising millions and a buzzy-for-cable-news-talk launch, has struggled to find a foothold on the campaign trail or in the halls of Congress. The first point in that strategy is a “balance of power shift in the U.S. Senate,” an awkward position to outline, if not advocate, given No Labels’ aim of bipartisanship and that one of the group’s co-chairs, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, currently sits in the majority caucus.
“Should the balance of power in the U.S. Senate flip following the 2014 midterm elections and Republicans gain control, No Labels sees an opportunity to bridge the gap between Congress and the White House,” the document reads in its “Break Through Strategy” section. “With Republicans holding control of both chambers in Congress and a Democrat in the White House, the likelihood of gridlock will be higher than ever before.
“We have already begun back door conversations with Senate leaders to discuss this increasingly likely scenario,” the document continues.
This privately stated position exacerbates an already publicly spoiled relationship with Senate Democrats, who are still fuming from an April incident in which the group supported conservative Republican Cory Gardner in Colorado over Manchin’s colleague, incumbent Democrat Mark Udall. The endorsement, which No Labels later tried to clarify by saying that any candidate could be backed by the group if they just agreed to be a member, was touted by Gardner in press releases & caused the few Senate Democrats involved with the group to threaten to pull their membership, according to Democratic sources….
Much of the group’s expenses go toward sustaining or promoting itself. According to No Labels’ confidential document, the group employed 22 paid staffers and eight consultants as of May. Of its projected $4.5 million budget for 2014, only four percent — or $180,000 — of spending was slotted for “Congressional Relations.” By contrast, administrative and operational expenses got $1.035 million over the same time period. Another five percent was set for travel. A further 30 percent ($1.35 million) was earmarked for digital growth and press, and 14 percent for fundraising…
No Labels’ critics question the seriousness of a group that includes a number of Republicans whose conservative bent and heated rhetoric have more of an outsize influence on their party than does the liberal wing on the Democratic Party. The No Labels website talks about “unprecedented, even dangerous” tactics from the right in trying to defeat health care, but the group also includes some of the most outspoken members on this issue. Democratic critics ask what it says about the group that its so-called “Problem solvers” could vote to shut down the government or against raising the debt ceiling but maintain their “problem solver” status by attending No Labels meetings…
Back during the Reagan Administration, critic Calvin Trillin first suggested that members of Congress should be required — like NASCAR drivers — to wear uniforms prominently emblazoned with the logos of all their monetary supporters. It’s still a good idea, frankly. But in the case of serial offenders like McKinnon and his fellow grifters, I’d go a step further (for the historians!) and require lobbyists to get a logo tattoo for every supporter above a certain level. I’d even be willing to calibrate the size of the mandatory tattoo with the size of the donation — the bigger the “love gift”, the more extensive the flair.
(C’mon, you don’t think the Koch brothers wouldn’t be secretly delighted to see their Big Swinging Donations suitably publicized?)
(More history on Mark McKinnon from Mr. Pierce and BJ’s own Dennis Greenia, among others, here.)
Calvin Trillin is great!
He did write one all-too-sad-and-serious book.
I always felt “No Labels” was just a way of pretending not to be Republicans.
Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant)
Anybody who actually believed in this drek was either a sap, a sycophant, or in on the con. Their motives were clear from the start.
What do MBAs call hookers and blow, Alex?
It’s a command, rather than a description. They’re saying “Don’t label me!”, because it’s the only way they have a hope of not being seen as the bunch of relabeled Republicans they are.
@Baud: I had to wait all day to laugh that hard.
A piece of that grifters pork pie would be sweet paycheck heaven, if it wasn’t for Mark Penn leaving a trail of slime in the break room and everywhere else he slithers.
I actually regard this as a positive development. All of the money being sucked out of rich donors that goes to line the pockets of grifters like these is money which isn’t being spent on attack ads and the like. See also: Palin, Sarah.
Karen in GA
Were these the same as the Unity ’08 people? Every four years we get similar groups of Very Serious People with the same M.O.
I always figured the “no labels” people were attempting to peel off nominally democratic voters. I think that anyone that would fall for their schtick wasn’t going to vote for a mouth-breathing republican. Although I have been surprised on that score.
@efgoldman: I take it you’re not planning on subscribing to her new video feed thingy then?
Republicans have a brand problem. No Labels is an effort to get around public perception.
Wow. 180,000 dollars for “relations”. Grifters gonna grift, as I’m certain many others have pointed out.
Why aren’t people pointing and laughing at this crowd?
That’s the polite name for nepotism.
@efgoldman: And mid-70s. Ahem. “Don’t want sand kicked in your face? Order this program now!”
It should surprise no one to learn that No Labels is a 501(c)4 organization.
Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name)
@efgoldman: Medical expense – aversion therapy?
Charles Atlas FTW!!
I never knew the idea originated with Calvin Trillin, nor did I remember that it was first proposed that long ago. But it’s a natural conceit for political cartoonists — I haven’t bothered to dig, but I’m quite sure Mike Lukovich has had at least a few panels depicting Congress with an array of sponsor patches.
Vast methane plumes escaping from the seafloor” discovered in Siberian Arctic Sea
This is not good.
Since this is an open thread, I got my new bamboo sleep mask and the SleepShield screen protector for my iPad Mini in the mail today. If I notice a difference with the SleepShield, I’ll let everyone know.
I’d rather they work on making their label one that they don’t have to feel ashamed of.
Ted Cruz, Kirsten Gillibrand team up on Hamas
Gillibrand and Cruz criticize Hamas for using “innocent civilians as human shields.”
@Mnemosyne: So hope it helps!
I tried three different kinds of eye masks before I found those, which I love.
I’m pleased they are doing blue light blockers now… they didn’t have one for my iPod touch, but I invested in some amber tinted sun readers which let me read myself to sleep as usual.
The Pale Scot
Hey! that’s my idea!
But I was thinking more along the lines of horrible disfiguring branding and scars, something that, you know, makes a statement.
Oil lobbyist – permanent tar and feathers of sea birds
MIC lobbyist – random amputation and head injuries etc
Yikes, I’ll say it’s not good. More and more, I’m beginning to feel there are advantages to being old.
I wouldn’t piss on Mark Penn if his heart was on fire.
And McKinnon gives off such a clear sociopath vibe I can’t believe anyone is taken in by him.
@BGinCHI: I feel similarly about Ted Cruz, for instance.
I don’t understand how anyone is not instantly repelled by that face.
@The Pale Scot:
When I was a child, I was utterly fascinated by a National Geographic article, with many photos, of a tribe in … somewhere, can’t remember, might have been Africa, or South America, or Australia. Anyhow, their form of body art was to slice open the skin with shells or stones in various elaborate patterns, pack the incision with mud, and wait until the scar tissue grew over. So they ended up with these incredible, intricate, 3-D designs all over their arms and torsos and faces.
You should do that to the lobbyists. Except not as pretty.
@WereBear: Cruz reminds me of a man dressed up as an old woman in a comedy act about how senior citizens complain about everything.
Like a creepy and pathetic Flip Wilson.
Or maybe, better yet, like Madame from Waylon & Madame, but with no class.
The consensus was methane hydrates (or clathrates) were not expected to be a significant factor in GW in this century. It was expected (good paper, BTW):
The usual figure trotted out is methane has a 21 times greater contribution to global warming over 100 years than the equivalent amount of CO2. So finding arctic water methane plumes, they’ve already been found in the tundra, is a Big Deal.
The Pale Scot
@SiubhanDuinne: Exactly, long time ago when I was paying attention to the culture war Fundies vs reality, I had the thought that if you wanted to run your life according to a Bronze age book you should be excluded from medicine and electricity and be required to wear a grass skirt (vegan), a crucifix thru the nose and a big chrome plated hat with 1 foot crucifix on top.
Oh, and you’d have to always be carrying a banjo when you go out of the house. no exclusions, banjos spread the good news
You mean, like “X-Ray specs”, “ventriloquism whistles” and “whoopie cushions”??
Yep, that’s Our Sarah: nailed it!
His expression is always booth snooty and snotty.
Snootty, I guess.
And Sea Monkeys! Don’t forget the Sea Monkeys!
@lamh36: I like Gillibrand and consider her a worthy bearer of the egg-carrier presidential standard if HRC washes out. So I hate to see her joining forces with Cruz for any purpose other than stuffing him into a cannon to be shot into a toxic waste dump. WTF? I get the compulsory requirement to kiss Israel’s ass for political reasons. But co-signing Cruz? She is officially stricken from my Christmas card list.
@SiubhanDuinne: I always wanted sea monkeys. But then I got something better!
Village of Elves
@The Pale Scot:
Paging KarenInGA. KarenInGA, please pick up the nearest Pale Courtesy Phone.
Hahaha. I thought I had read all of your archives at some point or another, but I missed that one.
I’ve never told you about when we had ten cats, have I (nine of them the offspring, in litters of two, three, four, of one fetching female)?
(This was when I was a youngster and nobody much bothered — OBVS — with spaying and neutering.)
@WereBear: Reminds me of a favorite song.
require lobbyists to get a logo tattoo for every supporter above a certain level.
ob. book : In The Penal Colony by Franz Kafka
Villago Delenda Est
It is a sad testimony that these grifting parasites are taken seriously. But then again, those who take them seriously are, themselves, grifting parasites.
Wipe them out. All of them.
You’d need a microscope to know.
it’s ALWAYS projection with the Zionists. the only ones using human shields in that war is the Israel Occupation Forces. protecting and promoting the interests of the Israeli Occupation Forces, and the apartheid regime they serve, is the sole bipartisan project (almost) everyone in the US House and US Senate agree on.
Isn’t that how we wound up with rat feces in our sausage; and arsenic, lead, radium, and copper sulfate in makeup and medicines?
Villago Delenda Est
@efgoldman: My doctor once handed me a cartoon just prior to a prostate exam.
The cartoon shows a doctor talking to a male patient whose pants are around his ankles.
“This is going to feel like I’m sticking my finger up your ass”
Let’s just make sure the dirt you pack into the wounds has plenty of Clostridium perfringens spores.
I had to Google that, but I like what I found:
Well, maybe they can get that aloof Obama to invite some Republican Congressmen to the WH for cocktails.
Snarki, child of Loki
If GOP politicians get the logo tattoos that they have so diligently earned, then they’ll have to completely cover up in public.
AKA: Darth Vader costumes.
@lamh36: And there’s no proof of that claim from media outlets that aren’t about toeing the AIPAC line. Jesus, you’d think a US official would have enough stones to stand up for the truth even once. But no.
Maybe they don’t remember Joe McCarthy. Cause Teddie looks like his evil son.
You know, I almost get sick to my stomach every time I think about how the Republican “leadership” (scare quotes very intentional) has dissed President Obama’s invitations to state dinners, film screenings (Lincoln, for the gods’ sake, with Steven Spielberg in the room), and other events. The level of rudeness is just beyond my comprehension.
Anybody else whose repeated invitations got one “regret” after another would strike those names from their invitation list. But if Obama did that, I guaranfuckingtee he would be called out for throwing a party and not inviting the Speaker or whoever.
Very interesting article on James Brown and the Rolling Stones when they were performing together at the music concert in 1964. James Brown and his band brung it so hard, Mick Jagger and the Stones were like, “we don’t want to follow that”!
The Rock’s Backpages Flashback: The Legendary 1964 T.A.M.I. Show
@Villago Delenda Est: Very funny. Also, if a urologist ever says to you “Now, take a deep breath,” something really unusual will happen next.
I think uppity is the word they would use for the lack of invite. Or maybe, “Doesn’t know his place.”
I imagine “uppity” would be the kindest of their epithets.
Someone posted this on my FB page a week ago. It reminds me of that PSA for Fatherhood with the dad practicing the cheer with his daughter.
This dad did a whole choerographed routine. It’s too cute.
Watch: Daddy-daughter dance off goes viral
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@SiubhanDuinne: McConnell and Boehner refused Obama’s calls on election night, 2012. IIRC it was in that same year that Fournier, Woodward, Brokaw et all put their blessed puddin’ heads together and decided the cause of gridlock was Obama’s lack of back-slappery.
And Obama did host some actual White House cocktail parties early in the first term. Republicans whined because he actually watched the football game during a Superbowl Party.
KS in MA
You took the words right out of my mouth.
I meant the for public consumption sayings. They’ve mostly been very careful to not say everything when they are with outsiders or someone with a microphone.
OMG! So Sarah Palin announced her new “network” venture, but wait,totally forgot, Tina Fey’s portrayal of Sarah Palin on SNL included a skit on a “Sarah Palin Network”…lol!
Here’s the full video of Tina Fey starting the Sarah Palin Network in that hilarious @nbcsnl skit! http://yhoo.it/X7bB3g
@lamh36: I saw James Brown in a small venue in early 1965 (or maybe late 1964), and he was an amazing performer. That man worked so hard—-
I suppose it’s better than being called to a rally to see a candidate’s bus. But I’m not sure I’m ready for holographic candidate.
That said, I am intrigued by the possibility of holographic constituents. Maybe instead of debates, senate candidates would have to show their aptitude for constituent services by running through a gamut of simulated 3D voters.
But if you can’t see the candidate’s bus, how can you ever hope to be slapped under it?
James E. Powell
Open question in an open thread. Is this stuff going to end Michelle Nunn’s chances in Georgia?
@James E. Powell: Why? By stating the obvious? Jesus.
Villago Delenda Est
@Betty Cracker: She’s sucking up to the Israel forever, right or wrong even if they set up Vernichtungslagern for Palestinians vote.
Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name)
@ruemara: Exactly. To me, it seems like the strategy a Dem would have to follow to have a chance in GA.
Villago Delenda Est
@James E. Powell: I don’t see how, unless you’re some Villager dipshit trying to serve a nothingburger to other Villager dipshits. Like on the Gregory wankfest, for example.
James E. Powell
@Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):
I feel like people have gotten in trouble for stating the obvious before. What was it Obama said about guns?
It’s a strategy for Georgia, but it isn’t exactly Blue Dog strategy. I just wondered how it would play down there.
Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name)
@James E. Powell: But this isn’t a statement she made. This is a draft of an internal document.
@Villago Delenda Est: I could see voters being confused by a swot analysis, and there are plenty of people who hate reading about things politicians do to manipulate them (even though they are being manipulated constantly). That said, the most important groups for her are the Democratic Party core voters. And I don’t see much in there to piss them off. If the document says something like “take money from the black churches, but never be caught on camera with their ministers” or “the Jews have money, but good luck getting any from those tight wads” I could see it being a huge problem.
@WereBear: I sense a pattern here:
“Tea Party” = Republicans.
“Libertarians” = Republicans.
And yes, “No Labels” = Republicans.
I would certainly agree that here in the U.S. the only bipartisan goal is serving Israel, but you have to be pretty blindedly one sided not to think Hamas firing rockets out of schools and shelters doesn’t count as using human shields.
It may be the only option the Palestinians have left, but lets not ignore the crimes against humanity of either participant in this war.
@Jay C: I actually sent away for a pair of X-Ray Specs. 9-year-old me was a little disappointed that I couldn’t actually see through the girls’ dresses at recess, but it got me interested in diffraction grating, optics and general, and the sciences. Diffraction grating is cool.