Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has called Proposition 8a waste of time.”  

But, of course, one man’s distraction is another man’s treasure.  A distraction it may be – for most Californians – but for Jeff Flint, it’s Christmas in July.

And so, in the spirit of this midsummer Yuletide, I dedicate this retelling of Dickens’ classic Victorian morality tale … to Jeff – in the faint hope that he might undergo as profound an experience of redemption over the course of reading this diary as did ol’ Ebenezer that fateful night so poignantly described in A Christmas Carol.
Stave I: Marley’s Ghost (feel free to skip to Stave II, this one here’s just for settin’ the mood …)

Ebenezer Scrooge: Why do you walk the earth? Why’d you come to persecute me?  Tell me more, Marley, but speak comfort to me!  
the Ghost of Jacob Marley: I have none to give.
Ebenezer Scrooge: None?
the Ghost of Jacob Marley: Comfort comes from other sources, Ebenezer Scrooge … When I lived, my spirit, like yours, never walked beyond the narrow limits of our counting house.
Ebenezer Scrooge: But, you were always a good man of business, Jacob.
the Ghost of Jacob Marley: Mankind should be our business, Ebenezer, but we seldom attend to it.

Stave II: The First of the Three Spirits

Pringle 1998

Respondent Curt Pringle … was a candidate for State Treasurer … in the … 1998 general election … Respondent Jeff Flint was the paid campaign manager …

In the campaign statements filed for the 1998 calendar year, Respondents failed to disclose subvendor information for payments totaling $1,629,292, in violation of section 84211, subdivision (j)(6), and section 84303 of the Government Code.  Of the subvendor expenditures not disclosed, approximately $1,590,800 was for payments to Russo Marsh & Raper, Inc.*, to purchase broadcast advertising, and approximately $38,491 was for payments to Flint Nelson Associates and Linda Kasem, for travel and office expenses.

… the evidence in this case establishes that Respondent Jeff Flint is primarily responsible for the occurrence of the subvendor reporting violations.

*As I noted in a previous diary, Flint used to work for Russo Marsh & Rogers (I’m not bothering with disambiguating RMRaper & RMRogers – I wouldn’t know how and Russo’s the red flag, in any case).

Stave III: The Second of the Three Spirits

Hatch 2000

Hatch’s friends and supporters back in Utah say they know who’s to blame for this mess … Some Hatch intimates are involved, but too many people who care about Hatch have been pushed to the periphery, replaced by highly paid lobbyists and consultants.

“The only people with their sleeves rolled up for Orrin are people whose incomes are directly affected by his race,” the Utah Hatch insider says. “Like the lobbyists back in D.C. who — whether he’s president, which he’s not going to be, or chairman of Judiciary — they make a lot of money.”

… “outsiders” running the Hatch campaign are Sal Russo of Russo Marsh, who’s running the national operation, and communications director [Jeff] Flint, both of whom are located in Sacramento, Calif. — 650 miles away from Salt Lake City.

When asked why the spokesman for a presidential candidate who shuttles between Utah and Washington, D.C. is headquartered in Sacramento, Flint says, “This is where our company is based.”

“It’s a cash cow for them,” says one Washington pol. “The only reason the operation keeps going is because the paychecks keep coming in and they say, ‘Yeah, Orrin, yeah, Orrin, you can do it, Orrin, just wait until Bush stumbles and you’ll be the nominee, Orrin.'”

Stave IV: The Last of the Three Spirits

Doug Ose 2008

Just when I thought that Doug Ose’s pitiful campaign could not sink any lower, they managed to find a way. Ose actually dug past the proverbial bottom of the barrel right into that wastewater that he keeps talking about in every debate!

To the shock and disgust of everyone present, Ose actually brought the parent of a baby who had been shaken to death by a babysitter to speak in favor of — you guessed it — Doug Ose’s miserable campaign for Congress. The bereaved parent said Tom McClintock had voted against funding a special government program to inform parents not to shake their babies to death, so now he was supporting Ose. It was really a pathetic speech to hear and I felt sick to see Ose sink so low … If Doug Ose gets elected, I guess he wants us to believe that he will use earmarks to get federal funding for a program telling parents not to throw their babies from airplanes, feed them ground glass, shake them unmercifully, strangle them, or whatever.

Even with Jeff’s fundraising support, and the 6-1 spending advantage it helped create, Ose lost bigtime.

Stave V: The End of It

“Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it.”

It’s time to shine a light on who’s being paid to orchestrate support for Proposition 8.

It’s not a personal vendetta against Jeff Flint, but if he’s gonna get paid to play spokesman for the pro-8 forces, I wanna know all I can about him.

It was Jeff who sought and obtained McCain’s recent statement of support for Prop 8, so I know he’s been keepin’ busy.

But all his effort aside, I wonder if the outcome of the Prop 8 fight is of any real – as opposed to merely monetary – concern to Jeff Flint?

Considering all the volunteers that Jeff’s campaign is gonna be working to enlist in this battle, wouldn’t they want to know if their spokesman had a track record of milking lost causes for his own financial gain?

If you think it’s just me and my tinfoil hat keepin’ me company here, please check out Josh Marshall’s reports on BMW Direct.

After reading the lowdown on BMW Direct, I couldn’t help but wonder – considering that there are GOP-linked outfits out there generating serious income by running potemkin candidates – might Prop 8 be an example of a potemkin proposition?  A potemkin initiative that does manage to appeal to and turn out some conservative voters in November, but that mostly enriches the operatives running the show?

July 15th update: My wild guess is that Obama’s gonna win big in California this November. If I’m right about that, I have to wonder what Jeff Flint, co-campaign manager for the California Protection of Marriage initiative (the Yes on 8 side), thinks he’s accomplishing by posting comments like these over at his place at the Red County blog:

I’m for change….blah blah blah…I’s for bringing people together…blah blah blah…let me quote Obama some more….blah blah blah….

As a partner at Schubert Flint Public Affairs, and as “one of the most widely respected public affairs and political professionals in the state of California” (according to the Schubert Flint website), you’d think he’d be savvy enough to avoid

a) pissing off California’s Obama supporters, and

b) sounding like a 12-year-old Al Jolson.

If this is the best PR that the coalition money can buy, well, then it’s already time to put a fork in Yes on 8, because it’s done.

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