Sunday, February 24, 2013

Don't Miss This Surprisingly Good Piece on 'Gleeful Provocateur' Michael GoldFarb at the New York Times

This piece had me laughing a couple of times, which is unusual for the reporting at the Old Gray Lady.

See, "Michael Goldfarb Gleeful Provocateur at Intersection of Many Worlds":
At 11:42 a.m. on Feb. 14, a conservative online magazine called The Washington Free Beacon posted a dispatch about a speech Chuck Hagel gave in 2007 in which it said he called the State Department “an adjunct to the Israeli foreign minister’s office.”

The report was based on “contemporaneous” notes an attendee posted online. An hour later on the floor of the United States Senate, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina urgently cited that statement as another reason to delay Mr. Hagel’s nomination as defense secretary.

Mr. Hagel denied saying it, and no recording has surfaced. But after a successful filibuster against the nominee, a group called the Emergency Committee for Israel effectively declared partial victory and vowed to “redouble its efforts to bring to light Mr. Hagel’s complete record.”

All in all, it was a very bad day for Mr. Hagel, and a smashingly good one for the conservative political operative of the moment — Michael Goldfarb.

At 32, Mr. Goldfarb is a founder of The Free Beacon, which is gaining prominence as a conservative clarion; a onetime presidential campaign aide to Senator John McCain, who provided critical support for the filibuster; and the strategist for the Emergency Committee for Israel, an anonymously financed group that advertises against President Obama and Congressional Democrats as insufficiently supportive of Israel. On top of that, he is a partner at Orion Strategies, a consulting firm whose clients have included the national governments of Taiwan and Georgia.

An all-around anti-liberal provocateur, Mr. Goldfarb has blazed a trail in the new era of campaign finance, in which loosened restrictions have flooded the political world with cash for a whole new array of organizations that operate outside the traditional bounds of the parties.

Often working with money from major Republican donors, most of whom have preferred anonymity, Mr. Goldfarb has been in the middle of nearly every major partisan dispute of Mr. Obama’s presidency — over Iran, Israel, terrorism policy and now Mr. Hagel and guns. For a time, Mr. Goldfarb worked as a communications strategist to the leading bĂȘtes noires of liberals, the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.

Mr. Goldfarb did not come up via state politics, Capitol Hill or the Republican National Committee, proving grounds that made the careers of top party operatives like Lee Atwater, Karl Rove and Matt Rhoades, the campaign manager for Mitt Romney.

His career was spawned, rather, in the conservative confines of The Weekly Standard and allied organizations, namely the Project for the New American Century, which is well known for promoting the war in Iraq. He has since gone on to thrive in the influential world of outside ideological groups. Mr. Goldfarb, known as a flamethrower on both sides of the aisle, has achieved unparalleled hybrid status in the process.

In his work at The Free Beacon, for groups like the Emergency Committee for Israel and at Orion, he has combined a relatively new form of weaponized journalism, politicking and public policy into a potent mix.

“He’s at the intersection of a lot of different worlds,” said William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, who has been a boss, mentor and colleague to Mr. Goldfarb. He said Mr. Goldfarb was representative of a new generation of conservatives whose emergence at a low ebb of their party’s power has made them “a little more entrepreneurial, more outspoken and risk-taking — not so worried about moving up a corporate ladder.”

A wisecracking native of suburban Philadelphia, Mr. Goldfarb has described himself as a cudgel. His signature political attack can best be described as gleeful evisceration, which at times has exposed him to charges of going too far and of getting too personal.

The liberal writer Lee Fang got a taste when he wrote an article for The Nation linking work that Orion has done for Taiwan to articles in The Free Beacon voicing criticism of the Obama administration for blocking a sale to Taiwan of F-16 jets.

Mr. Goldfarb denied any connection between his work at Orion and the articles, saying he did not personally handle Taiwan’s account or write the articles.

But The Free Beacon responded viscerally, with a report featuring pictures of Mr. Fang — who formerly wrote for the anonymously financed liberal blog ThinkProgress that frequently attacks the Kochs — shirtless and blowing a thick cloud of smoke. The headline read: “High Times at The Nation.”

In an interview, Mr. Fang, 26, said the photographs were from college and could have been found only in his password-protected account with Photobucket. He said he had filed a police report to get to the bottom of it. He said he felt doubly violated because the photograph was in a file that included revealing shots of his girlfriend.

“I think he’s just out to hurt people,” said Mr. Fang, who first tangled with Mr. Goldfarb when he was writing for ThinkProgress about the Kochs. “I don’t understand what his greater goal is; what would be the perfect solution to fix the most serious problems in America?”

Though Mr. Goldfarb would not share how The Free Beacon obtained the photographs, he said in a telephone interview that they were publicly available and were secured by legal means.

As he tells it, he is simply trying to have fun while practicing his admittedly combative brand of politics — the humor of which, he said, his liberal critics are too self-serious to get.
Here's that piece, "High Times at the Nation." That alone is worth the price of this report. Man, that photo of Fang is hilarious --- perfectly encapsulating the stupidity of today's radical left-wing Democrats.

More seriously, check out the home page for the Emergency Committee on Israel, which features its YouTube ads right on the main page.

And don't miss the rest at NYT. A surprisingly pleasant read first thing Sunday morning.

Added: A Memeorandum thread.