Yesterday, Unity08 CoWreckers Gerald Rafshoon and Douglas L. Bailey appeared before the National Press Club to announce that they were cashing in their Unity08 chits and forming a Draft Bloomberg campaign at draftmichaelbloomberg.com, a web domain that former Unity08 Vice President Bob Roth confirms was registered by Unity08 in June of 2007, back when Unity08 executives were swearing up and down that they weren’t stalking horses for any candidate. As Douglas L. Bailey himself stated in a deposition in April of 2007 (see page 76):
In every instance what we have been taking great pain, painstakingly taking care to say is that in this process we have no candidates and we are not encouraging people to run… by definition we are hands off, other than to explain to anybody how the process works…. I’m not aware of a single instance in which anybody in Unity08 has encouraged anybody to seek the Unity08 nomination in any form in any direct way.
But just five days before Unity08 registered the draftmichaelbloomberg.com domain name, Politico revealed secret conversations between Unity08 and Michael Bloomberg, the contents of which Rafshoon would not reveal:
Few in the political world are more keenly interested in the ramifications of “Mike’s Big Move” — as New York’s Daily News proclaimed Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision to sever his ties with the Republican Party — than former Carter White House official Gerald Rafshoon.
He and his partner, Hotline founder Doug Bailey, are the proud parents of Unity08, a group conceived to offer an alternative to next year’s Democratic and GOP nominees by building a “coalition from the middle” through an online convention.
And Rafshoon told Politico that Unity08 has been holding secret conversations with three candidates interested in running for Unity08′s nomination.
He declined to offer names, but he and Bailey also didn’t reject the notion that Bloomberg would be an attractive fit for Unity08 — an Internet army that could provide a Bloomberg candidacy with crucial foot soldiers.
“Although we had no prior knowledge of Mayor Bloomberg’s intentions, and we have no idea what it may or may not mean to Unity08, it is obvious that he, too, understands the need for common ground,” said Bailey, a former media consultant for President Gerald Ford.
Curious, isn’t it? Oh, I imagine the Federal Election Commission is especially curious right about now.
But, as I was saying, there were the two Unity08 CoWreckers, Gerald Rafshoon and Douglas L. Bailey, in front of the National Press Club yesterday, announcing their formation of a Draft Bloomberg movement, consisting of a website registered by Unity08 in June of 2007 days after secret talks with Bloomberg.
News media (despite two years of evidence that Bailey and Rafshoon couldn’t grassroots organize their way out of a paper bag) did as they were told and reported the story. The following are just a few of the news outlets that published news articles yesterday and today reporting the formation of the Bailey and Rafshoon’s Bloomberg “movement”:
That’s big-time news coverage for the unveiling of a “movement” consisting of two insiders asking people to visit draftmichaelbloomberg.com and sign a website petition.
What did all this media attention win Douglas L. Bailey and Gerald Rafshoon and their website?
815 signatures. This morning, at draftmichaelbloomberg.com, 815 people had ventured over to sign their names to the e-mail fundraising listserv generator, er, um, I mean “petition,” urging Michael Bloomberg to run for president.
News stories in seven major newspapers, a DC insider journal, one network news program and two cable news channels, and the Draft Bloomberg website gets 815 signatures?
How very not at all grassrootsy.