Trump communications staff
In the early days of the Iraq War in 2003 there was a spokesman for Saddam Hussein who tried to explain how everything was going great for Iraq, even as American tanks approached Baghdad. Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, the Iraqi Information Minister, became known to Americans as “Baghdad Bob.” Given how Trumpsters constantly glow about how well the disastrously run Trump for President campaign is doing, it looks like Baghdad Bob is living in New York and is employed as communications director for the campaign.
I have taken the liberty of (only slightly) editing Wikipedia’s description of Baghdad Bob to explain his possible role for Donald Trump:
He is best known for his grandiose and grossly unrealistic propaganda broadcasts before and during the war [campaign], extolling the invincibility of the Iraqi Army [Donald Trump] and the permanence of Saddam’s [Trump’s] rule. His announcements were intended for an Iraqi [American] domestic audience subject to Saddam’s [Trump’s] cult of personality and total state censorship [press access control], and were met with widespread derision and amusement by Western nationals and others [Americans] with access to up-to-date information from international [American] media organizations.
In the ensuing coverage of the purge of campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, related collateral damage occurred. MGM might pursue legal action regarding the besmirchment of the reputation of the Wicked Witch of the West. But Bob is on the job to take care of that!
Those Republican emails keep on coming
One of the rewards of my February trip to South Carolina to observe the primary election is what is turning out to be a non-stop stream of emails from former Republican presidential candidates and from others who somehow acquired the email lists of those candidates. Attendance at the South Carolina Republican events required providing an email address in order to receive a “ticket.”
The latest batch is notable for one reason: the lack of attention to, support for or endorsement of the presumptive Republican presidential candidate. Dire warnings are implied. The only emails mentioning Donald Trump are from Trump himself and his superPAC, plus a late arrival from Marco Rubio. Here is a sampling:
- Donald J. Trump. “This is the first fundraising email I have ever sent on behalf of my campaign. That’s right. The FIRST ONE. And, I’m going to help make it the most successful introductory fundraising email in modern political history by personally matching every dollar that comes in WITHIN THE NEXT 48 HOURS, up to $2 million.” I’ve never had someone who is worth $10 billion ask me for a dollar before. What an honor! I wonder how much of a contribution will go to repay Trump Enterprises for the rental of Mar-a-Lago.
- The Great America PAC (7 recent requests). They note that Trump’s campaign is “desperately low on resources” and that Trump is “getting crushed…” They claim to be “the only reputable Super PAC backing Mr. Trump.” Donald Trump “has united our nation … behind a singular vision: AMERICA FIRST.” (See Bob, Baghdad)
- Senator Tom Cotton, (Arkansas). Raising money for John McCain. “He is in a dead heat in Arizona…”
- Rand Paul. “I’ve been outraised the last two reporting periods…”
- Marco Rubio (two recent requests). “I’m not done yet…” Raising for the Republican Party of Florida. But wait, evidently there was more to his “I’m not done yet” comment than originally met the eye.
Marco Rubio. Announcing his re-election campaign, he mentions Trump! “The prospect of a Trump presidency is also worrisome to me. It is no secret that I have significant disagreements with Donald Trump. His positions on many key issues are still unknown. And some of his statements, especially about women and minorities, I find not just offensive but unacceptable.”
- John Kasich (4 recent requests). Raising money for John McCain. “He is in a dead heat in Arizona…”
- John Kasich. Raising for Senator Rob Portman of Ohio.
- Representative and House leadership member Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Raising for Congresswoman Martha McSally of Arizona.
- Ava Arpaio. Wife of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Arizona, requesting signing his birthday card and sending money.
- Congresswoman Mia Love, Utah (2 requests in the past week.) Rising Republican superstar in a red-for-52-years state. “We are losing.” “I am behind by a groundbreaking 6 points.”
- Someone named Ted. Raising money for South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy off of the Benghazi Committee report that Gowdy will soon release.
Ahh, yes, Republican unity!
Flaherty’s DA campaign seems to also be about control of the Democratic Party
Michael Flaherty, the acting Erie County District Attorney, is running hard for election to the office in November. He has borrowed and raised a large amount of money and has a campaign staff in place. He is an insider running as an outsider.
His campaign effort thus far, however, seems to be a mixture of Flaherty-for-DA and Eagan-for-County-Chairman. Former Secretary of the State Democratic Committee Jim Eagan attempted to run against current Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner for leadership of the County Committee in 2012.
Eagan provided Flaherty’s campaign with a $40,000 loan in January. To comply with the Election Law much of that loan will need to be re-paid by September, so it was mostly for show.
Eagan has injected himself into the Flaherty campaign to take pot shots at Zellner. After the presidential primary Eagan blamed Zellner for Hillary Clinton’s small margin of victory in Erie County. Eagan overlooked the fact that Erie was one of only a handful of counties between Westchester and Western New York to carry for Hillary. Clinton folks directed phone efforts in that campaign from Erie County to voters in New York City to help drive up the Clinton vote there.
More recently, as Bob McCarthy noted, Eagan purchased a domain name that implied it belonged to endorsed Democratic DA candidate John Flynn. The bogus site deflected the viewer to Flaherty. This is not the first time some political operative tried something like this, but it reeked of high school gamesmanship. If you are running for DA do you really want to be associated with such stunts?
Flaherty’s recent video ad that was sent out electronically from an Eagan email address talks about Flaherty’s “Public Integrity Unit” in the DA’s office. (I wonder if Channel 4 knows the ad is in effect introduced by Don Postles.) The ad references a question about the legality of a teachers’ union donation to the Erie County Democratic Party in 2014 that he has tried to link to a New York City investigation concerning union campaign contributions to upstate State Senate campaigns that year. The money was never sent.
Flaherty’s actual current prosecution of an Election Law violation involving gadfly Russ Thompson may have some legs if in fact Thompson was living in Niagara Falls when he voted last year in Grand Island. That would be election law fraud. Bringing in three assistant DAs to prosecute and seeking a four-year prison term, however, does seem a bit over the top.
Flaherty’s stand on public integrity would mean more than words if his actions as Frank Sedita’s First Assistant DA for the past seven years had included prosecuting election fraud. The biggest case in town, concerning Steve Pigeon’s political committees, fell to Attorney General Eric Scheiderman to pursue.
A failed attempt by Flaherty to secure the Conservative Party endorsement, followed by the failure to gain the Republican nomination, means that Flaherty must win the Democratic Primary on September 13th to be on a ballot in November. A campaign that is perhaps running in parallel to an effort to change party leadership in Erie County could mean a double defeat in September.