Oppo remorse

Somewhere in Des Moines or Cedar Rapids, a shabbily dressed man is thumbing through a stack of papers, muttering to himself about months of wasted work.

He spent much of the last week tracking down some guy Christie Vilsack supposedly dated back in high school. The guy, it turns out, never actually dated her, and none of the nasty things he had to say actually panned out. But still, some of it might have turned out to be useful, maybe.

Except that none of it matters anymore. John Kerry has selected his running mate and it turns out to be the senator from North Carolina and not the Iowa governor. All that work — weeks of literally sifting through garbage, of wining and dining old political or business rivals — all for nothing.

He was well paid, of course, the campaign has money to burn and they took care of him. And some of the dubious material he had dredged up might be useful to the state party. Yet he still feels disappointed and more hollow than usual.

Similar scenes are playing out elsewhere across the country. In St. Louis, a man who lists his occupation as "security consultant" holds in his grubby fingers the arrest record of a man who was once a social work client of Chrissy Gephardt. A disgraced former reporter sits in a Jacksonville, Fla., Motel 6, wondering what he's supposed to do now with six boxes of selectively hilighted photocopies of Bob Graham's daily diaries. A private investigator in Santa Fe is replaying a secretly recorded cassette of the governor of New Mexico singing along with the jukebox of a biker bar. The P.I. is actually feeling relieved — the worst things he had managed to dig up about Richardson were stories the governor himself bragged about.

The actual details are, of course, probably different. But rest assured, these guys are out there.

You didn't really think all of that $200 million was going for TV ads, did you?

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Rafe

    I’m pretty sure they save it all for next time, just in case there is a next time. I kind of wonder if they share that stuff throughout the party. I mean, I’m sure that Vilsack’s next opponent for the governorship would love to have good, nationwide election class dirt.

  • Tom D

    Times two. There were Kerry ops doing all the same digging on all the same possible VP candidates, you can bet. Two or three lawyers have surely been sitting in the Edwards’ law office going thru all his old cases and talking to his clients, and opponents, and judges, and neighbors. And they were in Missouri and Iowa and New Mexico too. Nobody likes surprises.

  • yam

    That has to be the most cynical — and enlightening — thing I’ve read in days. And it’s not cynical in this realm, is it?
    They’re right, just like sausage…

  • Louise

    So the next time you feel sorry about your life, think about these guys, and remember…..
    Life could be worse. You could be doing Oppp Research.

  • Buck

    THe BC04 team has many workers with multiple TIVO accounts going through every campaign video and commercial appearance by Kerry. That’s why any statement by Kerry can be lifted, framed, and aired in a BC04 commercial in a 24 hour period.
    If we could run our Iraqi occupation (or our government) as efficiently as these people play dirty politics, we’d be in a lot better shape.