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Those protectionist Villagers are at it again, inviting one of their cocktail partners to opine on a top-rated national program, who deserves no such recognition. And shame on David Gregory and Executive Producer Betsy Fischer Martin for promoting it by inviting Ralph Reed to insult the President of the United States' honesty in his undisclosed role as proxy for the Mitt Romney campaign.
What qualifies Ralph Reed to talk about President Obama's honesty? Even last year, Steve Benen argued that any association with Reed should be toxic:
Indeed, let’s take a stroll down memory lane. Remember this one, from June 2006?
Yet another delightful characterization of Ralph Reed, courtesy of today’s McCain report on the Abramoff scandal. This one comes courtesy of Jack Abramoff himself, via his discussion with Marc Schwartz, a public relations representative for the Tigua tribe in Texas.
Let’s pick up the report on page 148. Schwartz was evaluating whether the tribe should hire Abramoff as its lobbyist: To Schwartz, Abramoff appeared to have the right credentials. Abramoff claimed to be a close friend of Congressman Tom DeLay. He also discussed his friendship with Reed, recounting some of their history together at College Republicans. When Schwartz observed that Reed was an ideologue, Schwartz recalled that Abramoff laughingly replied “as far as the cash goes.”
Or, how about this one?
Ralph Reed, email to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, 1998: “Hey, now that I’m done with the electoral politics, I need to start humping in corporate accounts! I’m counting on you to help me with some contacts.”
E-mails and testimony before McCain’s panel showed that Reed, who once branded gambling a “cancer” on society, reaped millions of dollars in tribal casino proceeds that Abramoff secretly routed to him through various non-profit front groups. Abramoff, a lobbyist for the tribes, paid Reed to whip up “grassroots” Christian opposition to prevent rival tribes from opening casinos.
By any reasonable measure, Republicans should avoid taking this guy’s phone calls. As Dave Weigel noted last fall, “Reed was supposed to be dead, dead, dead. His 2006 defeat was covered as the effective end of a 45-year-old political strategist who was forever tainted by scandal.”
And now Republican leaders are lining up to kiss his ring and pander to his minions. It’s a reminder that there is literally nothing a conservative can do to be permanently excluded from polite company.
And of course, conservative enablers Gregory and Fischer Martin will be right there to legitimize Reed as well.
Do I care what Reed thinks of Romney's chances in the debate or how honest the President is? Hell no. And his opinion--given the massive amount of lying he himself has done to cheat others--should not EVER be given such a platform.
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