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David Corn brings us news of yet another quasi-"secret" conservative group looking to shape messaging and the media coverage of that messaging. That yet another one exists, and that like others one of their top priorities is defeating not-conservative-enough Karl Rove and demanding a more radical conservatism of their conservatives, is not too surprising. That they seem to be in opposition to uberconservative Grover Norquist is a bit more surprising, but I suppose Norquist has gone out of favor now that people in the movement have started to suspect him of secret Muslimizm.

The list of people who participate in these "Groundswell" strategizing sessions, however, has a definite B-grade flavor to it.

One of the influential conservatives guiding the group is Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, a columnist for the Daily Caller and a tea party consultant and lobbyist. Other Groundswell members include John Bolton, the former UN ambassador; Frank Gaffney, the president of the Center for Security Policy; Ken Blackwell and Jerry Boykin of the Family Research Council; Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch; Gayle Trotter, a fellow at the Independent Women's Forum; Catherine Engelbrecht and Anita MonCrief of True the Vote; Allen West, the former GOP House member; Sue Myrick, also a former House GOPer; Diana Banister of the influential Shirley and Banister PR firm; and Max Pappas, a top aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Oh, well if you've got John Bolton, the Family Research Council and Allen West thinking up your strategy, I'm sure nothing can go wrong with that. Also featured prominently are various Breitbart apparatchiks, so you know it's top-notch stuff.
At its weekly meetings, the group aims to strengthen the right's messaging by crafting Twitter hashtags; plotting strategy on in-the-headlines issues such as voter ID, immigration reform, and the sequester; promoting politically useful scandals; and developing "action items."
Oh God, stop, you're killing me. #HashtagBasedStrategizing
Groundswell members saw immigration as a life-or-death issue. "If we lose on immigration," the post-meeting memo noted, "we lose on every other issue. […]"

The group also reviewed how best to oppose the confirmation of Tom Perez, Obama's nominee for labor secretary. Groundsweller's claimed that Perez, then a senior Justice Department official, supported "Muslim Brotherhood organizations and Shariah." (One Groundswell memo maintained that Perez "is extremely antagonistic toward whites.") A third agenda item that Wednesday morning was beating back the effort to end the Boy Scouts of America's ban on gay scouts. […] The post-meeting memo suggested Twitter hashtags to push: #CantTrustObama, #PoliticsOverPublicSafety, #SequesterLies.

A troupe of Rove-hating conservatives who spend their days talking about Sharia conspiracies. I'm beginning to see why this group is secret: I think it's so they don't get teased. Also, members literally seem to get something called "brownie points" for putting out the group's message, which in any other context would probably be humiliating for all involved. Not them, though!
The Groundswellers feel that they too often lose the political narrative to their progressive rivals. One memo that circulated among members declared, "We must reclaim the language and put 'a face' on our messages; tell stories. Write articles on 4th grade level!"
Some of you have almost managed 3rd grade level, so don't lose hope. Practice! You'll get there eventually.

There's one place I have to disagree with David Corn's reporting on this story. He refers to some of the persons involved as "journalists," citing Breitbart "News" participants and others. I don't think you can claim that; the Breitbart group does not do "journalism," they do something … else. Their namesake made the brand on pushing falsified "pimp tape"-style stories to gullible peers. While it would indeed be alarming if "journalists" were coordinating strategies with the likes of Ginni Thomas, Frank Gaffney (snicker), John Bolton (cackle) and Allen Freaking West (it hurts, stop, I need a moment!), none of the columnists, "researchers" or Fox News hangers-on named in the story really pass as "journalists" in the conventional sense of the term. They might claim otherwise, but that doesn't make it true, and we really shouldn't just accept such claims at face value.

The Breitbarters seem to play a substantive role in the group, which gives you an indication of the caliber of minds at work here, and is probably one force behind the group's apparent routine of thinking up good-sounding storylines first, then bothering with the "evidence" later. I am not thinking there is much to fear from this particular peanut gallery, but it might be interesting in the future to watch their promotion of certain themes and how they collect their "brownie points" for reinforcing each other's messages. Hell, we can give them "brownie points" ourselves, right? Ten points to Slytherin, guys, but come up with a really good hashtag and I'll make it 15. #MelonSizedCalves?

Originally posted to Hunter on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 02:20 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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