In an Election Day memo analyzing the 2010 midterm elections, Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal told former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that congressional Republicans “despise” House Speaker John Boehner because they are “repelled by his personal behavior.”
“He is louche, alcoholic, lazy, and without any commitment to any principle,” Blumenthal wrote in the email, dated Nov. 2, 2010. The message was one of thousands sent to and from Clinton released late Monday by the State Department.
“Boehner has already tried to buy the members with campaign contributions and committee assignments, which he has already promised to potentially difficult members. His hold is insecure,” he wrote. “He is not Gingrich, the natural leader of a ‘revolution,’ riding the crest into power. He is careworn and threadbare, banal and hollow, holding nobody’s enduring loyalty.”
“Boehner is beholden and somewhat scared of his base,” he continued.
Blumenthal advised Clinton that administration policies should aim to divide the Republicans in Congress, a strategy he believed was different and “more informed” than the one Obama was using.
“The Congressional Republicans are vulnerable to a strategy that takes advantage of their internal divisions,” he told Clinton. “Policies/tactics should be calculated to locate GOP fissures, find political space by widening schisms, and ultimately break them apart. This is, emphatically, not a strategy of bipartisanship as Obama has pursued it so far. It is a different and more informed approach.”
Clinton thanked Blumenthal for his analysis. “Thx, as always, for your insights. I’m on a plane on the way to Papua New Guinea for the next 6 hours so pls email me results as you get them. Needless to say, I’m so distressed over all of this. All the best, H.”
Blumenthal responded at 8:53 p.m. on Election Day: “Exits show 50 plus loss in house and 7-8 senate.”
Blumenthal told Clinton in the analysis that he heard from Republican sources that GOP consultant Karl Rove telling donors the 2012 Republican presidential ticket would be former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. Blumenthal said Barbour was an ally of Rove’s.
“Together they constitute the heart of the GOP establishment. In a potential Republican administration Barbour would be a new kind of Cheney, but more politically skillful,” Blumenthal wrote.
He also analyzed Rove’s opposition to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
“Rove is at war with Palin. He has told his donors she must be stopped. Palin is well aware. The Politico story filled with anonymous quotes about a murky establishment vs. Palin is about the Death Star of Rove/Barbour.”
He went further, explaining, “Ironies: Rove doubled down on a base strategy for Bush, galvanizing the right wing, now spun out of his control to Palin. The GOP used the far right and Palin in the midterms and now have to kill them in presidential nomination politics. Attacking Palin only builds her stature with the right. She plays instinctively to the base, but can she play a long game against the big boys determined to destroy her?”
Blumenthal said that Palin has “already aligned Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh on her side. Fox News is being split. Murdoch gave his big donation to the Republican Governors Association, headed by Barbour.”
On the congressional side, Blumenthal noted that Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, is fundraising “hand over fist for the Republicans through Eric Cantor, now his vehicle.” He added, “The donors are many of the same US donors to Bibi and Likud. Implications obvious. ”
Blumenthal wrote that House Republicans were preparing to primary every Senate Republican that was a moderate in the 2012 election cycle, and that Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe was “a particular target.” Snowe, in fact, retired from her seat after the 2012 elections.
Blumenthal called then-Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina “a Fifth Column of the right, allied to the House Republicans, against remaining Senate GOP moderates.” Blumenthal predicted DeMint would be reinforced after the 2010 election cycle with Rand Paul and others. DeMint eventually retired from his seat as well after the 2012 election cycle.
“Paul, of course, hates Mitch McConnell, and vice versa. McConnell’s statement the day before the mid-terms that the goal of the GOP is to make Obama a one term president is, in fact, their agenda. Everything in the House and Senate will be bent to that end,” Blumenthal wrote.