Lincoln Project Co-Founder Infuriates Democrats and NeverTrumpers By Advising Long-Shot Biden Challenger Dean Phillips
“This can only be described as a pro-Trump effort disguised as a primary campaign.”
The media was in full fret mode Friday over Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) making his presidential candidacy official in New Hampshire after months of speculation based on his hints that he would do just that.
In my opinion, they’re fretting over Phillips not because they fear he would defeat Biden in the Democratic presidential primaries but because of concern that Phillips could make Biden a weaker candidate in the general election against the eventual GOP nominee, whom Phillips believes will be former President Donald Trump:
This campaign is about preventing Donald Trump's re-election.
As @JamesCarville said here, "I'm looking at polling data, and I’m looking at all of it. The president’s numbers are just not good—and they’re not getting any better”
I deeply admire Joe Biden, but 2024 could be… https://t.co/5g1LPUHS9m
— Dean Phillips 🇺🇸 (@deanbphillips) October 27, 2023
The Atlantic interview of Phillips provided a closer look at who he is and where he stands (for instance, he’s a proud, Israel-supporting Jewish Democrat), but one particular reference sent The Usual Suspects into orbit, namely the fact that Phillips is being advised by Lincoln Project co-founder Steve Schmidt:
After taping the podcast on September 22, Schmidt told Phillips how impressed he was by his sincerity and conviction. Two days later, Schmidt called Phillips to tell him that he’d shared the audio of their conversation with some trusted political friends, and the response was unanimous: This guy needs to run for president. Before Phillips could respond, Schmidt advised the congressman to talk with his family about it. It happened to be the eve of Yom Kippur: Phillips spent the next several days with his wife and his adult daughters, who expressed enthusiasm about the idea. Phillips called Schmidt back and told him that, despite his family’s support, he had no idea how to run a presidential campaign—much less one that would have to launch within weeks, given filing deadlines in key states.
“Listen,” Schmidt told him, “if you’re willing to jump in, then I’m willing to jump in with you.”
Phillips needed some time to think—and to assess Schmidt. Politics is a tough business, but even by that standard his would-be partner had made lots of enemies. The more the two men talked, however, the more Phillips came to view Schmidt as a kindred spirit.
Dean Phillips adviser Steve Schmidt tells reporters here in New Hampshire that Phillips will focus on Dem primaries in N.H., South Carolina and Michigan. “He’s running to win,” Schmidt says. pic.twitter.com/Cd92qnM1VL
— Ken Thomas (@KThomasDC) October 27, 2023
This information, digested by people who were already annoyed by Phillips’ previous suggestion that someone in the party needed to challenge Biden because of age questions and polling woes, led to a range of furious reactions from Phillips’ Democrat/Never Trump critics, some of whom viewed Schmidt’s involvement as a backdoor way to try and get Trump elected again:
No matter your view on whether a primary to Biden is useful, the particular strategy laid about by Schmidt to @TimAlberta of relentlessly attacking Biden is insane.
— Tim Miller (@Timodc) October 27, 2023
Dean Philip’s entire argument for replacing Biden is that it’s time for a “new generation of Democrats.”
So he hired a Republican consultant who almost made Sarah Palin Vice President in 2008 to be his chief spokesperson.
— Santiago Mayer (@santiagomayer_) October 27, 2023
— Byron York (@ByronYork) October 27, 2023
Can every Dem agree —no fawning about @SteveSchmidtSES? He’s one of the biggest frauds in politics. Cheerleader for Iraq war, champion of Sarah Palin, mercenary for Howard Schultz. Now wants to take down @POTUS with Dean Phillips. You can’t make this stuff up!
— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) October 27, 2023
Self-proclaimed Biden delegate/Democrat influencer Victor Shi accused Schmidt of a “betrayal of democracy”:
I've platformed Steve Schmidt on my podcast and my show & today I want to apologize for doing so. Had I known this would happen, I would've never given him a platform. His involvement in Dean Phillips' campaign is unforgivable & a betrayal of democracy.
— Victor Shi (@Victorshi2020) October 27, 2023
Schmidt’s fellow Lincoln Project co-founder Rick Wilson, who unlike Schmidt is still with the Democrat-funded group, promised to dunk all over Phillips during a Thursday podcast. He spent most of his day Friday on Twitter showering praise on Joe Biden, perhaps to soothe the nerves of nervous billionaire Democrat donors, while having to repeatedly field questions over whether the Lincoln Project is supporting Phillips:
I’ll be honest, I’m also planning to take the bark off of Dean Phillips.
Y’all should join. It’ll be fun.
For us, anyway. https://t.co/KjOW3Uhqen
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) October 26, 2023
We are most certainly NOT supporting Phillips. We've stated that ALL DAY today. https://t.co/DRrTc0YwfY
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) October 28, 2023
Lincoln Project Chief of Staff Ryan Wiggins also got in on the denials, reminding people that Schmidt is no longer affiliated with the LP and that they were “100% proudly ridin’ with Biden”:
Seeing A LOT of confusion on this platform today so I'm going to clear it up. Steve Schmidt hasn't been affiliated with @ProjectLincoln since November 2021. The Lincoln Project is 100% proudly ridin' with Biden.
— Ryan Wiggins 🏴☠️ (@Ryan_N_Wiggins) October 27, 2023
In a further sign that there is trouble in Grifter Paradise, Bill Kristol chided Lincoln Project for attacking Phillips and suggested that if Biden was as strong as they said he was then he shouldn’t need their help:
Sad to see @ProjectLincoln going after Dean Phillips. If President Biden is as politically strong he should be, he doesn’t need Lincoln Project as attack dog. If he’s so weak that he needs them to go after Dean, maybe rethink the strategy of no questioning of Biden as nominee.
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) October 27, 2023
Relatedly, Assistant House Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn (D-SC)—who was instrumental in getting Joe Biden to pick a woman of color as his running mate—subtly injected the race card into Phillips’ presidential announcement as well:
Jim Clyburn Says Dean Phillips Is Disrespecting Black Voters with New Hampshire Focused Presidential Campaign (Exclusive)
Clyburn says in a statement that Phillips is ignoring the wishes of the party to diversify the electorate in early nominating states: https://t.co/FfP3gIgOeb
— Dan Merica (@merica) October 27, 2023
Democrats and Never-Trumpers are eating their own. Someone pass the popcorn and the hot wings, please.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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