It figures that when the Washington Post hired a token conservative, they apparently hired someone completely ignorant of the conservative blogosphere. Apparently, they also hired someone who is completely ignorant of even recent Republican political history. Behold her latest offering in her quixotic campaign against the SBA List pledge:
One final point: Billy Valentine, SBA’s deputy director who fielded questions all day Saturday, was a visible and bitter anti-Romney critic and student activist in 2008. In a voicemail message, his boss acknowledged that Valentine had done “some anti-Romney campaign things” before she hired him.
The implication, in case you missed it, is that Billy Valentine (and by extension the SBA List) is really a stalking horse for anti-Romney forces in the conservative movement: therefore their pledge is not objective and should not be taken seriously. Heck, according to Rubin, it was probably written just to trip Romney up. Rubin even lays the breadcrumbs out for you, “Judge for yourself what is going on here” and further claiming that SBA List’s “allegiances and decision-making process are not transparent.”
Allow me to set the record straight on this bit of dishonest hackery. Billy Valentine is a friend of mine and has been since we worked together on the Sam Brownback for President campaign in 2007-2008 (the time period during which Jen Rubin is surprised to find that Billy was saying critical things about Mitt Romney). Billy was probably the most dedicated guy I met on the entire staff to the Brownback campaign – and the reason for this is simple: Billy is one of the most committed pro-lifers I have ever known and he viewed Brownback as the most vocal pro-life advocate in the field. When I discovered that he was working for a pro-life organization like SBA List, it made perfect logical sense to me; I couldn’t imagine him doing anything else.
The Brownback campaign’s path to victory, more than perhaps any other campaign in that season, necessarily included a win in Iowa. Brownback was from a Midwest state, he could talk with knowledge about agricultural issues due to his background, and he just had no hope of playing as well in NH or SC. The campaign was thus all-in on Iowa, but there was only one problem: Mitt Romney was dumping millions and millions of dollars into Iowa in an all-out blitz to win the state. This made Romney target number one for the campaign, as a matter of basic political strategy. When the campaign was over, many of Brownback’s staffers went to McCain, where Romney was once again the main rival. Brownback himself endorsed McCain and encouraged his people to do the same.
This is basic politics, and it certainly doesn’t indicate that Billy Valentine has any personal animus towards Mitt Romney. And only a charlatan would take the further step of smearing the entire SBA List organization by claiming that their pledge was somehow cooked against Romney or that they are working out some personal vendetta of Billy Valentine’s by… apparently forcing Mitt Romney to refuse to sign the pledge. I myself said countless critical things about Mitt Romney during the course of the campaign and after Brownback dropped out I endorsed Romney for President. I would wager to say that the vast majority of people who work in conservative orgs today have past experience in Republican primary campaigns and have thus gone on the record against other Republicans – that doesn’t make their entire organization suspect when they criticize that same Republican, at least in the mind of anyone possessed of even a shred of intellectual honesty.
The truth about Billy Valentine as I have known him is that the only personal animus he has is an animus against the killing of the unborn. That goes double for SBA List. This, of course, is incomprehensible to a pretend conservative like Jen Rubin and so she assumes that Valentine and SBA List must just not like Romney. Or maybe I’m wrong – people keep telling me Rubin is smart, so maybe she knows this attack is full of crap and she’s hiding some other agenda. After all, her “allegiances and decision-making are not transparent.” But when it comes to SBA List, there is still no evidence that they have any allegiance other to the unborn.