Now, we've never actually accepted donations at Popehat. But I've been thinking of starting. The whole "work" thing isn't really turning out well for me. And I'm pretty sure Patrick was fired 18 months ago and has been blogging from a dumpster outside a Starbucks. So we're all penurious over here.
Anyway, if we're going to be hitting up our readers for cash, we need to find some way to keep track of the money and who gives it. I've been thinking of keeping track on a spreadsheet, broken down by the ethnicity and/or religious preference of the donors.
Because that's how the big kids do it.
See, apparently Mike McMahon, Democratic Congressman from New York, categorizes donors by ethnicity or religion. Or, to be more precise, he categorizes donors to his opponent by ethnicity or religion. Faced with a reasonably well-funded challenge by Republican hopeful Mike Grimm, he sent the media a list of Grimm's Jewish donors in order to argue that Grimm's campaign is funded by voters "outside the district":
The file, labeled "Grimm Jewish Money Q2," for the second quarter fundraising period, shows a list of over 80 names, a half-dozen of which in fact do hail from Staten Island, and a handful of others that list Brooklyn as home.
"Where is Grimm's money coming from," said Jennifer Nelson, McMahon's campaign spokesman. "There is a lot of Jewish money, a lot of money from people in Florida and Manhattan, retirees."
It really helps that the opponent's name is "Grimm" because "Grimm Jewish Money" sounds ominous, helping McMahon drum up the anxiety level. Maybe someday he'll be lucky enough to be challenged by rising young politician Cabal Q. Christkiller.
Anyway, if you're going to generate a scare-list of Jews who donated to your political enemy, you'd want to make it as precise as possible, right? I mean, it would be damned embarrassing if you slipped a Southern Baptist on there or something by accident and ended up undermining your whole they-control-my-opponent schtick. So — how does McMahon and his team know which Grimm donors are Jewish?
Jennifer Nelson said that the list was compiled by the campaign's finance director, Debra Solomon and that she did not know exactly how the finance team knew who was Jewish and who was not.
"She herself is Jewish so she knows a lot of people in that community," Nelson said.
Debra Solomon has Jewdar! Well, that sounds like a perfectly sound basis for compiling an ethnically or religiously segregated list of donors in an odd attempt to discredit your opponent. Of course, Nelson also said:
Nelson stressed that the point of compiling the list was not to show that Grimm had a lot of Jewish support, but that he had little support in the district.
"I don't think ethnicity matters. When people look at who is funding his campaign it's not people who have a direct vested interest [in the district.]"
This necessarily implies that (a) the Jews on the donor list are not local Jews, and that (b) therefore Debra Solomon is familiar with "that community" not just locally, but throughout the United States — throughout the community that the McMahon campaign refers to as "Jewtopia." This is exactly how I was led to understand the Jewish community works by watching Mel Gibson videos on YouTube.
Anyway, the whole story has broken now, and it will play poorly for McMahon, and much more poorly — hopefully lose-your-job-and-never-get-one-again poorly — for Nelson and Solomon. If only they had thought to ask a subject-matter expect, like Oliver Stone, they would have realized that floating a OMG-JEWS-CONTROL-MY-OPPONENT story to the media in hopes of getting a helpful story was kind of a long-shot. They might have also realized that when you get caught sending around files called "Jewish Money," you don't lean into the story by providing quotes like "there's lots of Jewish money."
It's said that politics is Hollywood for ugly people. I have no idea if Mike McMahon, Jennifer Nelson, or Debra Solomon are ugly on the outside. But it does seem that they are in that elite group even more menacing than any ethnic or religious tribe you could name: they are people who are too fucking stupid for politics.
Update: McMahon, appropriately, fires Nelson and blasts her comments. If Nelson was telling the truth that Solomon compiled a list of Grimm's Jewish donors, knowing it was for such racially tinged propaganda purposes, she needs to get the axe too. And even if we take McMahon at his word that he's not the sort of guy who would have approved this, he's still the sort of guy who hired people with regrettable judgment and contemptible morals.