There’s a big story up on Politico detailing the behind-the-scenes discussions that led to S.C. governor Nikki Haley‘s endorsement of Marco Rubio in last week’s “First in the South” presidential primary.
That article is full-on GOP establishment propaganda, of course … noting how the two politicians “bonded over their young children, their shared heritage as state legislators, and … stories about Afghanistan.”
Yeah, that’s “where Rubio has visited as a member of the Foreign Relations committee and Michael Haley, a captain in the South Carolina National Guard, had served.”
Ummm … okay.
The article, written by Shane Goldmacher and Anna Palmer, goes on to breathlessly extol the virtue of diversity for diversity’s sake …
As they stood together on stage in Greenville on Thursday – an African-American senator, Indian-American governor, Cuban-American presidential candidate and a white congressman Rep. Trey Gowdy – Haley declared, “This new group of conservatives taking over America looks like a Benetton commercial.”
It also marks the “rising star” of Haley on the national stage …
Haley, long considered a rising GOP star, has grown to national prominence in the last year. She is considered a potential vice-presidential pick, after taking down the Confederate flag from the state Capitol last year and delivering an anti-Trump official GOP response to the State of the Union in which she urged voters not to “follow the siren call of the angriest voices.”
Not surprisingly, there’s no mention of Haley’s stumbles in the aftermath of her latest coming-out party … or the repudiation of her by the GOP base … or the intimate involvement of Rubio’s advisors in bringing her extramarital affairs to light six years earlier.
In fact the only thing resembling a negative mention in the Politico report was this reference to exit polling related to the governor’s “dramatic” endorsement of Rubio …
More than one in four South Carolina voters said Haley’s endorsement was an important factor for them and Rubio won dominant plurality of them, 47 percent.
Wait … “more than” one in four? So less than a third. And less than half of those took her advice?
Spin aside, the real omission in Goldmacher and Palmer’s Benetton ad … err, article … was Jon Lerner.
Wait … who?
Lerner is the Maryland-based “Republican” consultant who has been guiding Haley’s political destiny for the past seven years (prior to that, he advised former S.C. governor Mark Sanford). But those aren’t the only hats Lerner wears. He’s also on the payroll of the Conservative Solutions PAC, which raised $30 million last year in support of Rubio’s presidential ambitions. Not only that, he’s a consultant for the Club for Growth – a group which has been spending big bucks bashing Donald Trump.
Take a look …
(Click to enlarge)
Haley, of course, has been bashing Trump for months … long before the GOP establishment in Washington, D.C. chose her to give the response to Barack Obama‘s final State of the Union address.
(Guess that quid pro quo panned out after all).
It’s time to call this concerted effort what it clearly is: A key cog in the full-court GOP press to anoint Rubio as the “Republican” nominee – and to destroy “The Donald.” And from the looks of it, the whole effort is being run out of the same Bethesda, Maryland office belonging to Jon Lerner.
“Nowhere in (the Politico) story is there a mention of Lerner,” one Beltway-based advisor told us. “He is laying low for a reason. His relations with the Club for Growth and the Rubio PAC smell of coordination. The attacks on Trump while his is out pimping for Rubio raises some issues that maybe an FEC complaint or two should look at.”
The Federal Election Commission should absolutely take a look at these connections and make sure no improper campaign coordination is taking place. We’re not necessarily saying a full-scale investigation is warranted, but it’s pretty clear there was a concerted effort from this status quo enclave in South Carolina to promote Rubio and attack Trump.
Who knows? Maybe they’re the ones responsible for what happened to our website during primary week …
Of interest? Even though this powerful cabal of GOP insiders threw everything including the kitchen sink at South Carolina – they still only wound up with only 22.5 percent of the electorate choosing their preferred candidate. Meanwhile Trump, the candidate whose ambitions they were supposed to destroy, scored a runaway victory with 32.5 percent of the vote.
Looks like it’s going to take a lot more than fresh faces, careful coordination and tons of special interest money to sink the populist movement running wild within the “Republican” primary electorate.