Cockburn was weighing his post-Thanksgiving options this past weekend: the fifth leftover sandwich of the day or the rest of the pricey claret that his hedgie brother had brought to lunch (a rare act of generosity from the spoiled brat). Just as he had settled on the correct answer to this conundrum (both), his appetite was quickly satisfied by a particularly juicy morsel buried the pages of Politico.
Christopher Cadelago and Meridith McGraw report that after his 2020 victory, Joe Biden called Lincoln Project co-founder Steve Schmidt to “say thank you for the group’s work helping him get elected.”
It is a telling tidbit, and one that confirms the Lincoln Project’s journey from disgruntled ex-Republicans spoiling for fights with Donald Trump and his supporters on Twitter to paid-up lackeys of the Democratic establishment.
The Schmidt call is in keeping with this administration’s distorted view of what a conservative is in America today. Ron Klain can’t stop tweeting out Jennifer Rubin’s Washington Post columns, for example. Much of this outlook is inherited from CNN and MSNBC, where anyone to the right of Mitt Romney is beyond the pale.
Cockburn reached out to a Republican strategist, who he knows is a closer observer of the Lincoln Project’s increasingly shameless hustle, to ask what he made of Biden’s thank you call to one of the LP lads.
“If it was evening, Biden probably thought he was congratulating a local dealership on the new Continental models,” he said. “But assuming he had his wits about him, can we really be surprised that Hunter’s dad feels a certain kinship with a bunch of freaks, addicts, perverts, enablers and embezzlers?”
If you’re one of the lucky few not familiar with the Lincoln Project’s work, Cockburn apologizes for busting your bubble of blissful ignorance. This insalubrious bunch made a name for themselves thanks almost entirely to endless appearances on Morning Joe. They soon became the go-to “Republican” talking heads for progressive outlets keen to get a right-winger to complain about the latest Trump outrage.
The Lincoln Project crew were riding high for a while, but things started to go wrong when it emerged that one of the group’s main figures, John Weaver, had been propositioning young men online, often while suggesting he could help them find work in politics.
The Trump presidency might be over, but at least some of the Lincoln Project leaders still have mortgages to pay. And so they are now reduced to doing whatever it takes to stay in the limelight and keep the donations rolling in from cable news-addled Boomer Democrats convinced that sending Steve Schmidt $15 will save American democracy.
That shameless grift reached a new low recently when, on the eve of the Virginia gubernatorial race, the Lincoln Project organized an absurd, offensive and predictably self-defeating stunt in which a group of Democratic operatives dressed as tiki-torch-carrying white supremacists and posed for photographs in front of Glenn Youngkin’s campaign bus. Cockburn doubts Schmidt’s phone was ringing with congratulatory calls after that balls-up. (Even Schmidt called his own organization’s stunt “recklessly stupid.”)
Cockburn respects a Washington hustle as much as the next overextended DC cocktail party attendee. But the Lincoln Project long ago became too shameless even for him.
To quote another self-aggrandizing republican scoundrel, Oliver Cromwell: “You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.”