Too funny. Via Atrios, I just read of conservative bloggers who scheduled conference calls with three Congressmen vying for Delay’s vacated Majority Leader spot. And while the first two calls went decently, the one with Congressman Blunt gave them a bad taste in their mouths (you can guess what that taste was).
To quote Dale Franks at QandO Blog:
As far as I'm concerned, the Blunt call was a disaster for Rep Blunt. My dominant impression was that he was trying to stack the deck with ringers who'd throw him softball questions, so our group's ability to question him closely would be limited by squandering time on people who were not part of our group, and whose questions he saw in advance. In short, he was trying to spin us. As far as I can tell, Rep. Blunt broke just about every rule for how to deal effectively with bloggers. I don't think he could've alienated me more effectively had he intentionally set out to do so.
Welcome to the real GOP, Dale. Try not to wipe the bootmarks off your ass, or they’ll just have to go through the trouble of making new ones.
Here’s more from Dale:
Then, Rep. Blunt just outright pissed me off. He said words to the effect that, while he understood that many of us supported someone else, and he knew we'd be writing up the call later, he hoped we wouldn't write or do something that would jeopardize our ability to work together later, and since he was gonna win—already had the votes locked up, in fact—we would be dealing with him.
What the hell party has he been looking at for five years? This is exactly how the GOP’s been running things since Bush took office, and even going back before that, when he was merely a candidate. This isn’t something that Blunt invented to get this leadership spot. This is the standard operating procedure. Did he really believe that those orchestrated Bush events were done so simply to keep out the rabble-rousers? Has he never heard that Bush receives questions before many interviews? How did he not realize that “Jeff Gannon” was a complete set-up, as a lifesaver to a Whitehouse receiving questions it didn’t like? Or that this was a regular feature of Whitehouse press conferences? The question isn’t why this one congressman was screwing around with the rightwing bloggers, but why they’ve never noticed this before.
But that’s the thing, these people haven’t been noticing this. They’re still up in arms about the “liberal media” and haven’t realized that the media does this exact thing. They toss softball questions and make sure to not write the bad stuff, or risk losing important access. Because there’s always another reporter to take your place. That’s not to suggest that all of the media is like that, but they don’t need all of the media. They just need a few loyal scribes to submit their questions beforehand and only write the good stuff. And it works. And it looks like Blunt was pulling the same crap, so he could get some loyal bloggers who wanted access to a bigwig.
And in the meantime, the GOP has become a complete sham. But these people haven’t noticed. They’re so busy attacking traitorous libs and the supposedly Bush-hating media that they haven’t noticed the prank that’s been played on them. The GOP leadership, from Bush to Rush and on down to the lower-level players are playing a game with their loyal supporters, and the supporters fall for it every damn time. They’re trying to set us off against one another, so we don’t notice what the heck’s going on up above.
And that’s the thing. Just reading this one post of his, I suspect that I have far more in common with Franks than he has with his own party. But he just doesn’t know it. He’s been the victim of professional stagecraft and manipulation for years, and is just now having the blinds pulled up. But the big question is whether he’ll use his new found sight to uncover similar scams being pulled on him, or if he just thinks this is an isolated incident. Unfortunately, it sounds like he thinks it’s just isolated. Hopefully, he’ll prove me wrong on that. I have no problem with people having different opinions than me, but too often, the Republican leadership is just fucking with the facts and messing with our minds.
(As a disclaimer, I’ve never read anything else by Dale Franks, and do not know if my description necessarily applies to him directly. This is solely based upon the surprise he seems to have experienced by the tactics these people have used for many years.)