Erick Erickson’s Virginia Senate Flip Flop Undermines ‘Badge of Honor’ Talk

In response to my C4P post Tuesday highlighting RedState’s inconsistent treatment of Republican candidates, including its pro-Perry, anti-Palin bias, Erick Erickson wrote this: (emphasis mine)

God help us, but if there is one uniform criticism from all sides, it is typically that we here at RedState are not team players. And I wear that proudly as a badge of honor. I’m not willing to sacrifice my conservatism for the GOP or a particular candidate.

Erickson might not chuck conservatism “for the GOP or a particular candidate” but he does appear willing to “sacrifice his conservatism” when it threatens his paycheck.

Politico’s Ben Smith posted an article Wednesday shedding light on Erickson’s conscience-for-hire, providing yet another glimpse into Erickson’s well-documented ability to quickly spin away earlier views and inconvenient facts. No doubt he calls this flip flopping behavior “being objective” or something.

Erickson originally endorsed Tea Party candidate Jaime Radke in her Virginia GOP senate contest against establishment pick, and former senator, George Allen. Notice Erickson’s bold proclamation of how important it was to support the grassroots. That is … until he was told not to.

“This race may be the big grassroots vs. party establishment race of 2012 and a test of the tea party’s continued momentum,” wrote Erickson, who is also a CNN contributor.

[Erickson’s] endorsement, Jaime Radtke campaign manager Carter Wrenn said, gave the campaign a boost. But soon, he noticed that RedState wasn’t giving Radtke’s campaign much attention.

“The word came back to me that the people who own Human Events and RedState were for Allen and had asked Erickson to step back,” he said.

This summer, Radtke emailed Erickson to ask if she could speak and network at his RedState Convention earlier this month, to which she had not been invited.

Erickson responded in the August 4 email to Radtke, which her campaign manager Wrenn forwarded to POLITICO, with a frank explanation of why he couldn’t offer her a speaking slot.

“[M]y bosses are HUGE Allen friends, not just fans. They are socially connected,” he wrote. “So I’m having to tread carefully in this. Happy to help, but it’s got me in a difficult position. So please come and let me introduce you to people, but just understand that I have to be delicate for now.”

Erickson did, ultimately, allow Radtke to introduce Stephen Bannon, the director of the Sarah Palin film The Undefeated in which Radtke appears. He did so, Wrenn told Radtke, because the Eagle officials weren’t present. Radtke didn’t respond to a request, through Wrenn, for an interview.

Erickson responded in an email to POLITICO that the Eagle officials hadn’t forbade him from taking sides, but simply “asked [that Erickson] go slower in evaluating that race instead of diving in head first.”

“It was not a commandment or order, but out of respect to the long-term relationship a George Allen has with Eagle, I thought it was a reasonable request I was happy to accommodate,” he said. “As it turns out, I don’t really see any way George Allen gets beaten and I’d rather focus resources in Indiana and elsewhere.”

I’m not taking sides in the Radtke vs. Allen battle. Nor do I have any issues with the Eagle officials since they are businessmen like any others who’ve got the right to support the candidates of their choice. I can similarly understand Erickson’s need to respect his bosses’ wishes.

What’s troubling is Erickson’s delusional self-portrayal as this “idealistic pure conservative” who won’t allow anyone or anything to sway his positions when the truth shows otherwise time and time again. It’s nothing but spin.

Erickson’s initial support of Radtke as evidenced by his promotion of her articles — to his rapid turnaround toward openly mocking her — makes him seem like an insincere, self-serving flake. (Remember when he promised to provide the names behind the Will Folks smearing of Nikki Haley, then quickly changed his mind on that, too?)

That was precisely the point of my C4P post about RedState’s hypocrisy with regard to covering candidates. They don’t promote conservatism. They promote flavors of the month. In his nonsensical, self-martyring response Wednesday, Erickson dismissed all these facts I laid out in the piece, and chose to focus on one C4P reader comment calling him a “hack” out of more than 150 comments.

I’ll just close by pointing out the irony that on the same day Erickson talked proudly about wearing badge of honor for being a “non-team player” he devoted two columns to hyping Perry’s candidacy. In the first one he cited a PPP poll which has Perry up, as a likely sign of his winning the primary. He cited a Gallup poll in the other piece as proof that Palin should not think the nomination is hers for taking if she runs.

Funny how Erickson forgot to mention this inconvenient piece of info from the PPP poll:

Independents view him (Perry) negatively already by an almost 2:1 margin, 29/55, and Democrats pretty universally give him bad ratings at a 10/71 spread. As a result Obama leads Perry thanks in large part to a 24-point advantage with independents at 56-32.

To Erickson’s mind, Perry’s negative numbers are neither worthy of being mentioned nor a sign of him being unelectable. But Palin’s high disapproval figures are reason to believe she has been made radioactive. — despite the fact that unlike Perry, she hasn’t even begun to campaign, and she has already had everything including the kitchen sink thrown at her for three years.

Two candidates. Two different standards at RedState. Par for the course.

The internal politics at RedState are irrelevant save that all conservatives should be made aware that the information there is tainted. Erickson’s views time and again are based on additional factors besides the promotion of “conservatism.” Sometimes it’s about his own bottomline.

In consuming the information provided at RedState, it should be buyer beware.


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