Image 01 Image 03

Elizabeth Lauten scalped

Elizabeth Lauten scalped

Disproportionate force.

The madding crowd has claimed another meaningless scalp, and it couldn’t be happier about it.

The internet exploded on Thanksgiving after Congressional staffer Elizabeth Lauten criticized the First Teens for their less-than enthusiastic attitude at the annual Presidential Turkey Pardoning. Yesterday, nearly a week after the offending Facebook post, Lauten resigned her job rather than allow the backlash to harm the reputations of her boss and fellow staffers.

Anyone who has ever worked for an elected official knows that the slightest slip up can quickly turn from foible to gaffe to complete professional nightmare. In terms of self-preservation, staffers are defenseless, which makes them easy targets and a mess-free launchpad for a larger agenda. Let’s be clear: the Right has engaged in plenty of staffer-shaming over the years, but it’s been a long time since a member of a Congressional office has been so completely and utterly destroyed over comparatively mild Facebook commentary.

The media’s (both old and new) scalping of Elizabeth Lauten started on Twitter, blossomed in the quirky world of internet news, and then roared to life as mainstream news outlets roused themselves from their tryptophan stupor to engage in some serious journalism.

Since that night, Lauten has been targeted online by both the mainstream media and private citizens, and doxed by professional “journalists” at home and abroad. In an act of ruthless messaging, the White House took charge of the situation and pitched the story to national news outlets.

We’re now at a point where no one knows what Elizabeth said, and furthermore no one cares what she said; her rude comment has been twisted and transformed into a rabid attack on the First Daughters, and there’s no amount of commentary that can unring the bell.

I’m not sure that crying “media bias” completely covers what happened here, but Peter Roff of US News and World Report hits the nail on the head when it comes to highlighting how the media and the public at large reacts to smear campaigns against the relatively unknown:

What this particular staffer said about the president’s daughters was pointed and less than flattering. It was also nowhere near close to the underhanded, disdainful, uncharitable remarks made by elected officials, media types, journalists and Democratic surrogates about the Reagan children and the adult children of Bush 41. Or what was said about Bush 43 daughters Jenna and Barbara and the entire Palin clan, children and grandchild alike. They, we are told, are all fair game because they had done things that caught the public’s eye – or at least did after the newspapers, blogs and television networks pushed the story on them. Seems to me that standing next to your father when he’s officiating at a White House event rises to the same level; it may even exceed it. Once again, we have an example of the bias that exists in the media concerning those on the left.

The problem isn’t just the media; the problem lies in the mob’s hunger for justice against perceived wrongs (no matter how slight,) and the willingness of those in power to turn that hunger against the powerless. This wasn’t just an overblown reaction; it was a punishment, and a warning.

It was a hit, and it’s not the first time the left has used this tactic to clean up the news cycle. Coined “the GOP Lawmaker Principle,” it applies to staffers too, and it’s ugly:

As the national electoral plight of Democrats increases, so does the incidence of stories about obscure state Republican lawmakers.

Sure, state lawmakers are important. One of the grand ironies of politics is that people are more likely to know the politicians they’re distant from (the president) than the ones with portfolios that cover them at the micro level (school board members). Every Congress contains a substantial number of former state legislators, and in this age of declining local media, not many of them have been scrutinized.

But as a rule, if you see the phrase “GOP lawmaker” in a headline, your click will usher you into a world of back-benchers from Bismarck and Jackson and Dover and Sacramento, not the people currently threatening to take the Senate back from Democrats. The Lawmakers are anonymous until they screw up, and when they do, they are often easier to grab hold of then, say, front-running South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate Mike Rounds. If the lawmaker were famous, his name might make it into the hed. But he’s not famous, so the story is about right-wing insanity that happens to come from a politician who may or may not represent you—click to find out.

The Democrats needed a distraction from their dismal polling numbers and foundering policy platform, so they targeted Lauten—a human sacrifice laid upon the altar of political desperation, professionally slaughtered so that the Obama Administration could guarantee itself a short reprieve from a damaging news cycle.

It’s sick, and not at all unexpected. The moral of the story is that, given a need, they will find you, they will target you, and they will not stop until they have utterly destroyed you.

It’s justice, or something.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


You must be careful what you say if you are not a Party Member.

There is no protection outside the Collective.

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to Yujin. | December 2, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Oh….they are very happy to fire on Party Members also, just like Aldoph and Joseph.

    But this was overkill on Obama’s part and a violation of the staffer’s Right to Free Speech.

    Hope she sues.

A lot of people know about Lauten and her purported sins (she was ARRESTED once for shop-lifting, Z.O.M.G!) that have never heard of Gruber and his actual tyranny.

And that’s just sick in a republican democracy.

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to Ragspierre. | December 2, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Just a republic – hopefully – no democracy involved, especially with the Democratic Party!

Wasn’t it Julie Bosman who was arrested for shoplifting? Lauten was also?

It’s the 99% of journalists who give the other 1% such a bad reputation. It wouldn’t be so bad if they weren’t the ones selling torches and pitchforks.

If a Republican lights a fire, the Democrats move the Reichstag into the fireplace.

First, every Republican has to be extra vigilant to avoid giving ammuniton to the MSM. Of course the media is biased, and someone employed as a communications director has to know to be careful on social media. Clearly, Elizabeth Lauten was not very good at her job.

Second, her stupid tweets missed the mark. Rather than blaming the teenage girls for their obvious discomfort, the criticism should have been directed at the President. He and his staffers trotted the girls out in front of the cameras as props, placing them where they clearly did not want to be. Now, such reasonable commentary cannot be made, because it would serve only to remind everyone of Lauten’s stupidity.

    nordic_prince in reply to John Sullivan. | December 2, 2014 at 11:26 am

    It’s not so much blaming the girls as it is pointing out that the brats haven’t fallen far from the rotten tree. When they were younger it was easier to look the other way and hold out hope that perhaps they would develop character, but now that they are teenagers and not innocent cherubs, it’s become obvious they’ve inherited their mom’s BRF. Yay, just what this country needs – more people who sulk if they don’t get their way ~

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to John Sullivan. | December 2, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Plus if the Republicans are innoccent and pure as the driven snow, the government-owned, corporate media will just make up stuff.

It is very important for liberals to feel morally superior to Republicans, it justifies their continued loyalty to the Democratic party. Plenty of people who voted for Obama are aware that Obama has messed up. But many of these people will not vote Republican as long as they feel that there is a chance a pro-Republican position means supporting people who espouse sexism/racism etc. In the world of reality, we know that Republicans are no more/less racist and sexist than anybody else. So it becomes vitally important for political partisans to seize on comments made by Republicans that can reinforce the false notion that Republicans predominantly harbor such sentiments. Comments by Republicans will receive greater scrutiny for dog whistles of such short and it behoves people who want to support the Republican party to pay extra attention to their comments on all forums. Of course it is a double standard as anybody who has read the comments at Daily Kos knows, but it is a game that Republicans need to play.

Why are Republicans so spineless? The proper response to this was NOT a defensive crouch but a “So what?!” When are the Republicans going to learn that the press is not their friend? Why try to earn their praise? Fight back!

If anybody knows her financial situation, I would be willing to donate! We don’t take care of our own as well as the Democrats do!

    snopercod in reply to caldesidad. | December 2, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Yes, exactly. Lauten stated the obvious and resigned (or was asked to resign) rather than fight. It’s the Republican Disease…

I’m usually not one to complain, but it’s getting awfully hard for me as a conservative white man to keep a boot on the neck of minorities while also waging a war on women, a problem that could be easily reduced and resolved with physics, but dammit, I’m anti-science as well.

If you want to know who are your Masters, find the ones you’re not allowed to criticize.

Hey … what ever happened to Harry Reid and his ‘Wong’ comment?
Jesse Jackson and his ‘Hymietown’ comment? These come immediately to mind.

Well, I am glad they finally made the Presidential daughters off-limits. Of course, it’s too late for Harry Truman’s daughter
and for Jimmy Carter’s daughter, Chelsea Clinton and the Bush daughters.

I don’t have to approve of that Facebook entry by Elizabeth Lauten to notice that this happens to the Presidential offspring with tiresome regularity, and that sometimes it is done by the people who are now hunting for a meaningless scalp.

Sorry, guys, but Lauten stepped in it, and she paid the price.

No, what she said wasn’t as bad as other comments about other (political) children, but that’s not the point. You don’t touch the kids. They’re off-limits. It’s that simple. Complaining “they did it first!” (or worse) begs the question whether anyone should be going after the kids in the first place.

As to her termination, whether she quit or was “invited” to resign, you (again) don’t say stupid crap about politicians kids. She should have known that going in. Calling her termination a “scalping” is about as silly as Kanye West calling criticism of himself as a “crucifixion.” It’s over the top and misses the point.

There’s an old (somewhat tongue in cheek) rule in the armed forces: wives are off-limits, girlfriends aren’t. Yes, it’s sexist. 🙂 Point being that politicians are fair game, and their kids aren’t. Wives/husbands are, to the extent that they choose to join the politics. Michelle Obama has been very political, Laura Bush not so much. If Elizabeth Warren has a husband, I haven’t even heard of him, compare this to Todd Palin. It varies.

It’s very easy to go tribal, and automatically condemn everything “they” do, while mindlessly defending “us,” for any given set of values for them & us. It’s more challenging to actually think about the issue, and come to a reasoned position.

This wasn’t a “crucifixion.” It was a staffer saying something stupid in public about someone else’s kids. In fact, getting all twisted up over stuff like this is why the GOP has had so many problems the past 20+ years. They lose focus and start chasing their own tails. All the Democrats have to do is step back and turn on the cameras. It’s one reason they call Republicans the Stupid Party.

    snopercod in reply to Casey. | December 2, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    “You don’t touch the kids.” May I ask what planet you are living on?

    JoAnne in reply to Casey. | December 2, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Have any Dem staffers been fired for what they said about their opponents children? Just curious.

    Yujin in reply to Casey. | December 2, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Thank you for your wisdom Casey. I for one was all twisted up over this.

    SmokeVanThorn in reply to Casey. | December 2, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    It’s very easy to go nuancy, and automatically condemn everything we do, while mindlessly defending “them,” for any given set of values for us & them. It’s more challenging to refuse to kowtow to those who only regard us with contempt.

    Your comment is horseshit, Casey.

I hope Lauten is being inundated with job offers.

Yes Lauten stepped in it. All on the right must know by now that were if not for double standards the left would have no standards at all. Why give them ammo?

Ms. Lauten has been disproportionally punished for some foolish remarks. Not fair but to be expected. The left trashed the Bush girls many times and even though not children of the President what was said about the Palin kids was repulsive.

We all know that “they” can say what they want and “we” cannot. Perhaps in the end that makes us better people. Perhaps watching what you say makes you smarter people. The left have gotten away with spewing for so long they don’t bother to hide just how nasty and disgusting they are.

That doesn’t mean the right has to be mealy mouthed. Just careful and I don’t find that a terrible thing. But then I quit expecting the world to be “fair” along with the end of puberty.

    SmokeVanThorn in reply to kenoshamarge. | December 3, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Yet another conservative is chewed up unfairly.

    kenoshamarge yawns and tells us that only the immature would expect otherwise.

    And we wonder why leftists dominate the narrative.

The problem is the corrupt, spineless, clueless bozos running the GOP.

Complete failures, and complete hogs. The longer we tolerate the current leadership (most notably the Squeaker, Pee Wee Rebus and McTurtle) we should expect NOTHING from them in the way of battling for our freedom and way of life.

The best Boehner says he can do is hire a lawyer to file a lawsuit. The abject idiocy and lameness of Boehner is equal to the idiocy and lameness of our tolerating him in office.

Even more mind-blowing than watching Obama try to impose a dictatorship (it’s no surprise) is watching the GOP help.

This article seems to assume I have some kind of idea what was said.