Sunday, January 23, 2005

Joe Trippi will end up being Howard Dean's Dick Morris

That's what Cassandra sees.

And this time it's not just from looking into the future. See, I have a brief, sordid past in politics during which I happened to bump into Trippi from time to time and yes, he was a trip. He must have been younger then, but he looked even older...

The year was 1987 and he was working on Dick Gephardt's presidential campaign. He was one of the white boys -- what we called the inner circle, not all white and not all boys (it included Donna Brazile, for example, and another female political thinker whom I greatly admired. I ended up driving her to the airport after she was physically threatened in a white boy meeting. I won't say by whom but I will say that the rest of the "fellas" sat idly by and watched ... oooh I digress...)

Anyways, Trippi always seemed to be in a bad mood. Always seemed to be grumbling about something. I just gave him shit for it because I had absolutely nothing to lose. What the fuck were they going to do to me? Fire me? They weren't paying me. They were supposed to be, but they weren't. Were they going to leave me in Iowa or South Dakota or Michigan or Bumfuck USA? I had already stowed enough campaign drafts and a copy of the rental car keys so that I could get home. And I made sure to stay in public places, like the campaign HQ so that I wouldn't be physically harmed. (I was young and naive -- I was working in politics because I wanted to change things for god's sake!)

The rumor about Trippi was that during Mondale's campaign he had been the field rep in Sioux City, IA. Field Reps are placed early, sometimes two years out from the election or caucuses (cauci?) to meet folks and make real connections and organize for The Candidate. Supposedly, the folks in Sioux City hated Trippi so much that he showed up one day and found his desk and his whole office set up on the snowy sidewalk outside the HQ and all the buiding's locks changed. Sioux City was one tough city, believe me. I personally felt the wrath of one mean fucking granny up there. But they were also relentlessly honest. They knew what to do with a jerk when they smelled him.

So when I heard that Trippi was Dean's campaign manager, I had to pass on Dean. T'was a bit painful, because Dean seemed cool and all, but Kucinich was even cooler for me. (Really Left -- hear that DLC? Hear that folks who want to deny being Michael Moore Democrats?) But I wouldn't have minded backing a more "viable" candidate.

But during the primaries, I want the luxury of my convictions. During the 92 primaries I didn't support Clinton because I figured if he couldn't handle his private life, couldn't be honest with his wife, he couldn't handle the presidency -- HOWEVER, IF THE CHOICE WAS BETWEEN HIM AND A FUCKING WARMONGER LIKE BUSH THE FIRST, THE CHOICE IS FUCKING EASY!

So I didn't support Dean because I couldn't trust Trippi. I walked away from the Gephardt campaign knowing this: Gephardt may have been the best boyscout in town, but ultimately he was surrounded by CROOKS! Sometimes violent, always ruthless, definitely corrupt, ultimately short-sighted and self serving -- hey, they sound like republicans! I learned that politix, at least presidential campaign politix is a team sport. And it's all about the white boys. They get together and pick their team and their agenda in the back room and kill off the weak and idealistic visionaries in the process. Then all the ruthless bloodsuckers who are left pick a clean looking mascot.

(I've heard that nobody dislikes Gephardt. Good. I liked him a lot. But I wouldn't trust the rest of those assholes I worked with to tell me which way the door swings. And Trippi was one of those assholes.)

And this funny thing happened during the Dean campaign. Dean fired Trippi one day and then a couple of days later there was this mysterious disclosure that the Dean campaign was basically broke! Hmmmm. And nobody ever seemed to link those two events... There was some talk about the fact that Trippi had put most of the money into ad buys -- ad buys that carried commissions that went to a political consulting firm that Trippi had interest in! But Trippi denied having any conflict of interest? Give me a break.

And now Trippi is saying that he doesn't back Dean for head of the DNC. What a fucking jerk. Isn't that a big surprise.

Of course Dean is looking to replace Terry McAuliffe as the current head of the DNC. That name is also familiar to me. McAuliffe was the treasurer of the Gephardt campaign! Those previously mentioned "drafts" that I had stowed to get myself back home when the campaign folded? Those were great. They looked like checks but they weren't. They are hard to explain, mainly because I didn't understand them fully, but they said "Gephardt Presidential Campaign" on them. This meant something in some parts of the country, like seeing a movie star means something outside of Hollywood or New York. It didn't mean much in Iowa or New Hampshire -- actually got threats and giggles from those in the know, those who had gotten stiffed by other campaigns. The thing is, they were drawn on some bank that I was told was owned or run or managed by.... Terry McAuliffe, the Finance Manager of the Gephardt Campaign. I always imagined that it only had one branch and that was basically on wheels, like a construction trailer. And as soon as the campaign folded the one and only branch of The Bank of Terry McAuliffe would pack up and disappear.

That's more or less what happened. That and a stolen rental car... but I don't want to incriminate myself ... I mean my friends... or my acquaintances. Chalk it all up to youthful indiscretion, right? I mean, after all, I was 22.

What's Trippi's excuse?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting debate of this topic here:

February 06, 2005 5:25 PM  

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