Political Animal


February 14, 2013 11:15 AM Mismanagement and Hubris

By Ed Kilgore

There’s not a whole lot to add to David Corn’s reporting on the growing revelations that the famous Tea Party organization FreedomWorks was in its absolute heyday run like a rogue fraternity house.

An internal investigation of FreedomWorks—the prominent conservative advocacy group and super-PAC—has focused on president Matt Kibbe’s management of the organization, his use of its resources, and a controversial book deal he signed, according to former FreedomWorks officials who have met with the private lawyers conducting the probe. One potential topic for the inquiry is a promotional video produced last year under the supervision of Adam Brandon, executive vice president of the group and a Kibbe loyalist. The video included a scene in which a female intern wearing a panda suit simulates performing oral sex on Hillary Clinton. [Author’s note: The previous sentence contains no typos.]

Now for all I know obscene Hillary Clinton videos are exactly what FreedomWorks donors wanted their money to pay for. And some may be perfectly happy at the group’s eight million dollar severance contract for former FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey. Why shouldn’t ol’ Dick be able to retire in splendor after his many services to good conservative folk who just want to keep their Medicare benefits and stop those people at the city limits?

But you do have to wonder what other strange incidents will come out with respect to an organization so loosely run that it’s dealing with multiple investigations despite a relatively brief existence. The conclusion of Corn’s piece is ominous:

The ongoing internal investigation, one former staffer notes, could end badly for FreedomWorks, which for years has been a powerhouse organization of the right. “I think the whole thing will implode,” this person says, “and it will be destroyed out of mismanagement and hubris.”

Wait: aren’t “mismanagement and hubris” the twin perils of letting liberals run anything? I smell an infiltrator.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Milt on February 14, 2013 11:26 AM:

    Ever since the right wing came down with a severe case of greed sometime during the 1980s, they have been moving toward cannibalism. The hackneyed phrase "survival of the fittest" has morphed into "only the strongest survive". Well, this is the natural conclusion to such behavior. Reread "Lord of the Flies".

  • c u n d gulag on February 14, 2013 11:29 AM:

    Conservatives are some seriously and deeply unfunny people who have major issues with sex.

    Hint to Conservatives:

  • Bokonon on February 14, 2013 11:33 AM:

    Out of control frat house atmosphere gets them in trouble? Time for a Bluto moment!

    Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!

  • Mimikatz on February 14, 2013 11:50 AM:

    Milt is right. Even Ann Coulter once said that the Dems were much better at controlling the grifters in their midst. The basic problem is the GOP ideology that glorifies individual wealth. Ideology becomes simply a means for entrepreneurs to enrich themselves at the expense of their followers. Obama was really a gift to the grifter class. Only a hysterical barrage against the Kenyan Marxist Nazi with its fundamentally racist appeal could keep people from seeing through the charade for 8 more years after GW Bush. Maybe Hillary is enough of a lightening rod to keep it going, but in 2016 a large portion of the electorate (18-32 year-olds) will probably have memories of Bill Clinton only as an elder statesman, and "Vince Foster" will have no resonance at all.

  • boatboy_srq on February 14, 2013 12:00 PM:

    This is straight out stories about the fraternities at my (white-bread, Southern-Baptist-supported, religiously-focused, pre-Teahadist) university.

    What is it about the Conservatist mindset that attracts immature, irresponsible, self-centred white boys "out for a good time and to hell with the consequences"?

    Oh, right.

  • davidp on February 14, 2013 12:02 PM:

    Classic American story of crookedness and fanaticism. Where's the new Sinclair Lewis to write the novel?

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on February 14, 2013 12:08 PM:

    The video included a scene in which a female intern wearing a panda suit simulates performing oral sex on Hillary Clinton.

    Wow... That one really just effed up my vibe for today. Really. I can't even read beyond that sentence. Is there anything more to say after that sentence. I think everything I need to know about FreedomWorks was in that one sentence.

    Welp... Gonna go poor acid in my ears now.

  • Lee Gibson on February 14, 2013 12:21 PM:

    The frat house ethos permeates a great deal of ocnservative behavior and not just in organizations like this, either.

  • ceilidth on February 14, 2013 12:34 PM:

    This is the face of the modern American republican party? Here's a hint: when your constituency marches around in revolutionary war gear and sends out mass facebook postings and emails to its friends featuring Obama as the anti Christ with a bone in his nose, it's best not to use them as advertisements for the seriousness of your party's analysis of the problems facing a country in the 21st century.

  • jjm on February 14, 2013 2:15 PM:

    Hasn't this always been about the C- student frat boys against the guys who got A's and wouldn't join the frats?

    Everything the GOP appears to hold dear, including its terrible attitudes towards women and minorities, is completely consistent with this.