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Sat Feb 20, 2021, 10:47 PM

The Lincoln Project's Implosion Has Derailed Its Founders' Plan for a Media Empire



If the meteoric rise of the Lincoln Project—a collection of longtime Republican operatives who branded themselves Never-Trumpers—seemed to happen overnight, the organization’s downfall has been just as dramatic. In the course of a week, damning report after damning report has come out about the group: that cofounder John Weaver allegedly sexually harassed more than 20 young men (allegations he acknowledged in an apology); that it funneled more than $50 million of the roughly $90 million it raised into firms with ties to its members; that senior members of the independent legal team hired by the Lincoln Project to perform a “comprehensive review” of its “operations and culture” are in fact donors to the super PAC themselves. That executives at the organization—including Steve Schmidt—may have known about allegations against Weaver before they were made public. (Schmidt has denied prior knowledge of the allegations. In a statement, the Lincoln Project said it had been “betrayed and deceived” by Weaver.) If true, the stories, which have blasted through the group with bombshell force, represent a spectacular and horrific denouement.

In response, many of the Lincoln Project’s members have fallen back on their favorite mantra: Donald Trump is worse. “You know who would be the happiest man in the world if he knew he’d never have to deal with [Lincoln Project] again? Donald Trump,” tweeted cofounder Stuart Stevens last week. “Pick a side. I’m with [Lincoln Project].” He then urged readers to stand with the group. “Most effective Super PAC in US history,” Stevens wrote. (In fact, though the Lincoln Project’s viral attack ads racked up millions of views, the videos seemingly didn’t do much to accomplish their stated goal of swaying the GOP electorate. Trump received a larger share of the Republican vote nationally in 2020 than he did in 2016.) Others appeared resigned. “Just shut it down already,” wrote Kurt Bardella, who departed from his position as a senior adviser amid the whirlwind of bad press. George Conway, another since-departed cofounder, likewise tweeted that, at this point, shuttering the PAC is the “right” move. On Thursday, the Lincoln Project announced the formation of a “transition advisory committee” that will support the internal investigation of Weaver, as well as a “Stewardship Report” to outline its finances.

As the organization flounders, its plans for the future have been thrown into doubt. The group’s stars had planned to work for Israeli prime minister hopeful Gideon Sa’ar in his bid against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an election that will be held in March. Sa’ar’s campaign had brought on the Lincoln Project's Schmidt, Reed Galen, Stevens, and Rick Wilson a few weeks ago in the hopes that the group’s aggressive attack ads would work against Netanyahu, but their relationship has since been dissolved, according to a Tuesday report in the Jerusalem Post. Just before the 2020 election, Axios reported that the Lincoln Project had potential plans for a sprawling media organization—Lincoln Media—and had been approached by “several media and entertainment companies and podcast platforms looking to launch franchises from its brand.” Those talks reportedly included interest from a TV studio in developing a fiction series; queries from networks about streaming the Lincoln Project’s proprietary show, LPTV; and potentially creating a nonfiction film. The organization had planned to launch a revamped version of its podcast, telling Axios it would be “unveiling new episodes imminently” and expanding its LPTV programming “in the coming weeks.” Those plans are now, presumably, in limbo.

The Lincoln Project’s founders are feeling the fallout on an individual level too. While it failed in its stated mission, the organization succeeded in boosting the media profiles and lining the pockets of its star members, which, some critics argue, may have been its real goal all along. Schmidt, who is alleged to have known about the allegations against Weaver as early as last March according to The 19th, but has claimed that he became aware of them when they were made public in January, used the group’s success to become a staple MSNBC contributor; he appeared on former top Bush aide Nicolle Wallace’s show, Deadline: White House, at least 34 times since the group’s launch. Despite being introduced as an MSNBC contributor as recently as last weekend, when he was a guest on Bill Maher’s talk show, and appearing on the network to discuss Trump’s acquittal, a source familiar with Schmidt’s standing confirmed that he is no longer a contributor.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/02/lincoln-projects-derailed-plan-for-media-empire

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Reply The Lincoln Project's Implosion Has Derailed Its Founders' Plan for a Media Empire (Original post)
demmiblue Feb 2021 OP
Takket Feb 2021 #1
Autumn Feb 2021 #2
demmiblue Feb 2021 #4
ChubbyStar Feb 2021 #5
RockRaven Feb 2021 #3
ChubbyStar Feb 2021 #6
ananda Feb 2021 #17
Sympthsical Feb 2021 #7
lunatica Feb 2021 #29
relayerbob Feb 2021 #8
Hortensis Feb 2021 #14
Binkie The Clown Feb 2021 #9
Thekaspervote Feb 2021 #10
DeminPennswoods Feb 2021 #11
JNelson6563 Feb 2021 #12
radius777 Feb 2021 #13
onetexan Feb 2021 #15
uponit7771 Feb 2021 #20
onetexan Feb 2021 #21
demmiblue Feb 2021 #23
onetexan Feb 2021 #25
demmiblue Feb 2021 #27
onetexan Feb 2021 #30
radius777 Feb 2021 #22
peggysue2 Feb 2021 #28
LeftInTX Feb 2021 #16
CTyankee Feb 2021 #18
uponit7771 Feb 2021 #19
WarGamer Feb 2021 #24
WhiskeyGrinder Feb 2021 #26

Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 10:50 PM

1. they served a purpose for us and I'm grateful they did.

if they fold now, i don't really care honestly. they'll be supporting non-drumpf rethugs in the future, not Democrats.

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 10:51 PM

2. The LP imploded? Color me shocked!

Nah, not really. Republicans being Republicans because we all know a leopard can't change it's spots.

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Response to Autumn (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 10:53 PM

4. So much for the generational wealth.

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Response to Autumn (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 10:55 PM

5. Looking at that photo reminds me of a saying my late Mom had

"Good God, even a piece of shit looks good in a suit."

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 10:52 PM

3. Good. They are career Republican shitheads, even if they are also anti-Trump/Trumpism.

Don't mistake enemy's enemies for friends. They have decades of public awfulness on their records. Now we know some of their terrible private shit too. A pox on all of them. Get into history's dustbin.

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Response to RockRaven (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 10:57 PM

6. Clean Up On Aisle Shithead

I love you!

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Response to RockRaven (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 21, 2021, 08:03 AM

17. I hope Dems learned something from them.

EG, how to fight and make fantastic, targeted ads!

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 10:57 PM

7. Oh no, the grift's drying up

Such a shame. Or is this another Republican hit from that notorious right-wing rag Vanity Fair?

I love how they truly think everyone's an idiot. "If you're not for us, you're for Trump!" Really, Stuart? You think that works? What are we, twelve?

Lord. You made some Twitter ads people liked. The end. Move along. The Democratic party does not need to support a bunch of Republican media parasites.

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Response to Sympthsical (Reply #7)

Sun Feb 21, 2021, 08:24 PM

29. It wasn't just that people liked the ads. It was that they were factual

Most Democrats prefer facts and the truth in politics. If we had felt their ads were just another Republican propaganda effort we would never “like” their ads.

Having said that it was never wise to think they were on our side.

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 11:16 PM

8. Well, they certainly proved to be Goppers

Even if they helped some (which sounds debatable).

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Response to relayerbob (Reply #8)

Sun Feb 21, 2021, 05:52 AM

14. If they were, they could have raped staffers on Fifth Avenue

and be surrounded by 60 million loyal Republicans who'd make sure they got away with it.

Their alliance with our side, which has incredibly higher standards and apparently absolutely no fellowship where they're concerned, brought them down. Rather spectacularly considering the big crime was a member privately coming on to a bunch of young staffers, and purportedly making them feel a relationship would benefit their careers. If the latter was true, it was despicable. But in today's world the allegation is the crime, no need for anyone to prove it true or have damage to career, and this has been far, far, far, incredibly far, more damaging than Trump's rape(s) or Gym Jordan's depraved betrayal of students have ever been and apparently could ever be.

Just wish I had a twenty for every guy who hit on me at work and took refusal decently... Wouldn't exactly be rich, but it'd buy something nice. Oh, forgot: OH, the trauma!!! That too of course.

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 11:46 PM

9. They were useful while they lasted. I'm just glad they didn't last too long. nt

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Sun Feb 21, 2021, 01:30 AM

10. There were several reports following the election including one from the NYT, that although their

Ads were great they did little to influence voters.

It actually makes sense, we all watched and loved them, but I highly doubt the hard core repukes watched or were influenced.

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Sun Feb 21, 2021, 01:35 AM

11. Schmidt's appearances with Wallace

were more a function of them having worked together on McCain's presidential campaign as anything else imo.

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Sun Feb 21, 2021, 04:31 AM

12. Hello Lincoln Project!

Welcome to the Karma Cafe, You're table is ready....

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Sun Feb 21, 2021, 04:52 AM

13. The success of TLP proved Dems want a tougher media-savvy approach,

and are tired of the 'high road' approach that just doesn't work in this day and age.

TLP raised tons of money and got on TV etc because they made great ads that trolled Trump/GOP, and were merciless. They fought back online in Twitter face offs, so that the Trumpers did not control that space as they did in 2016.

The Meidas Touch is another group which did a good job with creating tougher ads.

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Response to radius777 (Reply #13)

Sun Feb 21, 2021, 06:13 AM

15. +1 -K&R. To me 1 rotten apple shouldn't have to spoil the bunch

The article paints a more damning picture than it really is. Think matt lauer, charlie rose, etc. They were kicked out of their media empires but the organization remained in tact. TLP has condemned this fella & distanced themselves from it.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend . Theres no denying the hardhitting ads contributed to the Con's demise in the polls & eventually the election, & TLP deserves great credit & respect for that. The other founders are decent, patriotic citizens, whether they are/were republicans or not, and they did the right thing in speaking out against the threat of fascism.

Bottom line as long as there is threat to democracy groups like TLP must exist. Im not going to throw them under just because of 1 rotten apple.

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Response to onetexan (Reply #15)

Sun Feb 21, 2021, 09:21 AM

20. +1, unless that person was a financier I don't know why they can't move on past him

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Response to uponit7771 (Reply #20)

Sun Feb 21, 2021, 09:54 AM

21. Doesn't matter. They can get other financing

Some ppl are just too eager to throw a good person or organization under the bus. Look what happened to al franken.

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Response to onetexan (Reply #21)

Sun Feb 21, 2021, 04:04 PM

23. Comparing these folks to Al Franken is just...

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Response to demmiblue (Reply #23)

Sun Feb 21, 2021, 06:05 PM

25. oh go ahead and lump them all in as bad, why don't you? Steve Shmidt was one & left the GOP. He's a

bad guy too?

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Response to onetexan (Reply #25)

Sun Feb 21, 2021, 06:17 PM

27. I actually don't lump them all in as bad...for example, I do think Bardella has turned the corner.

I could be proven wrong, of course... and I would be fine with that. Schmidt, on the other hand, I totally believe is an opportunist. To answer you question, yes I do believe opportunists are bad people.

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Response to demmiblue (Reply #27)

Mon Feb 22, 2021, 12:51 AM

30. Oy vey. Schmidt renounced his GOP party & ledt TLP

He is 100% in support of Biden &Dems. Do we need to rehash the fact that we are a big tent party? I'm thankful him, bardella, &others have crossed over to the right side. Their strengths as communicators will help Dems in our fight to retain democracy. You cant fault them for that.

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Response to onetexan (Reply #15)

Sun Feb 21, 2021, 02:42 PM

22. There are political motivations to taking them down,

not just on the right but on the far-left who views TLP as 'bringing Republicans into the party and pushing us center'. IOW, the anti-TLP forces are fearful of TLP's effectiveness. Biden did better in the suburbs and with independents than Hillary did, with precisely the type of voter that TLP spent alot of time and effort targeting. Biden also did better with new and young voters who don't understand much about politics but do understand toughness and trolling skills.

Politics in this day and age are about winning social media wars and without that people view you as weak or absent from the conversation. TLP stepped up and were visible stars on TV and online - we all knew who they were and they were fearless in taking on the worst of the right wing. Schmidt and Wilson regularly got into it with Don Jr etc delivering serious body blows. They kept the morale of Dems high during the Trump years when everything seemed lost.

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Response to onetexan (Reply #15)

Sun Feb 21, 2021, 06:34 PM

28. Agreed!

If LP cleans up its act, follows through with the independent investigation and transparency it has promised, then it can reorganize and still be a useful component in setting fire to all Trumpist dreamers and schemers for 2022, 2024 and beyond.

I've said from the start that strange times requires strange bedfellows. That's with the exception of someone like John Weaver who sounds as if he's been a serious, disgusting predator and serial liar. The stuff with the money and the sexist accusations from the leadership will be investigated and revealed. But I think it's noteworthy that there are many volunteers and other worker bees who have not abandoned ship, still believe in the mission and are willing to continue the work until the investigation is completed.

So, for me? I'm in wait and see mode while still enjoying the thought-provoking podcasts and TV.

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Response to radius777 (Reply #13)

Sun Feb 21, 2021, 06:44 AM

16. I agree. The Democratic ads are too touchy feely

TLP ads were also very entertaining
80's retro
70's movie retro..
Very creative and cool. and of course hard hitting.
Dems are too timid "to go there", but TLP goes there every time.

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Response to LeftInTX (Reply #16)

Sun Feb 21, 2021, 08:13 AM

18. Yes, I think we learned something from the experience. That is, how to get inside repukes heads.

It's as if the playiing ground shifted under our feet and we needed to identify that shift and mold our ads accordingly.

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Response to radius777 (Reply #13)

Sun Feb 21, 2021, 09:20 AM

19. THIS !!!! ☝🏾☝🏾☝🏾, Dems conflate high road with being cordial. We can hit em with truth

Last edited Sun Feb 21, 2021, 11:26 AM - Edit history (1)

... and still go high

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Sun Feb 21, 2021, 04:16 PM

24. Scumbags who put on a Blue uniform are still scumbags.

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Sun Feb 21, 2021, 06:15 PM

26. lmaoooooo

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