Sunday, October 29, 2017

Felon And Gun Nut Mikey Suits Was NOT Named To The GOP's Young Guns List


Remember the good old days when the NRCC made Mafia thug Michael "Mikey Suits" Grimm a member of their Young Guns program? Grimm managed to beat a Democratic incumbent, Blue Dog GOP-lite backbencher Michael McMahon 65,024 (49.5%) to 60,773 (46.2%). But Grimm is a big time career criminal and Congress didn't slow him down one bit and he eventually wound up in prison. So now he's a felon-- and a candidate for Congress again. This time, though, the incumbent is a Republican-- Dan Donovan, a mainstream Republican who voted against Trumpcare and has a relatively moderate voting record. So far the NRCC is not considering Grimm for inclusion in their 2018 Young Guns program. They're sticking with Donovan. But Mercer and Bannon aren't.

Olivia Nuzzi is on the Mikey Suits beats for New York Magazine. She may surprise her readers when they find out the Tea Party-backed Grimm, before he was forced to resign and assume the identity of Inmate 83479-053, had "one of the most centrist records in the 111th Congress," very much like Donovan's has been.
In a more sane time in our political history, that might have been it for Michael Grimm’s political career. Maybe he’d have gotten lucky and ended up a Fox News pundit, or on the speaking circuit somewhere... But the sane times are over. In the ensuing handful of years, as he served his time in prison and got out, American politics came unglued in such a way that invited his return.

Grimm watched the 2016 election from the sidelines. He’s never attended a Trump rally and, as a felon, couldn’t vote for him. Instead, he drove down to D.C. in his Buick to watch the results come in at a friend’s party at the Capital Grille. But his political instincts remain sharp. In a district where 90 percent of likely Republican primary voters, according to an internal campaign poll, assess Trump favorably, he’s decided to market himself as the president’s kindred spirit. And just like in his first campaign, he’s attached himself to the conservative movement of the day: far-right populism-- specifically, the variety evangelized by Steve Bannon. The Breitbart empresario is supporting Grimm’s candidacy in an effort to fulfill his promise to challenge every Republican in Washington with the exception of Ted Cruz. “Staten Island’s very much like the Rust Belt. It’s like Pennsylvania, it’s like Michigan, it’s like Ohio. These are places where the forgotten man is everywhere,” a source close to Bannon told me, by way of explaining his involvement.

...[T]here is a minor complication with Grimm’s theory of the race: Dan Donovan, his opponent, has known the president for 20 years and maintained what he calls a friendship with him. He’s almost always voted in favor of Trump’s agenda, too, and in the rare cases when he hasn’t, Donovan said he’s explained his reasoning to Trump face-to-face in the White House, where he’s often welcomed as a guest.

[DWT warning: you may puke if you read the next paragraph about Grimm wanting to perform fellatio on Trump's little cocktail sausage.]

...Grimm admits he’s only met Trump a few times, and never in a meaningful way. As a congressman, he’d visited the president’s Trump Tower office as a formality more than anything else, just like every other New York politician. But his impression of Trump, he told me, was a lasting and positive one — so positive, in fact, that if the president were the kind of person who paid close attention to his press coverage, he might come across Grimm complimenting him effusively. “I remember saying to myself, I never realized what a large man-- I mean stature-wise, he’s a big man, with massive hands,” Grimm said, outstretching his own regular hands above the table. “I don’t have small hands, but when I shook hands with him, the first time I shook hands with him, I realized he was a big man.” He sensed my skepticism. “He is!” he said, defensively. “I thought they were pretty big. You don’t think so? I thought he had a big, strong grip. I’m dead serious.” He went on about how Trump is “a pretty big guy” and “not a small man even for his height” and how his hands were “more like a workman’s hands” than those of “a CEO.”

...It’s a surprising path given that Republicans hold the White House and both chambers of Congress. Newt Gingrich recently called Bannon’s plans the “wrong strategy” and wondered why Republicans would be targeted instead of Democrats. Karl Rove has expressed disapproval, too. The 11th is a swing district, and currently the only New York City seat held by a Republican; if Donovan loses or Grimm pushes him further to the right, Democrats stand a chance to flip it. But Bannon won’t concern himself with matters of partisanship; he’s a purist, more likely to burn everything down than learn to live with compromise.

“I think they’re doing the Lord’s work,” Grimm spokesman Michael Caputo said of Bannon and his main funders, billionaire Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah. “My understanding is they want to teach a lot of congressmen a lesson, and they need to be taught. There’s no price to pay for hurting the president, and I’ve never seen that before. If you opposed Barack Obama as a Democrat, you didn’t get your committee seat, wouldn’t get invited places. If you opposed Clinton on anything as a Democrat? You were in Siberia. In the Trump era, people earn stripes for it, and that’s bullshit. Because there needs to be a price to pay if you oppose your own president-- because the president’s agenda is the Republican agenda. I don’t care if the House and Senate disagrees with him. It’s not their job. Their job is to deliver on the president’s agenda. If they don’t agree, shut the fuck up. Don’t work against him.”

Caputo is a longtime Republican operative. He worked on Carl Paladino’s chaotic gubernatorial campaign, and, most recently, as a communications adviser to the Trump campaign. Among reporters, he is known for his candor and a certain eccentricity unusual in politics (he resigned from the campaign after tweeting “Ding dong the witch is dead!” when Corey Lewandowski was fired, and he wears Grateful Dead cuff links, a nod to his days following the band around the country in between stints on campaigns). In July, Caputo-- an ally of Paul Manafort-- testified before the House Intelligence Committee, where he denied having contact or being aware of any other campaign officials who had contact with Russians. It was Caputo who introduced Grimm to Bannon, talking him up for two weeks ahead of their eventual meeting in Washington. “Well, you know, with Steve it’s mostly texts,” Caputo said of their communication. “I’ve just tried to define the man for him. Bannon is, like all veterans, predisposed for veterans.”

Still, Caputo said Bannon had some reservations about Grimm. “Steve’s like, ‘He’s a felon?’” Caputo’s job, as he understood it, was to “define Grimm in a way that would fit, that would help Steve get to ‘yes.’” That meant explaining that Grimm’s record wasn’t a problem, but an asset. “I spent my time helping him understand that this happened to Grimm long before it ever happened to Trump.” By that he meant drawing a parallel between Grimm’s investigation, indictment, and conviction, and the Russia investigations that carry implications for the two of them. “As somebody who’s spent $30,000 on lawyers, I’m not convinced that he’s guilty of anything. I think they weaponized the Justice Department against him,” Caputo said. “Bannon is facing the Russia investigation, which we all think is contrived, weaponized Department of Justice. I define the Grimm situation as very similar.”

But with all of that out of the way, what Bannon really wanted to know was, “Does he have a chance?” He asked Caputo for polling, which Caputo provided, along with other data and research. According to an internal memo, among 482 likely primary voters polled, Donovan leads Grimm 48 to 32 percent. Polling under 50 percent, the campaign believes, means Donovan is vulnerable. Further, Grimm’s favorability is 61 percent (Donovan’s is 79) which, given several years of bad press, they consider a feat. “Grimm’s immunity from the obvious attacks, combined with Donovan’s weak position as the incumbent and alignment with House leadership in opposition to the Trump America First agenda, set the stage for a clear victory in a GOP primary for the true Trump candidate,” the memo states.

Bannon met with Grimm on a Wednesday afternoon at the Washington, D.C., townhouse where Breitbart is headquartered (and where Bannon also lives). They spoke for, depending on who you ask, an hour and 15 minutes or merely 30 minutes. According to Caputo, the topics of the meeting were pragmatic-- “fundraising, the horse race, the numbers, issues, opposition research on Donovan, and potential areas of cooperation between us.” Regardless, it was enough to win Bannon over. “Steve basically took it all in, asked a lot of questions, said, I’m with you, and, We can figure out how we can work together,” Caputo said. As Grimm was leaving, he and Bannon posed for a photo. Soon, Grimm released it on social media-- a contemporary press release announcing he’d earned Bannon’s support.

“I think the guy is brilliant,” Grimm said of Bannon. But when he uses the jargon of the Trump era-- “populism” or “fake news”-- it sounds out of place in his mouth, like he’s just emerged Austin Powers–style after being melted out of a cryogenic freezer. “I never considered myself, necessarily, as … a … populist …” he told me. “But I guess I am, because whenever I had to form my opinions and platform it was by going out and meeting people in restaurants and in diners and different things.” Bannon, he added, thought he was a populist-- and surely if anyone would know, it’d be him. “He basically said that he wants to support me, he likes that I’m straightforward. I think that he said I’m a fire-breathing populist or something like that.” And it doesn’t help that his understanding of his own policy positions is, at best, shaky. He admitted to hiring undocumented workers at Healthalicious, but he now claims to be in sync with the president on immigration. During a recent appearance on MSNBC, he struggled to answer a basic question about gun regulations. And in conversation, he’s prone to explaining what he believes the president “meant to say” by way of finding common ground with him.

As for what Bannon’s support means, it’s not totally clear. Grimm said he didn’t expect anything at all, that “just having his support means a lot to me.” A member of Bannon’s team wasn’t sure how support would manifest either. “I don’t know. That is not something that is figured out. As you know, Steve is meeting with tons of candidates every week. Depending on the race, support will mean different things.” This person also characterized Grimm as “brash-talking,” “aggressive,” and “a true-blue Staten Islander”-- all good things, because “you could tell he wasn’t bullshitting.”

Another source close to Bannon explained the appeal this way: “He’s not necessarily the most conservative guy on the planet, but he’s more representative of the people of Staten Island than Dan Donovan.” Donovan, this source said, is “grown in a petri dish” by the conservative Establishment, and far too close to the Speaker to ever be acceptable to them. His voting record-- 89 percent in line with the Trump agenda, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis-- is beside the point. “Who gives a shit?” the source said. “Those are dumb Washington talking points.” Such metrics were “cooked up” in “some talking-point machine” by “somebody that knows how to do correlations and can pass a high-school statistics class” who “works for Mitch McConnell, or Paul Ryan or one of these losers.” The source added, “It’s stupid. By the way, it’s stupid when the Republicans plant it against Democrats, too. ‘Oh, they vote 96 percent of the time with Elizabeth Warren!’ It’s like, Wow, you can do statistics! Who cares? They’re fucking idiots.”

Republicans on Capitol Hill are not enthusiastic about their former colleague’s plan to rejoin them. “I don’t know a single person here who wants him to run,” a senior Republican congressional source told me. This isn’t because Donovan is so well-liked, the source added, but because Grimm was hated and known as “a loudmouth punk.”

Donovan is skeptical that Bannon will actually do anything to influence the race. “I’m not sure what Mr. Bannon’s involvement or support is,” he told me. “You can see that very carefully, he did not say that he endorsed him.” He added that Grimm was liberal during his tenure in the House. “Mr. Bannon is not going to get the wool pulled over his eyes by Mr. Grimm,” he said. “Michael Grimm didn’t vote for Donald Trump because he lost the privilege of voting because of his criminal activity. And even when he was out of prison during the Trump campaign, you didn’t hear a peep out of Michael Grimm about supporting Donald Trump.” (When I asked the White House if the president planned to involve himself in the race, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told me she wouldn’t comment “due to the Hatch Act,” a 1939 law limiting political involvement by federal employees, with the exception of the president and vice-president. Richard Painter, a former White House ethics lawyer, told me Sanders’s response “makes no sense,” and further, he’d never heard of a press secretary invoking the Hatch Act to get out of answering a question about a president. “The White House should know what the president is doing and for the press secretary to disclose it does not violate the Hatch Act,” he said. When I pressed Sanders on this point, she eventually said, “We have nothing to announce at this time.”)
The NRCC has 3 levels of Young Guns. The first level is "On The Radar," followed by "Contender" and then "Young Guns." There are no Young Guns yet and no Contenders, just 31 candidates on the radar. None of those candidates are Mikey Suits. And very few of those candidates are likely to be in Congress in January, 2019.
Steve Smith (AZ-01) is running against Blue Dog Tom O'Halleran (R+2)
Steve Ferrara (AZ-09) is running for the open Kyrsten Sinema seat (D+4)
Andrew Grant (CA-07) is running against corrupt New Demo Ami Bera (D+3)
Justin Fareed (CA-24) is running against Salud Carbajal (D+7)
Sean Flynn (CA-31) is running against New Def Pete Aguilar (D+8)
Mike Miller (FL-07) is running against Blue Dog Stephanie Murphy (EVEN)
Scott Sturgill (FL-07) is also running against Murphy
Bruno Barreirro (FL-27) is running for the open Ros-Lehtinen seat (D+5)
Doug Bennett (IL-10) is running against Blue Dog Brad Schneider (D+10)
Sapan Shah (IL-10) is also running against Schneider
Jeremy Wynes (IL-10) a third one ion against Schneider
Mike Kleine (IL-17) is running against Blue Dog Cheri Bustos (D+3)
Steve Fitzgerald (KS-02) is running for the open Lynn Jenkins seat (R+10)
Caryn Tyson (KS-02) also wants that Jenkins seat
Rick Green (MA-03) is running for the open Niki Tongas seat (D+9)
Lena Epstein (MI-11) is running for the open Dave Trott seat (R+4)
Jim Hagedorn (MN-01) is running for the open Tim Walz seat (R+5)
Pete Stauber (MN-08) is running against Rick Nolan (R+4)
Eddie Edwards (NH-01) is running for the open Carol Shea-Porter seat (R+2)
Andy Sanborn (NH-01) is also running for the open Shea-Porter seat
Steve Negron (NH-02) is taking on New Def Ann Kuster (D+2)
Steve Lonegan (NJ-05) is taking on corrupt Blue Dog Josh Gottheimer (R+3)
Monty Newman (NM-02) is running for the open Steve Pierce seat (R+6)
Yvette Herrell (NM-02) also wants to open Pierce seat
Victoria Seaman (NV-03) is running for the open Jacky Rosen seat (R+2)
Stavros Anthony (NV-04) is running against New Dem Ruben Kihuen (D+3)
Dan Meuser (PA-11) is running for the open Lou Barletta seat (R+10)
John Chrin (PA-17) is running against Matt Cartwright (R+1)
Dusty Johnson (SD-AL) is running for the open Kristi Noem seat (R+14)
Shantel Krebs (SD-AL) also wants that open Noem seat
Dino Rossi (WA-08) is running for the open Dave Reichert seat (EVEN)

UPDATE: Mercer Won't Finance Bannon's Efforts For Mikey Suits

According to Fox News, the Mercers won't underwrite Bannon's plans to replace Dan Donovan with Mafia thug Michael "Mikey Suits" Grimm. Mercer, who has financed the world's largest urine collection operation, says Grimm is a step to far, even for him.

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At 5:02 PM, Blogger Harry Malpaso said...

Mercer bucks ally Bannon in not supporting Grimm comeback

At 5:03 PM, Blogger Harry Malpaso said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So a felon like Grimm can't vote, but can run for office? I learn something every day!


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