Monday, June 13, 2005

Karl's Heir Apparent...

This Slate profile of Dick Wadhams, who's being hailed as the next Republican Kingmaker, is a fascinating look at the political dark arts. Two of the points it makes are particularly salient.

First, the article discusses how Wadhams bankrolled two bloggers who were exposing pro-Daschle bias among the media during the tight 2004 campaign for his senate seat. Daschle lost to his Republican challenger Thume, and I'm sure that this sort of media manipulation helped:

"Another way to control a campaign is to shape its news coverage, and Wadhams found a new way to do that for the Thune campaign. South Dakota Republicans had long accused the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, the state's most influential paper, of being pro-Daschle. When two bloggers, Jason Van Beek and Jon Lauck, began cataloguing alleged acts of bias like lack of criticism of Linda Daschle's lobbying practice, Wadhams hired them as campaign researchers. Wadhams insists he wasn't underwriting the bloggers' online enterprises. But Van Beek and Lauck didn't disclose that the Thune campaign was cutting them checks. And they succeeded in aiding Thune: The assistant managing editor of the Argus Leader admitted that the paper's coverage had been affected by the online criticism, implicitly acknowledging that it was tougher on Daschle in the Thune race than it had been in the past."

Secondly, the article highlights Sen. George Allen (R-VA) as the potential Republican frontrunner in 2008. His name has been bandied about by the punditocracy, and his employment of Wadhams indicates that some within the party support his increasing prominance.

"The South Dakota race established Wadhams as a giant-slayer, giving him his pick of future clients. In January, he signed on with Sen. George Allen, a Virginia Republican whose staunch conservatism is leavened by his good ol' boy manners. Outside his home state, Allen is a relative unknown, but he's generating plenty of interest among party apparatchiks. In an April poll in the National Journal, pollsters, consultants, and media pundits picked Allen as the No. 1 choice to head the 2008 GOP ticket. "

And as for the next generation of Roves, Heritage Foundation Summer Camp is here to do the training, according to this NYT article, Next Generation of Conservatives (by the Dormful).

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