As Josh wrote earlier this week, I've been gobbling up the new tell-all by Allen Raymond, the former GOP consultant of New Hampshire phone jamming fame.
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You might wonder why Raymond, a life-time Republican operator, decided to write the book (which is due out in early January). The short answer, as he writes: "when the shit hit the fan, my political party and my former colleagues not only threw me under the bus but then blamed me for getting run over."
Raymond's telemarketing consulting firm engineered the 2002 New Hampshire phone jamming, where Republicans jammed Democratic get-out-the-vote phone banks. But it wasn't his idea (it was the New Hampshire GOP's executive director's), and he was referred to the job by a big-wig from the Republican National Committee (more on this shortly). Yet when the story broke, his former co-conspirators did all they could to pin the thing entirely on him.
So, with nothing left to lose, Raymond walks readers through his rise in the ranks at the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (where he encounters Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), whom he frequently compares to "a sheet of drywall"), and finally on to create his own telemarketing firm, which he started with the help of Haley Barbour, now the governor of Mississippi. He also gives great insight into the murky world of phone tricks.
You might say he holds a grudge. But you can't say he minces words. "Back in 2002," he writes, "just about every Republican operative was so dizzy with power that if you could find two of us who could still tell the difference between politics and crime, you could probably have rubbed us together for fire as well."
Or in case he wasn't clear, he writes about heading to prison for his role in the jamming: "After ten full years inside the GOP, ninety days among honest criminals wasn't really any great ordeal."
So about those phone tricks. The jamming, Raymond says, was a unique stunt. Much more common were false information campaigns via robocalls, push polling, and then sneakier stunts like the one described in the passage below.
To set the scene: Raymond got a call in 2000* from two former colleagues in New Jersey who ran a consulting shop called Jamestown Associates. They were working for Dick Zimmer, who was running against Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), the incumbent, and they were pulling out all the stops. (Ed. Note: This post originally stated that this happened in 2002 -- that was my mistake, not Raymond's.)
They'd already succeeded in getting a Green Party candidate on the ballot to drain liberal votes from Holt (a favorite GOP trick). And they had already put Raymond's firm to work calling Green-oriented households and urging them to support the Green candidate.
But what came next was "even better":