Friday, December 14, 2012

The Real Reason Behind Jesse Benton Hatching an Absurd Conspiracy Theory

Yesterday, I pointed out that Jesse Benton hatched a conspiracy that Mitch McConnell was diving in the polls because Public Policy Polling was fudging the numbers. This was absurd and I said so.

Jason Linkins has a solid theory as to what is behind Benton's off-the-wall conspiracytheory: MONEY. Linkin explains:
Here is an immutable law of politics: all fundraising letters need a villain. Another rule of politics is that all politicians need money. So, when the time comes to start passing the hat around your political constituency, you'd best be ready to conjure up a fierce enough bugaboo to get the folks back home to open their wallet and fork over some folding money.
It's nice when you can point to something your political opponent did that you can mount a substantive argument against on the merits. But failing that, you can always just revert to the paranoid style of American politics, and, you know ... tell people that the president is conspiring with Public Policy Polling to engineer your electoral defeat, with ... I don't know ... magic, or something? Ehh, don't worry about it, it does not have to make sense.
Raw Story's David Edwards reports on how campaign manager Jesse Benton has dreamed up this sinister White House-polling firm cabal for the purpose of preventing Sen. Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) reelection:
A poll released by the left-leaning firm on Tuesday indicated that only 37 percent of Kentucky voters approved of McConnell.
But in an email published by the Louisville Eccentric Observer on Thursday, McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton implied that Obama and other Democrats had conspired with PPP to fix the poll.
“Barack Obama and his allies told us what they were going to do,” Benton wrote. “They think if they can manufacture a difficult reelection for Senator McConnell back home in Kentucky then they can push our Leader around in Washington.”
Before we go any further, let's all delight in the fact that this email was first reported on by the Louisville Eccentric Observer. That's perfect. Well played, universe... 
[R]emember, this is from a fundraising email, and the whole point of a fundraising email is to rattle the cages of McConnell supporters in order to get them to give up some green, so to a certain extent, this isn't a particularly noteworthy missive from the office of Mitch McConnell. That doesn't mean there's not a cause for concern. The letter continues:
“The partisan PPP polling company, which has been used as a tool for Obama Democrats to manufacture circumstances that don’t exist all across the country, descended upon Kentucky to proclaim that Senator McConnell has a 37% approval rating. The poll is laughable. But, the liberal press is gobbling it right up.”
“What was really surprising was that even cooked books couldn’t produce a Democrat candidate who could beat Senator McConnell head to head."
That, to me, reads disturbingly like Benton is still on a "pre-11/6" footing, in which "math" and "numbers" are biased and need to be "unskewed." Again, it's possible that the optimal way to get McConnell fans in particular to part with their money is to hit 'em with these kinds of baroque ghost stories. But these stories of "cooked" polls and "manufactured circumstances" are the sweet lies that the GOP told themselves to death in 2012 ... the sort of things that I thought they might be ready to move beyond.
Maybe not! But, you know, whatever pays the bills.


  1. When I was getting similar "our villains are many and powerful" fund-raising letters from the Ron Paul campaign, was that also Benton's doing?

  2. Sounds about right, every ideology needs a boogeyman when times are tough. Expect unlike the boogeymen of liberals, neoconservatives and paleoconservatives the threats that libertarians warn against are real and are actual dangers to free people.

  3. I love the line that 'Barack Obama and his allies told us what they were going to do.' Is that like in the movies when the bad guys monologue the terrible things they are going to do to the good guys - but get stopped in the nick of time?