How many anonymous quotes will the Washington Post use in a single article to smear Virginia Republican candidate for Governor Ed Gillespie? As many as it takes, apparently.
This is one of the silliest articles I’ve read this election cycle, and that’s saying something after the circus of a primary we endured in the Commonwealth.
The article itself argues that some folks are upset that Gillespie doesn’t have enough Trump advisers on his staff. This is in direct contradiction to what Democrats have been saying, as Ralph Northam is obsessed with trying to tie Gillespie to the President, going as far as to call him “Trump’s top lobbyist.” Gillespie is simultaneously too close to Trump and not close enough. Got it.
The ridiculous part is how many anonymous sources WaPo cites in this attack. Let’s run down the count.
RICHMOND — Alarmed that Ed Gillespie barely won the Virginia GOP primary for governor in June, top Republicans from the White House on down are pushing him to hire some of the president’s strategists and more aggressively court Trump voters, according to Republicans with direct knowledge of those efforts.
In addition, the Republican National Committee has taken charge of field operations for the Gillespie campaign, according to two Republicans who called it a sign that the national party is worried about Gillespie’s team.
The RNC in conjunction with the Republican Party of Virginia always ends up spearheading field efforts, the so-called “Victory model”, in off-year elections. That’s two.
Still, GOP strategists critical of Trump say Gillespie, who had the support of 91 percent of Republicans in a recent Quinnipiac University poll, would be smart to keep his distance.
The Post goes on to quote former Kasich strategist John Weaver, but note they lumped him in with the plural “strategists.” Where are these other strategists? Three.
The White House, former Virginia governor George Allen and state lawmakers have been urging Gillespie to tap Trump’s strategists, six Republicans familiar with that outreach said.
Six Republicans willing to talk to the Post and not a single one of them would put their name to it? That has to be a record. Four.
Some Republicans say Gillespie should take harder lines against illegal immigration and the protection of Confederate monuments. Others say that his positions are already sufficiently conservative but that he should sharpen his tone.
And still others say Gillespie must demonstrate support for Trump — or at least White House policies that play well in the state, such as efforts to improve Veterans Affairs, ease regulatory burdens on coal and other industries, and boost infrastructure spending.
Some Republicans, others, and still others? Good grief, could they note track down a usable quote for any of these arguments? That’s five, six, and seven.
The White House has offered to dispatch Trump family members to stump for Gillespie, but so far he has not accepted, according to one Republican familiar with the discussions.
I don’t know who “one Republican” is, but he seems to talk to the Washington Post a lot. That’s anonymous quote/argument number eight.
“He’s surrounded himself with ‘Never Trumpers,’ and they don’t know how to navigate this new dynamic in the party,” said a Republican familiar with the outreach.
Corey Stewart? Is that you? That’s anonymous quote number nine.
Activists “lit into” Leavitt for nearly losing the primary, said two people familiar with the discussion.
Were these the same two people who didn’t understand how a field program works or were these part of the six earlier anonymous Republicans? That’s number ten.
“I feel like I’m on the Titanic right now,” one Republican insider said.
I actually have a feeling I know who said this overdramatic doozy, but I’ll do the Washington Post a favor and not out the source of anonymous quote number eleven.
The RNC has long played a part in field operations for various campaigns but is taking a more forceful role than usual in Virginia, calling shots more than collaborating, according to two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement.
These two people can’t have that much knowledge, or they’d know that RNC and RPV taking on field duties in a gubernatorial year is standard stuff. That’s twelve.
The next day, a handful of Republicans asked Lewandowski whether he would meet with and consider advising Gillespie, according to two Republicans with direct knowledge of the effort.
These “two Republicans” sure like talking to the press. That’s thirteen.
Others have suggested that Gillespie tap different Trump operatives, including those who helped him win tough battles in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
There are those elusive “others” again. Gosh, chasing down actual quotes would be a lot of work. Anonymous postulation number fourteen.
“No one’s pushing one particular person,” said a Republican familiar with the efforts.
Wait, didn’t the two anonymous Republicans above say that the effort centered around Lewandowski? Even the anonymous sources are confused in this hit piece! That’s number fifteen.
Some are urging Gillespie to make peace with Stewart, who never made a concession call.
Somewhere in Richmond, “some” and “others” are sitting down and talking about how easy it is to get the press to pick up their anonymous sniping. That’s sixteen.
Look, I’m not anonymous. I’m willing to go on the record and say I was disappointed by the results last month and I’m looking for improvements out of the Gillespie operation. What I’m not going to do is snipe via the Washington Post, which is more interested in landing a hit piece than engaging in good journalism.
Gillespie must be doing something right to draw this type of desperate press.