Sunday, June 07, 2015

Vernon Robinson Watch

Remember Vernon Robinson? "The black Jesse Helms," he liked to call himself. He was the Winston-Salem city councilman who famously ran against Virginia Foxx in her first congressional race in the 2004 Republican Primary, warning everyone that Foxx was a very dangerous liberal femi-Nazi who was a soft-on-gayness Trojan Horse.

Well, he got the horse part right.

Robinson actually came in first in that primary, with Foxx in second place, but he failed to get his 40%. In the 2nd primary that year, Foxx prevailed.

Robinson ran one of the nastiest campaigns imaginable against Foxx, which included a now-famous racist attack on Hispanic immigrants. You could hardly imagine anything nastier, that is, until Robinson ran in the 13th Congressional District in  2006 against incumbent Democrat Brad Miller. Robinson repeatedly intimated that Brad Miller was probably homosexual.

After losing to Foxx in 2004, Robinson subsequently lost his seat on the Winston-Salem City Council, ran again unsuccessfully against Brad Miller, ran unsuccessfully for State Superintendent of Public Education, and ran unsuccessfully for chairmanship of the state GOP. Quite the political record!

Which is why it's more than just interesting that Robinson was present and vocal when Hasan Harnett won the NC GOP chairmanship yesterday. Evidently, Robinson sees Harnett as doubling down on the Robinson Recipe for Winning Hearts and Minds in North Carolina.

Robinson is also the instigator and manager of the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, because, while Robinson personally tends to drive voters away, he also tends to collect big bucks from the well-heeled who are motivated primarily by hatred/fear. The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee is a super-PAC that has raised $12.2 million, which makes Robinson a player, y'all.

Steven Greene, a state politics expert at North Carolina State University, is quoted as suggesting that Robinson is a "strategic loser"—"so extreme in his positions that he'd never have a serious shot at office, but an appealing target for the fundraising dollars of ideologues."

"Strategic loser" or "Angel of Death"?

Those blessed with the Robinson imprimatur seem not to prosper. Have you noticed the Ben Carson for President campaign lately? Carson has recently lost his campaign chairman, his national finance chairman, his deputy campaign manager, and his general counsel: "The four senior advisers all quit the campaign, which has fallen into disarray due to dysfunctional leadership, a lack of professionalism and frequent in-fighting" (PoliticusUSA). Was the Robinson personality involved in driving those people away? Dunno. Could be.

According to the Mother Jones investigative piece on Robinson, Vernon "has quietly turned his quixotic Draft Ben Carson effort into a lucrative enterprise for himself. FEC filings show that the PAC paid out over $250,000 to a consulting firm called Tzu Mahan. Buzzfeed reported in November that Tzu Mahan—its name a mashup of ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu and 19th century Navy admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan—is a one-man company, run by Robinson."

We can only hope that Mr. Robinson has the ear -- exclusively -- of new NC GOP Chair Hasan Harnett!

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