Matt Lewis

The Red Eye candidate?

I spent an hour with Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter once. It was in his office. He played guitar and smoked what seemed like a carton of cigarettes. We talked music. I came away convinced John Malkovich should play him if there were ever a movie about his life.

Now Politico notes he is considering running for president. This could get interesting. McCotter represents a segment of the conservative movement that is almost completely foreign to most Americans. The stereotypes of conservatives usually require them to fit neatly into one of two categories: Jerry Falwell evangelicals or “preppy” Republicans. This, of course, is simplistic and misguided.

McCotter’s scene is decidedly libertarian-leaning (though not Libertarian) and consists of folks like Fox News’ Red Eye host Greg Gutfield (McCotter is a frequent guest on the show), new media mogul Andrew Breitbart, actor Robert Davi, and Jon David Kahn — just to name a few. They are all driven and all quirky. They listen to (or play) a lot rock music — often late at night. Some have multiple tattoos. They almost all smoke. A lot.

“It’s a subculture, absolutely — these are cool guys,” says Jordan Lieberman, managing director of Campaign Grid, who hangs with the group sometimes, but says he’s “probably not cool enough” to be an official part of the group, himself.

“What sets them apart from Republicans is that they are creative thinkers,” Lieberman adds. “They have probably been stoned in the last couple weeks. They aren’t afraid of alcohol or tobacco. They want the government off their backs.”

They are “The Republican island of misfit toys,” another source tells me — “of which Thaddeus would make a good king.”

Because McCotter is an elected politician, he has to be a bit careful of his image. “He expresses his irreverence of leadership in his music,” says Lieberman.  (Earlier this year, McCotter quoted some Led Zeppelin lyrics in a House floor speech.)

Could an eccentric like McCotter actually have an impact in the GOP presidential field? McCotter may be unconventional, but he’s also incredibly sharp. “He will slit throats in debates,” says one source friendly with McCotter. “He’s probably the only guy who could go head-to-head with Newt [Gingrich] — and probably win.”

If he does run, McCotter could win over his share of Tea Party voters. I just hope that in the process, he doesn’t shy away from his true self in order to be more palatable to the greatest number of voters. McCotter represents an underrepresented cadre of off-beat, libertarian conservatives. With Americans growing tired of typical politicians, here’s hoping McCotter is willing to fly his freak flag proudly.

  • YetAnotherBoleynGirl

    Oh! Ha-ha!

    I have re-read Mr Lewis’ above posting again, and perhaps the best thing I can say is that satire demands a defter hand in the writer and a keener eye in the reader than either he or I possessed yesterday.

    So, what would really work for me would be a pop-up message stating:

    “ATTENTION, YetAnotherBoleynGirl:
    This website is similar to the Onion.
    YOU, madam, have absolutely NO sense of humor.”

  • FactsMatter

    Mr Lewis,

    I’ve been following this article and reactions to it today. On the whole, I think it’s a harmless post. I like Congressman McCotter, and the article does put him in a good light.

    However, Greg Gutfeld and Andy Levy mentioned it in their daily Red Eye podcast and mentioned some factual errors in the article.( ) For one, neither of them knows Jordan Lieberman, although Greg allows that maybe he met him once and cannot remember him. Also, neither of them has been stoned recently, only Andy (who was not mentioned by name in the article) has a single tattoo, etc. On the whole, it seemed to me that they were more bemused by the errors than offended in the least, using phrases like “probably a pretty good writer from what I’ve heard”, “wasn’t trashing us or anything”, and “probably meant well”.

    A Red Eye fan tweeted you a link to the podcast. You responded with the tweet:

    “@ShannonPoe They seem to think my post was about their TV show. It wasn’t.”

    Apparently you feel that getting the facts correct only matters if it is they involve the primary subject of your article. I also note the title of the article mentions Red Eye, and the text specifically names Greg Gutfeld. Are you surprised that they might take exception to untruths written about them?

    I’m not a journalist, but it would seem to me that the only correct answer to someone who points out factual errors in your work would be something along the lines of “Sorry, I’ll try to do better research.” That was not the tack you took. Instead you responded to Andy Levy thus:

    “@andylevy I know McCotter friends like Ed McFadden, Christian Josi, Andrew Breitbart, Anne Tyrrell…Do they all work at your 3 am show too?”

    “@andylevy Hey, you keep working it. That coveted 2 am slot is within reach!”

    “@andylevy Happy to issue the following correction: ‘Thad McCotter does not smoke or play guitar. He is not a frequent guest on Red Eye.’ ”

    “@andylevy ‘McCotter’s friends are not creative thinkers and they sure as hell never get stoned.’ ”

    Instead of owning up to your mistakes, you insult the little 3 AM show. You know, the one whose guests tonight included the Daily Caller’s Senior Editor Tucker Carlson.

    Instead of addressing the details you got wrong, you seem to say that since many of the things you say in the article are correct, getting others wrong is perfectly fine.

    I have never read any of your writing before this, but if this laziness in checking sources and then arrogance when corrected is your norm, I doubt I will read you again.

  • YetAnotherBoleynGirl

    Seriously, sir, this is what you came up with after spending “an hour” with Rep. McCotter?

    For one thing, I want you to know the phrase “another source tells me” absolutely grinds my teeth every time I see it used. Particularly when coupled with a cutesy line like, “Republican Island of misfit toys.”

    And, hey, if you can’t bother yourself to actually speak to the hosts of RedEye, at least spend another hour watching a show.

  • wazzy08

    Matt – Why not make a small professional effort and actually talk to the hosts of Red Eye yourself? I’m sure one of them is available. Or watch some of the shows maybe? Your description of them is poor and inaccurate.

  • JR_annapolis

    “They have probably been stoned in the last couple of weeks. They aren’t afraid of alcohol or tobacco.” THAT makes someone a “creative” thinker?! I don’t know who Jordan Lieberman is…yet…but the implied logic trail that associates dope, alcohol, and cigarettes with cool and creative thinking is asinine.

    McCotter is one sharp conservative, truly clever, articulate, and mentally agile. I wouldn’t allow Lieberman to pen his resume, as he apparently harbors some very misguided and simplistic stereotypes, himself.