Washington Times Trolls Gutter for RNC Critics

Judging by recent Washington Times coverage, the Republican National Committee is a hotbed of dissension -- even after big GOP wins in Virginia, New Jersey, and most recently Massachusetts. But at the RNC winter meeting in Honolulu, in a series of key RNC ballots on party fundraising and candidate selection, there was not a single dissenting vote.

The centerpiece of the January 29 open session at the RNC winter meeting in Honolulu featured a speech by RNC Chairman Michael Steele touting a one-year GOP move “from looking at its navel to holding our head high.” Looking towards the November elections, Steele told committee members: “We will contest every seat from D to H -- from the first state, Delaware, to the 50th state, Hawaii. We will begin by taking the seat where [Obama] was born. And we will finish by taking his Senate seat in Illinois.”

In the face of RNC leaders’ optimism about Republican chances in November, the Washington Times has reached out to some odd sources in its search for evidence of Republican dissension. On January 29 as the RNC met, the Times’ coverage -- “Steele told he must win tea partiers’ trust” -- included this complaint from one Dale Robertson:

“I have called into the RNC many times, and they still haven’t called me back,” Dale Robertson, head of TeaParty.org, which he claims has upward of 7 million members, told the Times. “I’ve called them, lots of times. I called them this morning. I called them yesterday. It’s like they ignore you as they try to figure out a strategy on how to defeat you.”

Interestingly, the Times ran the exact same quote from Robertson on January 19 in an article titled “‘Tea party’ activists feel slighted by GOP.” Did Robertson call the RNC on the morning of the 19th or the morning of the 29th? Or is the quote being recycled because it helps make the meme?

Why are some so hot to go to press with even the shakiest evidence of trouble within the GOP? California GOP National Committeeman Shawn Steel explains in a January 14 Politico commentary that “[Michael] Steele fired much of the RNC’s dead wood” and points to “Republican D.C. vendors, anyone considered to be ‘professional’ in politics.” Writes Steel: “During the Bush go-go years, the RNC paid millions to carefully favored vendors. The howling you hear is the groans of those who no longer receive unearned no-bid contracts. They don’t like the new sheriff.”

The January 19 and 29 articles weren’t the first Washington Times mentions of Robertson. A January 6 article, “Tea party head warns GOP of Fla. repeat,” describes Robertson as “a founder of the tea party movement” -- a title better claimed by Rick Santelli. Unchallenged by the Times, Robertson bizarrely takes credit for a change of state party leadership by Florida Republicans and threatened repeat performances. He says, “We are turning our guns on anyone who doesn’t support constitutional conservative candidates.”

Contrary to claims he is “founder of the modern-day tea party,” tea party activists in Robertson’s Houston hometown say they had booted him out of their tea party rally on February 27, 2009, after he showed up with a sign comparing taxpayers to “niggar.” The liberal Washington Independent on January 4 -- joined by bloggers from the formerly conservative Little Green Footballs -- had a field day exposing Robertson after a commercial event of his popped up on Resistnet. The liberal site Drudge Retort on January 5, 2010, gleefully called Robertson the “teabaggers’ grand wizard.” The very next day the Washington Times began touting Robertson as a tea party leader -- with no reference to the photo controversy. Was the Times turned on to Robertson by the liberal blogs?