Republican Campaign Strategists are Morons. Not That it Matters

Jay McCleskey’s flier attacking Democratic legislative candidate Stephanie Richard is awesome unintentional comedy. It’s genuinely stupid. This is not a case of missing a typo. This is about simply not caring, because Republican operatives can be as dumb and dishonest as they want.

The mailer says Richard “supported driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.” Firstly, that’s not true. Here’s the good part, though:

Instead of telling the Albuquerque Journal that she supports repealing the law and leave it at that, Richard gave herself dancing room, saying we need ‘comprehensive changes to how driver’s licenses are issued.’ Below to add in edits…make sure Albuquerque Journal is italicized like below.” 

Ha! That’s really what it says! That last part is two full lines on the page, next to pink and blue dancing-shoe footprints and under headlines and highlighted text. This is a Reform New Mexico Now flier, according to reports, and it was sent out without even a glance by McCleskey’s people to make sure they hadn’t left weird notes to themselves right in the center of the message. 

 McCleksey is fun to follow partly because the hypocrisy is so brazen. This flier calls its target “Politician Stephanie Garcia Richard,” as though her opponents aren’t politicians but actual, real people. A recent flier attacking Tim Jennings said the same thing: “Politician Tim Jennings.” 

Clever. Who’s the politician, though? Gov. Susana Martinez calls McCleskey her “top advisor” and then sets him loose to raise money and blast candidates in legislative primaries. 

Let’s see who donated Reform New Mexico Now’s money. (This is a fun game everyone should play; campaign finance reports are available on the Secretary of State’s website.) 

The October 2012 “Monetary Contributions” report says Reform NM Now raised $281,100 since August. The Republican State Leadership Committee gave $250,000 of that money. McCleskey Media takes those hundreds of thousands and turns around and pays itself, according to these reports, $11,229, then $1,926, then $11,229 again and $1,926 again. Those are sweet paydays over just a couple months, provided almost entirely by the RSLC. 

(I did a quick Google News search on the Republican State Leadership Committee. The first story that popped up was from Pennsylvania, where an AG candidate called on her opponent “to ask the Republican State Leadership Committee to stop running ads that they said distort Kane’s record on rape cases when she was an assistant district attorney in Lackawanna County,” according to the Philadelphia Daily News. Distorting rape case records? Stay classy, RSLC.) 

Gov. Martinez, not incidentally, spoke last week at a Republican State Leadership Committee meeting in Nashville. The AP reported “the event was part of a project to recruit and elect more Republican women to state and local offices.” The governor probably also wanted to thank them for the quarter million dollars she can use to blast voters’ mailboxes with cardboard fliers everyone hates. 

It’s hard not to admire these guys a little bit. Politics has devolved into a money party, right? Guys like McCleskey raise money and bully candidates and influence elections… and they don’t even have to be smart about it. The game is dumb, and they know it, and that dumbness doesn’t make the gobs of cash he gets to pay himself any less spendable. Someone whose job is raking in political money can call everyone else a “politician” like it’s a major diss, and the hypocrisy is ignored by news outlets because this is how the game gets played. 

Never mind that political inaction is crippling the economy and our education system and so much else. This is about votes, pure and simple. Votes win elections.

Which brings us to McCleskey’s old pal Nathan Sproul. Two years ago his operation Lincoln Strategy Group was paid more than $1 million for media production and political consulting by Susana For Governor. McCleskey worked for Lincoln until Martinez was elected, then he split off to run his own shop McCleskey Media Strategies. 

Lincoln Strategy Group isn’t in the news today, but that’s because it changed its name. Now, it’s Strategic Allied Consulting. Numerous reports say Sproul has been accused of election shenanigans enough times that he’s had to change the company’s name repeatedly. It was Sproul and Associates, then it was Lincoln Strategy Group, then it became Strategic Allied Consulting. 

Last week, Republicans fired Sproul from registering voters in several swing states because Strategic Allied Consulting was, numerous reports say, submitting phony voter registration forms in Florida. Reports say the company would fire employees who signed up Democrats, and some of its people would ask whom a person supported before letting them register if they answered “Romney.” 

In 2004, Sproul’s group was accused of destroying hundreds of voter registration forms, specifically those filled out by Democrats. Numerous reports say the RNC actually asked Sproul to change the name before they hired him to work this current presidential election, because the press had been so bad previously. 

So they cared about the name, but not the tactics. Then they got caught. (We may recall the Fox News freakout over ACORN reporting itself for a few possible instances of voter fraud. When Republicans do it, there is no such freakout.)

Deceit. Fraud. It’s all good, baby, because – as we’ve already covered – the money spends great. Let’s bring this all home, though, by looking at the Strategic Allied Consulting website. Please, oh please and give it 20 seconds of your time. 

When I was in high school in the late 1990s, there was a class where we learned to make websites. See how there are no margins on the Strategic site? No art. Typos. A generic font. Long gaps between some paragraphs but not others. 

This website would have been ugly in 1997. These days, it’s just strange. But guess what? No one cares. Only a Republican campaign strategist could have a website like this, because he knows being lazy and stupid isn’t a problem. It’s practically a job requirement.  

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