Bear with me. The intricacies of GOP dirty tricks in Pennsylvania take some unraveling. But this is too rich, and the best part comes at the end.
On Thursday the Pennsylvania GOP sent out an email to 75,000 Jewish voters in the state warning that electing Obama could lead to a second Holocaust, the AP reports:
“Jewish Americans cannot afford to make the wrong decision on Tuesday, November 4th, 2008,” the e-mail reads. “Many of our ancestors ignored the warning signs in the 1930s and 1940s and made a tragic mistake. Let’s not make a similar one this year!”
A copy of the e-mail, provided by Democratic officials, says it was “Paid for by the Republican Federal Committee of PA – Victory 2008.”
It warns “Fellow Jewish Voters” of the danger of a second Holocaust due to the threats to Israel from its neighbors and touts Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s qualifications over those of Obama.
The state GOP is now running away from that email as fast as it can. The AP leads with the state GOP’s disavowal of the email, but it seems a bit more complicated than that. There doesn’t seem to be any dispute that the state party or one of its committees sent the email. The party’s defense seems to be that the consultant who the party hired wasn’t authorized to send that particular email and was fired.
Except the AP got in touch with the consultant and that’s not quite the story he tells:
Political consultant Bryan Rudnick was identified as the person responsible for it. Rudnick, reached Saturday night, confirmed that he no longer works for the party, which employed him a few weeks ago as a consultant to do outreach to Jewish voters.
“I had authorization from party officials” to send the e-mail, Rudnick said, but he declined to say who had signed off on it. “I’m not looking to drag anyone else through the mud, so I’m not naming names right now,” he said.
That’s a pretty good story in its own right: Another under-the-radar GOP sleaze tactic exposed and yet another low- to mid-level GOP operative scapegoated because he got caught on the wrong side of the McCain campaign’s shifting line between what is just sleazy and what is too sleazy (a line that seems to get drawn immediately after the GOP gets busted).
But it gets better.
Like the state GOP, the McCain camp is running away from this email, and the spokesperson doing the distancing is none other than Peter Feldman. That’s the same guy who on Thursday, the day the email went out, was pushing the mugging hoax to reporters as a politically motivated attack by a black Obama supporter, playing to the worst of white fears and racial prejudices.
Speaking of the email to Jewish voters and without any apparent hint of irony, Feldman told the AP Saturday night that McCain “rejects politics that degrade our civics.”
No word on whether the AP asked Feldman about his role in pushing the mugging hoax.