Terry Nelson and the Republican 'Scared Straight'

In the Washington Post article that Singer linked to yesterday on how the NRCC is going to go all negative this cycle, I noticed something interesting.  

The Republican National Committee, meanwhile, has enlisted veteran party strategist Terry Nelson to run a campaign that will coordinate with Senate Republicans on ads that similarly will rely on the best of the worst that researchers have dug up on Democrats.

There's a network of right-wing operatives that link key pieces of the Republican Party, and it seems like Nelson's name is popping up everywhere.  In addition to running the NRCC's oppo shop, he's a key advisor to John McCain and was the political director for Bush-Cheney 04.  

I'm going to walk you through the recent career path of Terry Nelson, so you get a sense of the modern Republican Party and what's in store for Democrats this cycle.

First of all, I imagine that Nelson's purview at the NRCC is strictly restricted to opposition research, and will not encompass any dirty tricks at all, because that would be wrong.  Nelson learned it was wrong the hard way.  In 2002, he was deputy Chief of Staff at the RNC, where he became wrapped up in Tom Delay's TRMPAC money laundering scandal as a key point of contact between the RNC and Delay's Texas PAC.  He also testified in the trial of convicted GOP operative James Tobin for illegal phone jamming in New Hampshire, because he was Tobin's supervisor when Tobin illegally spammed Democratic phone banks on election day.  

With a series of ethical trangressions like this, the Republicans had no choice but to reprimand Terry Nelson aggressively.

As punishment for his lack of ethics and embrace of mostly illegal areas in politics, Nelson was promoted to Bush-Cheney political director in 2004.  Of course, that's not nearly enough penance, so Nelson was also forced to become a key advisor to John McCain's Presidential campaign.  Nelson was also nearly forced by the astroturf front group USA Next to work on Social Security privatization, but had to turn it down because he had already committed to working with a different pro-privatization group, COMPASS.  

Nelson has learned his lesson, he's going to stick to opposition research for the RNCC.  We won't see push polls, phone-jamming, or money laundering this cycle from the right-wing.  The Republican Party just won't tolerate  it.  In today's GOP, if you do the wrong thing, you will be forced to amass much more wealth and power than you ever dreamed, and sit in the key power circles of Tom Delay, Karl Rove, George Bush, and John McCain.  That's just how personal responsibility works, my friends.

Tags: NRCC, Terry Nelson (all tags)



Re: Terry Nelson and the Republican 'Scared Straig

Well done. Here's how the Dems make an issue of Nelson.

Every single Republican candidate should be asked if he or she is willing to accept the support of a "prominent republican political operative" who has already been involved in felonious disruption of elections and who has promised to use negative campaigning on behalf of all Republican candidates. Do you think its right that the Republican party has hired a man involved in felonious disruption of elections? Will you disavow his support? etc.

The point I'm making -- we err if we think the Republicans are simply willing to use negative attacks and tactics. What they are so much better at is turning irrelevant factoids to which there is no possible response into key issues in campaigns. My point is that Democrats should make republicans hiring of a guy who has been involved in criminal disruption of elections something that republican candidates have to defend.

by desmoulins 2006-09-10 03:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Terry Nelson and the Republican 'Scared Straig

Good point, on how to fight back.  It's the sort of thing that State Sen. Welch, the Dem nominee for the open House seat in my home state of VT, has been doing to the empty Republican suit he's running against.  Every time another huge wad of cash comes in from the NRCC or some such, he challenges her to explain how she really isn't their tool, which she is desperate not to appear as.  (The national Republican brand is not real popular up here at the moment.)

Oh, and Matt, this post was really well written.

by bruorton 2006-09-11 05:02AM | 0 recs
Terry Nelson, Grandson of the first ratfu*kers

What another spectacle this is going to be.  However, in August 2004, they already had the Swift Boats Vets for Propaganda out against Kerry, and here it is mid-September already.  True, this is only the midterms and I'm sure mid-late October will be needlessly slanderous.  Fascinating post Matt.  Thanks

by Aurona 2006-09-10 03:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Terry Nelson

What you guys have to realize is that this is the Republican's throwing a Hail Mary. If this doesn't work (or possibly backfire) then say good-bye to the Republican majority.

They've tried the whole terrorism/Iraq link. Didn't work.

They've tried the whole bring Bush out twenty times a day. Didn't work.

They've tried scaring people away from the Democrats as a bunch of crazy left-wingers. Didn't work.

This is it. This is all they have left. They're all but admitting it. If this fails, and/or backfires then the Republicans are finished.

We need a Rapid Response team. We need to speak with one voice. If we do this, we'll be okay. We can always segue their attacks with attacks of our own on the Republicans "Culture of Corruption."

by JackBourassa 2006-09-10 04:25PM | 0 recs

Sorry, consider this an open thread since you can't respond to the Breaking Blue.  I followed the link to the WSJ polls and by adding in MT myself, this is the map you are left with.  This also doesn't have RI in blue : )

This is a lot of blue.

by Robert P 2006-09-10 05:37PM | 0 recs

Sorry, consider this an open thread since you can't respond to the Breaking Blue.  I followed the link to the WSJ polls and by adding in MT myself, this is the map you are left with.  This also doesn't have RI in blue : )

This is a lot of blue.

by Robert P 2006-09-10 05:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Offtopic.

Harold Ford Jr deserves our help, I believe. His ads emphasize goals that he wants to realize. As a voter, I'm favorably impressed when a candidate presents his/her stand on their issues.

by Books Alive 2006-09-11 05:15AM | 0 recs
by manie 2007-04-09 04:50AM | 0 recs


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