Rachel Maddow On How 6 Conservative Scammers Turn ‘Ignorance & Impotent Rage’ Into Riches (VIDEO)

Author: December 11, 2012 1:58 pm


Rachel Maddow

As the GOP falls apart after an election that definitively proves that reality truly does have a liberal bias, it refuses to die or reform gracefully. Instead, the Republican Party lurches desperately about like a bewildered, angry beast with no head (due to lack of an obvious leader) and no heart (because, they never really had one). During last night’s riveting episode, Rachel Maddow shed light on a potential source of the conservative pundit circle’s refusal to admit defeat: Sheer venality. After all — as Maddow so aptly explains in the dramatic, twisting cadences of a pot-boiler detective novel — Republican consultants and pundits have created a unique alchemy by taking people’s ignorance and impotent rage, and transforming it into political and financial gold.

Maddow gives a blow-by-blow account of scamming by GOP luminaries Karl Rove, Dick Morris, Dick Armey, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum to expose what these ultra-conservatives really have in common.

Screen shots of Karl Rove and Dick Morris

Karl Rove and Dick Morris

Anyone who’s wondered why FOX News’ political analysts Karl Rove and Dick Morris refused to concede the election long after almost everyone else — including their own network — had called the election for Obama should consider what Rove and Morris had at stake. But what else should we expect from “the two political analysts most closely associated with not just wanting Mitt Romney to win the presidential election, but saying Mitt Romney would win the presidential election?” Romney couldn’t possibly have lost Ohio when Rove “had spent $390 million raised from conservative zillionaires to make sure that never happened.” Maddow lambastes Fox News for hiring Rove and Morris as correspondents during the 2012 election cycle, due to their strong ties with the Romney campaign. And after insisting that his man would not only win, but win in a landslide, how could Morris back down without losing face? Oh, wait, he did lose face.

Even Faux News had to “bench” these two. But that won’t stop them from hustling dollars through the SuperPacs they’ve created for themselves. A close review of Morris’ Federal Election Commission filings and his Website reveal that Morris employs a particularly ingenious form of money-laundering, with which he (1) gets people to pay for access to his email list; (2) pays a service to manage his email list; and (3) has the service pay him for access to his emailing list. So basically — according to Maddow — “donations to Dick Morris’s SuperPac substantially end up just going to Dick Morris, which he presumably uses to send more e-mails to get more money, which goes to Dick Morris.”

What sort of people subscribe to Morris’ email list, Maddow leaves to her viewers’ imaginations. “Maybe it doesn’t always work like this. Maybe it’s not always a scam,” but, Maddow adds, it’s a “scammy looking arrangement”

GOP SCAM ROUND-UP: Karl Rove | Dick Morris | Dick Armey | Newt Gingrich | Mike Huckabee | Rick Santorum | See Video | Back To Top


Dick Armey

Dick Armey got $8 million to resign from Tea Party-affiliated FreedomWorks. “Nice work if you can get it,” comments Maddow.

Dick Armey and FreedomWorks

Maddow goes on to explore Dick Armey’s bizarre resignation as Chairman of FreedomWorks — which, according to an article by Addicting Info‘s Stephen D. Foster Jr., “helped to create the Tea Party, [works] closely with the Koch brothers, seeks to deregulate and tear down healthcare reform, and is largely responsible for [the] hatred, paranoia and anti-government sentiments displayed at town halls during the health care debate.” According to Rachel Weiner from The Washington Post, Armey received $8 million (in $400,000 installments) — and assurance that “Henceforth FreedomWorks shall be prohibited from using my name, image, or signature in any way or for any purpose without my written permission or in the event of my death, without my heirs written permission” — for leaving.

As Maddow succinctly puts it, Armey’s $8 million golden parachute “did not seem very grassrootsy at all for a supposedly grassroots group.” And the plot sickens thickens … Politico‘s Kenneth B. Vogel reported last week that tensions between Armey and FreedomWorks’ president Matt Kibbe caused the split, “when Armey balked at a deal that Kibbe struck with HarperCollins to write a book called Hostile Takeover: Resisting Centralized Government’s Stranglehold on America. which was released in June.” Apparently, Kibbe made, um, ‘liberal’ use of FreedomWorks’ staff and resources while writing the book, but hasn’t shared any of his earnings with the organization.

According to David Korn’s piece for Mother Jones — which originally broke the news — Armey stated, “This kind of secrecy is why I left.” As opposed to the other kinds of secrecy practiced by an organization renowned for lack of transparency, that didn’t make him leave?

Maddow concludes that, “Anybody donating to FreedomWorks was effectively paying for the staff time and the resources to produce a project that just personally profited one of the people who work there. [That's] a scam.”

GOP SCAM ROUND-UP: Karl Rove | Dick Morris | Dick Armey | Newt Gingrich | Mike Huckabee | Rick Santorum | See Video | Back To Top

Wouldn’t this souvenir Speaker Gingrich gavel and prestigious certificate look great in your office?

Newt Gingrich

Maddow then pays homage to the mother of unlovable rogues by reminding viewers of Newt Gingrich’s direct mail (actually, direct fax) scam — as reported in 2010 by Sam Stein from The Huffington Post — in which he sent faxes (remember those?) to 100 doctors informing them that they had won a “2010 Champions of Medicine” award, but would need to pay $5,000 to attend the party at which they would collect their “prestigious award.”

Maddow snarks:

“It’s like the Newt Gingrich direct mail scam, right, where Newt Gingrich would give businesses fake awards, where what you won was the opportunity to give $5,000 to Newt Gingrich to meet him? Also, you would get a souvenir gavel. Congratulations to you. where is your check for me?”

GOP SCAM ROUND-UP: Karl Rove | Dick Morris | Dick Armey | Newt Gingrich | Mike Huckabee | Rick Santorum | See Video | Back To Top

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee exhorts fans to give him money to repeal Obamacare — or, more accurately, to fund his going on TV to ask more fans to give him money to repeal Obamacare. But “Huckster” is not a root word for Huckabee’s last name: Maddow checked.

In case you were wondering what becomes of failed primary candidates, Maddow’s glorious evisceration of former GOP Presidential Primary Candidate Mike Huckabee’s activities provides some clues:

“[Rove's, Morris', Armey's, and Kibbe's rackets are] also like that scammy campaign where Mike Huckabee was appearing in the Repeal Obamacare Now ads … You go to their website, and what do you see? It’s now or never, and [there's] a giant button at the bottom of the screen that you can click to help fund the battle. [...] You donate $2500 to join the ‘Chairman’s Circle,’ which is also — I’m not making this up — called the Huckabee Special. And that will — in their own words — Help keep Mike Huckabee on TV to repeal Obamacare. Will having Mike Huckabee on TV repeal Obamacare? I’m checking with the constitution, but I don’t think so. But Mike Huckabee would please like to stay on TV, if for no other reason than to keep asking for more of your money to help him stay on TV asking for more money.”

GOP SCAM ROUND-UP: Karl Rove | Dick Morris | Dick Armey | Newt Gingrich | Mike Huckabee | Rick Santorum | See Video | Back To Top

Rick Santorum joins commentary team at WND (World News Daily)

Or you can write for a paranoid, right wing publication

And finally, we get to Rick Santorum, who has recently joined the fourth estate. His new occupation as a journalist for the sensationalist, fact-challenged, and often unintentionally hilarious World News Daily seems honest, if a tad dubious. Why would this rising political star of the Right muddy his hands in the slimes of yellow journalism when he could more profitably tarnish his reputation by launching scams like his colleagues? Perhaps, because — as The Baffler‘s Rick Perlstein suggests — the ridiculous and overwrought content of WND is, in itself, a scam to turn their readers’ “ignorance and impotent rage” into riches.

Maddow explains:

“World News Daily and Dick Morris’s pals at NewsMax are essentially operating systems designed to feed the contact information for gullible and overexcited conservatives to people who can part them with their money. If you have been watching this over time is one of the amazing things about it is how persistent it is. It just doesn’t go away. If you have any conservative sort of name for yourself, the odds are pretty good you’re going to end up in some sort of scam designed to part gullible conservatives from their wallets.”

GOP SCAM ROUND-UP: Karl Rove | Dick Morris | Dick Armey | Newt Gingrich | Mike Huckabee | Rick Santorum | See Video | Back To Top

Here’s the video:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

GOP SCAM ROUND-UP: Karl Rove | Dick Morris | Dick Armey | Newt Gingrich | Mike Huckabee | Rick Santorum | See Video | Back To Top

Elisabeth Parker is a writer, Web designer, mom, political junkie, and dilettante. Come visit her at ElisabethParker.Com, friend her on facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

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1 Comment

  • This has always been one of my favorite AI articles; I never get tired of watching the video. And heads-up, Maddow did another segment on this same topic on the first part of her show today 9-18.

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