Just days after Rep. Ben Cardin won the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in Maryland, Wizbang Politics has found the secret blog of a female Cardin staffer who has quite a bit to say about race, gender, and creepy old Jewish guys. It's not quite Washingtonienne, but Cardin's mystery staffer, known as Persuasionatrix***, is dishing some anonymous dirt that's sure to leave a black eye on the campaign...
First, in a race where race is the great unspoken factor (Cardin's main primary opponent - Kweisi Mfume - and the Republican opponent - Lt. Gov. Michael Steele - are both black), it turns out that, in the eyes the of the Persuasionatrix, black staffers have an advantage - the "racism card."
It's an unfortunate situation when you're running an established, older, white candidate against a dynamic, younger African American. It's unfortunate, because the racism card hovers constantly, just waiting to be dealt.
It's unfortunate, because no matter how completely and utterly incompetant a person is, if he fits in the wrong demographic, you're stuck with him. It doesn't matter what his job history is, or that he may have been fired by every other campaign in the county's history, you can't let him go.
And when his supervisor, after explaining the same detail seventeen different times, becomes frustrated and less then pleasant, he has one recourse that is only available to him because of the color of his skin.
He plays the racism card, the magic passport to a different chain of command.
His supervisor has no such weapon in her arsenal, she has only the documentation of their interactions, and her own good standing within the organization. She has the respect of her supervisors, and their backing, but still nothing can be done.
Even desert has been spoiled by race, as our dedicated heroine hints at the ammusement Cardin staffers take in secretly eating Oreos.
Looming in the back of one of the campaign pantries is a large stack of Oreos. A much smaller stack of generic chocolate pastries sits forlornly beside it.
Periodically staffers will sureptitiously glance around and then sneak in for a treat. One or two certainly has a stash hidden in a desk drawer.
The subterfuge would be unnecessary, and snack time would be far less amusing, had an angry citizen not thrown the aforementioned delicious snack food at one of our opponents to comment on his lack of racial loyalty. He's not our opponent yet, not unless we win next Tuesday, but it would be bad to have the cookies lying around where anyone can seen them.
Before I leave, however, I need a picture of all of us holding the forbidden cookies with the caption: "Devouring the Competition."
The Persuasionatrix is not a big fan of Cardin's friends, as it turns out the candidate runs with some skeevy old men who like to grope the staffers...
Why am I a Sex Object for Old, Jewish Men?
I love my job. I love the people I work with. I like my candidate and I adore his wife. I do not, however, like some of my candidate's friends.
When my father was in medical school, there were a number people he knew whom I would shy away from and not talk to at all. This was strange, as most reports indicate I did not shut up for a good ten years after my first sentence (of course, sometimes I'd run out of the room screaming, which is not quite as unusual).
As I've grown older, and gotten to know these men who seemed so frightening to the toddler me, I find that they share a number of chracteristics. They are large men with strong, loud voices and Jewish noses. They are also overly friendly. Some of these men are now my friends, but some are just a little bit creepy to this day.
I'm certainly not one to shy away from physical contact, but when older men I don't know find it ok to squeeze my arm or my shoulder or shake my hand way too long, the toddler me comes out and wants to hide under the restaurant table or in the closet behind the coats.
Some of the guys who have been with my candidate for years are like that. They don't mean anything by it; it's just the way they are. I wish that made it less uncomfortable.
Uh, wait until Bill Clinton shows up to stump for Cardin...
Update: The Washington Times Politics Blog got a statement from a Cardin spokesman, who said the unknown blogger had been fired as soon as the blog was discovered.
"We became aware of this blog today," said Oren Shur, Mr. Cardin's spokesman. "We utterly condemn the sentiments expressed in it. It is not an accurate reflection of Ben Cardin or his campaign. The junior staffer responsible for the contents of this blog is no longer employed by the campaign." Despite the fact that my request for comment was the one that alerted the Cardin camp to the blog, they've refused to respond to my repeated requests for a comment...
*** After the Cardin campaign announcement, the first two posts highlighted above were removed from the original Persuasionatrix site. The links in the story have been changed to the locally cached version we saved in anticipation of such an action.
Update 2:: According to the latest FEC filing, there was a Ursula Gruber from Chicago paid a salary of $782.46 on Aug. 15, The "Persuasionatrix" posted about moving from Chicago to Maryland on August 4. Gruber filed an expense report from the supplies store Staples, for $67.82, on Aug. 18. The "Persuasionatrix" posted about visiting Staples on Aug. 4. Given that no one else matches those details, it's pretty safe to assume that your Persuasionatrix, or rather your ex-Persuasionatrix, is Ursula Gruber.
Update 3:: The Cardin camp is attempting to spin the situation as the work of "a junior staffer." As we show in our follow-up to the story, that's not the case.
Update 4:: Jessica Cutler, aka The Washingtonienne, weighs in on Gruber's blog folly.