Unethical Quote Of The Month: Democratic Operative Paul Begala

“Voters do not give a shit. They do not even give a fart… Find me one persuadable voter who agrees with HRC on the issues but will vote against her because she has a non-archival-compliant email system and I’ll kiss your ass in Macy’s window and say it smells like roses.”

—Clinton enabler/mouthpiece/consultant Paul Begala, quoted in Politico’s essay by Gabriel Debendetti 


Begala, just in case you’ve forgotten, was the most loathsome of Bill Clinton’s paid defenders—deceitful, smug, arrogant, Machiavellian. I’ll confess my bias: along with Karl Rove, David Axelrod, Dick Morris, James Carville and his wife, Mary Matalin, and others whose names I am mercifully unaware of so far, Begala and his species are the scourge of the political culture as well as democracy itself. Their stock in trade is misrepresentation, and their objective is to make Americans ignorant, uncritical, lazy, compliant, and gullible. The contempt they have for Americans is palpable, as in Begala’s quote.

If voters, as Begala says, don’t “give a shit,” then it is the obligation of statesmen, journalists and pundits to enlighten them about the duty of responsible citizenship, and why it matters a great deal when a potential American leader hides her actions and words in violation of reasonable and important policies of her own agency designed to ensure transparency, prevent misconduct, protect secrecy and security, and engender public trust.

Begala, in contrast, seeks to deceive even in this vulgar statement. It isn’t a “non-archival-compliant email system” the public should care about, as he well knows. It is the duplicitous character and dangerous arrogance displayed by a candidate who breaks the rules she is supposed to oversee in an agency she leads, and then tries to con the public with the false and risible claim that her actions were “in the spirit” of the provisions she intentionally breached. I wouldn’t be surprised if Begala drafted that despicable language. It’s his style.

In addition to being misleading and vulgar, Begala’s cynical quote insults the public, which is not as dumb as he works so hard to make it, nor as devoid of respect for ethical values as he is. There are many voters whose belief in Clinton have been shaken by the double disclosures of her using the Clinton Foundation for foreign influence peddling and her deliberate skirting of government e-mail requirements.. I have spoken to quite a few of them, though I will not attempt to take Begala up on his wager, as I have too much respect for my ass to degrade it with close proximity to Paul Begala’s weasel face.


Pointer: Mediaite

24 thoughts on “Unethical Quote Of The Month: Democratic Operative Paul Begala

  1. Can’t argue with you on that one.

    You forgot, though, to add that Begala is also a plagiarist of sorts: that “ass-in-Macy’s-window” quote came from Lyndon Johnson, as I recall.

  2. And. of the examples you named, I’d put Begala in a class of his own. Those others are usually honest enough about what they do for a living and, while they are spinmeisters with the best of them, have occasionally shown outbursts of ethics that prove them to be a little more than political wolves. I can’t think of an example of that from Begala. He’s a very smart man, but a committed ideologue and utterly without scruples. The idea of someone like that in a position of unfettered authority in this country is enough to make my blood run cold. I think of him as a Che Guevara looking for a time and place to happen.

    • It’s rare I agree with you. It does happen though.

      He’s a very smart man, but a committed ideologue and utterly without scruples. The idea of someone like that in a position of unfettered authority in this country is enough to make my blood run cold. I think of him as a Che Guevara looking for a time and place to happen.

      Perfect summation.

      Where we may disagree is that I see all too many in power at the state level just like him. Some are (D), some are (R) but they’re all like that.

      While I seriously disagree with you in many areas, give me an ethical person of Integrity whose views differ from mine any day, rather than the usual politician (I use the word as an insult) whose views and mine apparently coincide.

      • When you have a leader or a high level minion with ethics, you’re unlikely to be in serious disagreement with him often. Character tends to speak for itself. At the very worst, you know where the guy’s coming from and what to expect. Guys like The Forehead are like water moccasins. They’ll not only give you a poisonous bite, but they’ll do it without warning and often without cause other than sheer viciousness… and keep on biting. I’d far rather have Carville & Wife as my next door neighbors. I’d probably have some good gumbo on Purchase Day, if nothing else!

  3. Didn’t Flo on Alice say, “Kiss my grits?” Handlers like this are radioactive, with too long a half-life. I’d also add Bill Cosby to the corrupters list as he previosly spoke for accountability.

  4. In college I always wondered what the heck “Political Science” was. Seemed like such a strange combination of words. Since the Clinton era, I’ve concluded it simply means “The Study of Getting Yourself or Someone Else Elected to Public Office by Whatever Means are Necessary.” I wish Shakespeare had written, “First we kill all the political consultants.”

  5. Isn’t this the same jerk who said of executive orders “stroke of the pen, law of the land. Kinda cool?” That should tell you all you need to know.

    • He did say that. He’s also said and done a number of things that make it evident to any sort of honest intellect that this is someone who holds America and its free institutions in the utmost contempt.

  6. Spin aside Begala is basically right. The latest scandal is not going to change people’s votes. The Clinton’s have been doing stuff like this for 35 years and remain fairly popular. How many people who would otherwise have voted for Hillary and are therefore ignoring every other reason to shun her are going to say that this e-mail thing is a game-changer?

    • As I said, I already know people, independents, ethical Democrats, who say that this is the tipping point on Hillary. Lincoln is still right: you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. The big thing: the news media isn’t burying this.

      • “Lincoln is still right: you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”
        Therein lies the problem. From the courthouse to the White House, it is only necessary to fool 51% of the people who actually bother to vote, once every four years. Apparently, this is fairly easy to do.

      • I’ve already seen articles asking if this means Martin O’Malley moves to the front of the line, and not from the conservative side. In writer’s parlance there is a trope called Even Evil Has Standards, and I think the combined flouting, arrogance, and entitlement are just too much for the powers that be in the media.

          • But Evil doesn’t have “standards”. It has cold practicality. A real life Joker, would only dump a Nazi accomplice, if it made sense pragmatically. That is to say, he wouldn’t dump the Nazi because the Nazi is “too evil”, but that because the Nazi is too evil, the police or good guys may step up efforts stopping the “gang”, therefore, dump the impediment.

        • It’s a great trope for writing and entertaining. But it’s not reality. “Even Evil Has Standards” in reality just means that evil has found a more profitable / likely to succeed angle from which to approach and will now cut losses and give up on previous avenues of approach.

          If the Left is giving up on Hillary (and I’m really not sure they are), all it means is they’ve got something we aren’t seeing up their sleeve. Don’t underestimate their calculating machine. If you think Hillary has a good chance of winning and they are giving up on her…then that means somewhere some calculation based on surveys and polls says that someone else is gonna be made an even bigger rockstar than Hillary.

          And don’t doubt for one second that the media won’t make that person a rock star.

          • It varies. Some folks, including, I think, some in the media and some in the Democratic Party, do have a “tipping point” at which they will no longer overlook someone’s wrong acts or defend them. Granted, sometimes it is pragmatic. It wouldn’t surprise me if, while the media has taken an eight-year nap under Obama, they fear being forced into becoming a de facto propaganda arm of the government under Hilary. It also wouldn’t surprise me if other prominent Democrats fear that under Hilary there would even less room for power-sharing and differences of opinion than there is now. They were quite content to see Obama attempt to turn this into a nation of one political party, at least on the national level, but I don’t think they want it to become a nation essentially of one person and one voice. Some of them might even still actually believe in the rule of law, and ask “if a powerful Hilary did this, what would an all-powerful Hilary do?”

            You speak in terms of a “rock star.” I do think Obama was initially a rock star because he brought certain qualities to the table…that ultimately turned out to be useless. Hilary doesn’t bring any of those qualities to the table, unless you count her gender as being one. She isn’t anything fresh, she’s more of the same after 8 years of Democrat rule. She isn’t young, in fact she would be the third oldest president to be sworn in if she were elected. She isn’t an outsider, in fact she is the ultimate insider. She doesn’t even have the dubious quality of being an unknown quantity. She has a record, a record of lying, dissembling, collecting fat fees for canned speeches, and trying to handwave her failures. Most importantly, the nation is not in a much better state now than it was in 2008. Obama painted himself as some kind of Messiah, but he sure as the devil didn’t produce any miracles. America isn’t going to fall for that again, especially not if the next GOP nominee comes in with a plan that’s better than four more years of the same stuff.

            • Good overview, and one that necessarily asks: what is there to make anyone want to vote for her? First woman POTUS? Bill’s wife? Unimpressive Senator, weak SOS, poor speaker, negative charisma? She’s Vince DiMaggio, Danny Baldwin, Billy Ripkin, Jeremy Giambi,Mike Maddux, Dick Sisler, Ozzie Canseco, Shemp Howard; she’s Adlai Stevenson V, she’s Ajax the Lesser, she’s Pattie Andrews, Mortimer Snerd, Hushpuppy, The New Muppet Show, Jurassic Park 3, Godfather 3, Rocky 5, Billy Conigliaro, Bob Crosby, David Limbaugh, Frank Sinatra Jr., Fredo, “The Phantom Menace,” Peppermint Patty, “The Girl From U.N.C.L.E”, “Annie II”, the remake of “Stagecoach” (with Alex Cord in the Duke’s role); Jayne Meadows, “The Brady Bunch Variety Hour”, “The Pirate Movie,” “The Regis Philbin Show,” the Campfire Girls, professional soccer, Jerry Van Dyke, Furlin Huskey, Nancy Sinatra, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr, Robert Lincoln.

              They can claim she’s a star all you want, but she isn’t, never was, and can’t be, and saying otherwise won’t change what people can sense.

  7. Oh come on, you guys. Have fun arguing facts, presenting facts that the general public doesn’t know or care about. Your opinions on this blog are interesting, but they go nowhere, and do nothing. (I do take exception to the Sweet Briar post, which has become a rallying point for change. This particular post will never reach that impact.) The fact of the matter is that the national voting public comprises: (1) IQ 80s; (2) those who believe what they are told; and (3) differ so far from the Founders’ idea of an intelligent, discerning voting public that it blows the mind. (Reminder again of the famous Stalin quote: “Ideas are more powerful than guns. We don’t allow people to have guns, so why should we let them have ideas?”)

    Argue all you want about the 2016 Presidential election: it all comes down to (pardon me again) who blows whom with best effect, and who can get the media to buy into them (no pun intended).

    It’s like Vegas: look at it even half-way seriously and you know the game is fixed.

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