06/11/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

For McAuliffe, a Shot Across the Bow

Non-DC denizens may not have even heard of the DC Examiner, but, probably because it is free, it is omnipresent in and around the capital. It's also important to note that it draws upon many of the same models employed by Fox News to maintain its relevance: exploit white racial fears? Check. Owned by far-right religious conservative billionaire? Check. Mouthpiece for Republicans? Check. Corrupt business model? Got that one too... twice actually...

Anyway, I'm not blogging today because I want to bring attention to an also-ran rag that barely even merits mention as a bit part in the Republican noise machine... To me, if a tool like Anschutz wants to throw good money after bad into a money-pit in support of the all-but-irrelevant Republican Party... well, somebody needs to feed Byron York. If he's shameless enough to collect his wingnut welfare check, I won't begrudge the arrangement...


It isn't smart to completely ignore these marginal shills either. Often enough, these small-time players serve as a seed-bed... they test the waters, so-to-speak, and lay the groundwork for the big guns that are sure to come blazing in later.

And that's why I sat up and noticed this article:
"Official who gave 'troubling' testimony on McAuliffe now fundraising for him".

A former Democratic Party official who a decade ago described in a federal criminal trial an illicit fundraising swap he said Terry McAuliffe tried to arrange with the Teamsters Union is now raising money for McAuliffe's campaign.

Richard Sullivan, the Democratic National Committee's former finance director, was a witness in the 1999 trial of a top union official under Teamsters President Ron Carey, the result of a broader investigation into the funneling of union money into Carey's re-election campaign.

During the trial, Sullivan testified that McAuliffe -- then President Bill Clinton's head of fundraising -- repeatedly pushed a plan in which a Democratic donor would bankroll the union chief's struggling campaign in exchange for the promise of a much larger gift from the Teamsters to Democratic campaign committees.

I could be wrong, but it looks to me as if the slumbering beast that is the Republican slime machine is about to grind into gear. We've reached a critical point in the campaign: the opposition has settled on their target. They think McAuliffe will walk away with the Democratic Party's nomination for governor in Virginia.

I think they are wrong; I have confidence in Virginia's electorate. They'll refuse to be bought off by the money McAuliffe will dump into the race. Instead, they are going to take a long look at stories like this one and fit them into the larger context of McAuliffe's seedy career. They'll look at the Pinocchio Report... at The Real Terry McAuliffe... And some of the other reporting that's been done.

And then they are going to realize that McAuliffe is the very embodiment a Republican wet dream. Within minutes of McAuliffe (god-forbid) clinching the nomination, sleaze like Roger Stone and Karl Rove and Mary Matalin will be crawling through McAuliffe's long, long record of mixing business and politics in oftentimes seedy fashion.

The article in the Examiner? Child's play. Anything I've written? All part of the record for a long, long time... My critics are right about one thing: I've reported nothing "new."

But McAuliffe's history involves a lot of "across the aisle" business; he's worked with an awful lot of Republicans. We should assume that these people know things. And do you trust them to prioritize their personal loyalties to Terry McAuliffe above their loyalty to party? You don't think any of them will leak "off the record" to stenographer reporters?

Bob McDonnell and the Republicans are absolutely desperate. They need a win and badly. Giving them McAuliffe to toy with would be an abominable error by Virginia Democrats.