The PJ Tatler

Mark Block Sticks By His Smears

Stacy McCain snagged an interesting interview with Cain campaign manager Mark Block. Who is a very lucky man.

RSM: Well, you know, I defended the ‘Blame Perry’ move as strategic genius. And whether or not it was intentional or not, you know, even your mistakes help you.
BLOCK: No, no — I will not back off of the Perry thing, Stacy. I will say that I was wrong on the kid that worked for Politico, because we didn’t have our facts straight. I’m not backing off on the Perry thing. I backed off on the guy [consultant Curt Anderson], because he came out and said that it wasn’t him. But I’m still not backing off that the pot wasn’t stirred by the Perry folks.

RSM: Well, between you and me and the fencepost [discussion involving confidential sources, redacted] and we’ll never know where this shit came from, except that my hunch from the get-go was Perry. But if it was the Obama people, so what? If it was Romney, so what? You know, that doesn’t matter, really.
BLOCK: Yeah, you know what? It’ll probably be like Deep Throat. We probably won’t know for 25 years where the whole Politico thing came from.

So, basically, the Cain campaign’s manager is proud to have raised a ton of money by smearing two innocent people who had nothing to do with the evident smear of their candidate. Fighting fire with fire is one thing, but this is something else. And one of those innocent people, Curt Anderson, is a fellow Republican who once worked for Cain. No remorse at all about smearing him. Let’s spell out if Anderson had actually done what Block and Cain accused him of doing — betraying a professional trust from a previous campaign. Anderson would never work for a major candidate again. No one would trust him. That smear threatened Anderson’s credibility and his career. It has ended up making Cain’s campaign look foolish, but lucky.

Here’s why I say Block is a lucky man. First, his candidate is evidently made of titanium-reinforced teflon and has the gift of exquisite timing. Cain’s bad gaffe in the Caingrich debate was quickly overshadowed by Perry’s less revealing but more painful gaffe this week. Around the same time the Politico story blew up, Block got hit with a story about campaign finance violations involving using money from a separate group to fund the Cain campaign. That’s illegal. For all the obvious reasons, the Politico story has dominated, but as far as I can tell the Block campaign finance story is still hanging around out there unanswered. Block managed to get himself banned from politics for three years in Wisconsin. Everyone knows politics comes with a thick layer of slime, but just what does it take to get oneself banned from the sport for three years? Well…

Block has been accused of voter suppression and was banned from running Wisconsin political campaigns for three years to settle accusations he coordinated a judge’s re-election campaign with a special interest group.

That last part sounds an awful lot like what he’s accused of doing on the Cain campaign. Campaign finance law is overly complex in my opinion, and in some ways designed to do nothing but keep lawyers employed. But once you’re caught in a violation, and get banned for it, most folks would tend to avoid doing the same thing again if for no other reason than to keep themselves out of legal jeopardy.

What we seem to have here is a campaign manager who makes colossal mistakes that hurt his campaign’s credibility and may cross into illegality, he fails to learn anything from them, but he works for a CEO who won’t fire him for any of it. Don’t we already have a president who does that sort of thing?