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Katy Grimes

Pay no attention to the political consultants behind the curtain

As long as I have followed politics closely — since Junior High school in the 1970′s — I’ve said political consultants will be the death of the Republican Party.

And now, finally, a political consultant finally agrees with me. “The way it works is this–ever since we centralized politics in Washington, the House campaign committee and the Senate campaign committee, they decide who they think should run,” Pat Cadell said at the CPAC conference. “You hire these people on the accredited list [they say to candidates] otherwise we won’t give you money. You hire my friend or else.”

“Pat Caddell, the Fox News Contributor and Democrat pollster who engineered Jimmy Carter’s 1976 Presidential victory, blew the lid off CPAC on Thursday with a blistering attack on ‘racketeering’ Republican consultants who play wealthy donors like ‘marks,’” reports.

“When you have the Chief of Staff of the Republican National Committee and the political director of the Romney campaign, and their two companies get $150 million at the end of the campaign for the ‘fantastic’ get-out-the-vote program…some of this borders on RICO [the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act] violations,” Caddell told the crowd. ”It’s all self dealing going on. I think it works on the RICO thing. They’re in the business of lining their pockets.”

What else could possibly explain John McCain or Mitt Romney, or in California, Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina? These were all decisions made by the political establishment, despite other viable candidates.

“As a Democrat, Caddell said he could tell the truth about the failings of the Republicans 2012 campaign efforts since ‘I have no interest in the Republican Party,’” reported. “He compared Republicans unfavorably to Democrats.’In my party we play to win. We play for life and death. You people play for a different kind of agenda…Your party has no problem playing the Washington Generals to the Harlem Globetrotters.’”

In other words, Republicans play for big money and self-enrichment, while Democrats play to win. Look at America right now, and look at California… could it be any more clear?

On the Romney campaign, Cadell said, “There was a failure of strategy, a failure of tactics, a massive failure of messaging. Most of all there was a total failure of imagination.”

“Caddell singled out Stuart Stevens, a key figure in Romney’s campaign, in a particularly withering critique. “Stevens had as much business running a campaign as I do sprouting wings and flying out of this room,” he said.

Meg Whitman spent $160 million on her failed campaign for California governor.

She paid millions each to seven consultant vendors:

* the Majority Strategies direct mail concern ($5.4 million)
* Arena Communications, GOP political mail experts ($5 million)
* Campaign advisor Scott Howell, whose “strategic media firm” touts ties to Karl Rove ($4.5 million)
* Tokoni Inc., a social networking concern that worked for Whitman in the primary ($3.8 million)
* strategist Mike Murphy’s Bonaparte Films LLC ($1.1 million)
* SJZ LLC, a Massachusetts fundraising firm founded by Spencer Zwick, an adviser to former Gov. Mitt Romney ($1.1 million)
* Intuitive Technology Solutions, which stages events ($1 Million)

And Whitman brought in the usual big-bucks GOP consultants and advisers, California Watch reported. ”Tack on $11.6 million for political consultants, $10.5 million for mail and an astonishing $106.9 million for broadcast advertising, and you get an idea of how Meg Whitman spent more than $160 million,” California Watch reported.

* campaign manager Jillian Hasner ($829,000)

* senior adviser Jeff Randle ($512,000)

* deputy campaign managers W. Todd Cranney ($350,205) and Tucker Bounds ($273,000)

* press secretary Sarah Pompei ($202,000).

“Even though Whitman’s campaign was largely self-financed, she also spent heavily on fundraising. Payees included GOP fundraising specialist Jill Huerter ($696,000), the online fundraising concern BlueSwarm LLC ($640,000) and On Target Fundraising of Oregon ($528,000).”

Whitman’s campaign is just one example of how much money flows through campaigns, and how much consultants and advisors make, win or lose.

While the California Watch report included some of Brown’s campaign spending, the glaring flaw was the omission of the vast union spending done on Brown’s behalf. Republican candidates face daunting union pushback, but that is no justification for the gross self-profiting.

“You won the House [in 2012] because of the reapportionment that came after the 2010 [Tea Party] victories,” Cadell said. “Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), elected in 2010, and Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), elected in 2012, had to fight this establishment at every step in the process and ‘claw their way’ to electoral success.”

cross posted at CalWatchdog

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