Jane Mayer, one of America's finest reporters, has gotten herself a scoop. Specifically, she got audio of a conference call in which some super dark money garbage beasts are freaking out because this whole "For The People" Act thing the Democrats are trying to push? It's popular. And they don't know how to message against it! Part of the bill the Democrats want to pass through the Senate, HR1/S1, bans dark money! And they are dark money!

AIYEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Mayer's piece in the New Yorker begins with reporting what says that when they're not in public, Republicans are singing a very different tune on HR1/S1 than they're screaming on Fox News:

They admit the lesser-known provisions in the bill that limit secret campaign spending are overwhelmingly popular across the political spectrum. In private, they concede their own polling shows that no message they can devise effectively counters the argument that billionaires should be prevented from buying elections.

The American people think billionaires should not be able to buy elections? Where did it all go wroooooooooong?


Here's what happened with the conference call, which happened just after the Capitol insurrection, and just after the Georgia special election that gave Democrats control of the whole kit and kaboodle:

The conference call with the leaked audio happened, Mayer explains, on January 8, and the participants were "a policy adviser to Senator Mitch McConnell and the leaders of several prominent conservative groups—including one run by the Koch brothers' network."

And they were just freaking out. It's not just dirty stinky liberals who do the cha cha while Young Nasty X pole-dances his way to the devil who want to ban billionaires buying elections. It's also conservatives!

It wasn't even worth it to try to fight against the bill on an ideas level, they were discovering. They just had to do underhanded dark money Koch-brothers-type thing and get the bill murdered. Luckily, they were literally the underhanded dark money Koch brothers type of people!

Kyle McKenzie, the research director for the Koch-run advocacy group Stand Together, told fellow-conservatives and Republican congressional staffers on the call that he had a "spoiler." "When presented with a very neutral description" of the bill, "people were generally supportive," McKenzie said, adding that "the most worrisome part . . . is that conservatives were actually as supportive as the general public was when they read the neutral description." In fact, he warned, "there's a large, very large, chunk of conservatives who are supportive of these types of efforts."

In other words, when they didn't lie to people about what was in the bill, people liked the bill. And worst of all, conservatives loved it AS MUCH as the stinky liberals!

Read how gloomy this is, y'all:

As a result, McKenzie conceded, the legislation's opponents would likely have to rely on Republicans in the Senate, where the bill is now under debate, to use "under-the-dome-type strategies"—meaning legislative maneuvers beneath Congress's roof, such as the filibuster—to stop the bill, because turning public opinion against it would be "incredibly difficult." He warned that the worst thing conservatives could do would be to try to "engage with the other side" on the argument that the legislation "stops billionaires from buying elections." McKenzie admitted, "Unfortunately, we've found that that is a winning message, for both the general public and also conservatives."

It's almost like when you have good legislation and a good message, people actually like it. That is not the world the Koch Brothers and other GOP donors have been paying for these past many decades! This rigged system is broken!

He said that when his group tested "tons of other" arguments in support of the bill, the one condemning billionaires buying elections was the most persuasive—people "found that to be most convincing, and it riled them up the most."

When they asked people, hey, you want some fucking dicks just buying politicians and elections? Because that's what this bill bans. Again, it's called the "For The People Act," and not the "For Some Fucking Dicks Act." Folks were down with that!

(You hear that, Joe Manchin? Folks were down with that.)

(It shouldn't be surprising that Mayer reports these dark money rightwing assholes are all the way up Manchin's ass right now, trying to get him to oppose HR1/S1.)

They tried a message that said Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sucks. Didn't work too great. They tried saying both sides do it, arguing that even Planned Parenthood and the ACLU hate this bill, because it's bad. (Mayer notes that Planned Parenthood does not actually hate this bill, and the ACLU likes most of it, but has some concerns about some of the donor disclosure provisions.)

They even tried a message that said "cancel culture." Seriously. In trying to get voters mad at a bill banning dark money billionaires buying elections, they tried a message that said "cancel culture," and it didn't work.

"Sadly," he added, not even attaching the phrase "cancel culture" to the bill, by portraying it as silencing conservative voices, had worked. "It really ranked at the bottom," McKenzie said to the group. "That was definitely a little concerning for us."

This is the funniest Jane Mayer article we have ever read, and she is known for some knee-slappers!

Mayer reports the conference call was put together by a consortium of state-level wingnut think tanks called the State Policy Network. Other participants included Heather Lauer, head of People United For Privacy (for dark money donors) and fucking Grover Norquist, who just sounded like he was crying tears so big you couldn't even drown them in the bathtub:

"The left is not stupid, they're evil," he warned. "They know what they're doing. They have correctly decided that this is the way to disable the freedom movement."

OK, Grover.

Also on the call were Caleb Hays, a lawyer for the House Republicans, and Steve Donaldson, a policy guy on Mitch McConnell's staff who also sounds like he was pretty freaked out.

But don't worry, they say they'll never quit, never back down from the yeoman's work of protecting billionaires' sacred and God-given right to buy elections and use them as play-toys for their personal whims.

"When it comes to donor privacy, I can't stress enough how quickly things could get out of hand," Donaldson said, indicating McConnell's concern about the effects that disclosure requirements would have on fund-raising. Donaldson added, "We have to hold our people together," and predicted that the fight is "going to be a long one. It's going to be a messy one." But he insisted that McConnell was "not going to back down."

How inspiring.

More leaked audio of rightwing assholes saying the quiet part loud, please!

And for this leaked audio, hit that New Yorker link just below.

[New Yorker]

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Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the managing editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

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