Lots of email speeding back and forth in the cyber ether about the now obvious conclusion that Donald Trump is the only one left standing in the Republican debacle called the 2016 Presidential Campaign nominating process.
Several friends and cronies from my days as a political operative in Washington are, largely, wringing their hands and wondering just what the hell happened and who might be responsible.
My answer? Look in the mirror, bub. To borrow and modify and old line from Democratic guru James Carville, who masterminded Bill Clinton’s election as President in 1992, “it’s the fallout, stupid!”
You can trace a lot of the fallout from the rise to power of Geogia’s Newt Gingrich, one of the Republican Party’s most self-serving elected officials and a failed Speaker of the House who came to power in 1994 and resigned from the position and Congress after admitted screwing a House Committee staff member behind his wife’s back and then divorced that wife and married his mistress.
I worked for Gingrich in 1992 and 93. Did I contribute to his con of America? Sadly, yes.
It should have been a warning sign that when the first Republican Congressman to follow Gingrich as Speaker removed himself from consideration after his own dalliances with sweet young things came to light.
Then the job fell to Illinois Congressman Dennis Hastert, whose tenure ended when Democrats recaptured the House for a while and he now is headed for prison after a past of sexually-abusing young boys while coaching high-school wrestling before becoming a Congressman.
With such “legacies” by power-mad politicians, should anyone be surprised that their latest choice of the morally-bankrupt GOP for President is Donald Trump, a flamboyant, thrice-married misogynist, womanizer and con-artist.
Those of us who worked in Washington political circles, serving those who put their own interests above the people they claimed to serve, happened.
And so did those who bought into the cons and voted to put these sharpies, liars and criminals into office.
I spent more than a decade working as a political operative. I cut corners for a living, lied as often needed to succeed and win and skirted the law as often as possible because the law is an impediment to political operation and government in Washington.
Without experience or training, I ran political campaigns, managed a large political operation for the largest trade association in America, directed what was then the largest political action committee in the world and any means necessary to assure wins for candidates, legislation and issues.
I walked away from it an alcoholic and a man whose blurred views of what was right and wrong required years of recovery, therapy and self-examination.
In June, just over a month from now, I will be in a room full of men and women who share an addiction to alcohol and/or other substances, and will say: “I’m Doug and I’m an alcoholic. It has been 22 years today since my last drink.”
A member of Alcoholics Anonymous will give me a new “chip” recognizing my 22 years of sobriety and I will start working on year 23 — one day at a time.
However, as campaign 2016 continues in this year of chaos, I must also accept, acknowledge and make amends for the role I have played in contributing to this madness.
I’m guilty as hell for being part of what American politics and government has become. At the American Campaign Academy in Roslyn, Virginia, just across the bridge from Georgetown in Washington, DC, I taught political wannabes to follow my sordid examples. I lectured about political tricks of the the trade as a speaker for the Washington Center for Politics and Journalism, appeared on news talk shows as a political “expert” and taught candidates how to avoid touch questions and lie in “spokesperson training” sessions.
I put together ad programs that misled and lied, created fake “grassroots” operations that were funded by companies with special interests and ignored the faults and failings of candidates that I helped put in office.
As a direct result of what those like me did and still do, Americans this year face a Presidential election where no one, not a single candidate, deserves support or a vote.
I’m sorry. I’m guilty and I deserve whatever punishment deserved for my crimes.