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Also at The Albany Project

The search for a Republican challenger to the excellent Senator Kirsten Gillibrand who is known beyond his family/friends has apparently found Dan Senor, according to the New York Times.

Senor is best known as the neocon flack who worked for the Bush/Cheney campaign at the Coalition Provisional Authority in the war's first year.

In keeping with its serial promotion of Gillibrand opponents, the Times spends less than a sentence on Senor in Iraq -- most of the story is about all the GOP bigwigs (Rudy 9/11, John Cornyn, Lindsay Graham, etc.) who are desperate for someone other than the two no-names who've announced so far.

Desperate indeed, to support a guy with Senor's risky record just because he's been on Fox News a lot and can raise the requisite money from the Bush/neocon network.

Details, below.


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Way back in 2003, Josh Marshall of TPM co-wrote an article in The Washington Monthly about the young Republican hacks sent to Iraq who generally screwed things up.

Senor was one of them:

By making partisan loyalty their primary criteria, the administration ruled out most of the people with experience in the field and restricted themselves to politically trustworthy Republicans, many of whom, though often well-meaning and admirably willing to serve their country in a very dangerous place, had little to no experience to prepare them for the challenges they'd encounter in Iraq.

A typical example is Dan Senor. Before attending Harvard Business School from 1999 to 2001, Senor was a staffer for then-Sen. Spencer Abraham of Michigan. After receiving his MBA, he went to the Carlyle Group, where he was a venture capitalist from 2001 to 2003. Senor left Carlyle in 2003 for a brief stint as White House Press Secretary Scott McLellan's deputy before shipping off to Iraq. Though he showed up in Iraq as a junior press handler, Senor is now Bremer's senior advisor and for most of last summer he was in charge of organizing Iraq's post-Saddam media, an effort which most have rated as little short of a disaster.

The anonymous quotes in the article about partisan true-believers like young Senor are devastating, especially considering there was a war on:
"Everything is seen in the context of the election, and how they will screw the Democrats. It was really pretty shocking to hear them talk."

"They are all on the campaign trail. They see this as a stepping stone to a better job in the next Bush administration."

"I don't always know if they are Republicans, but what is clear is that they know nothing about development, and nothing about transitional economies. ... They do what they do without any knowledge of how the post-war world works in reality. They come up with hare-brained schemes that cause so many problems they take more time to fix than to create."

Josh still holds Senor in low regard, here's what he had to say today at TPM:
As a publisher and editor, I have to confess that entertainment value is an important consideration for me as I think who I'd like to see get into a campaign this fall. We took a big hit yesterday when Ralph Reed announced he's not running for Congress. On the other hand, there's increasing evidence that Dan Senor, chief spokesman for Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq during the early glory days, is seriously looking at running against Kirsten Gillibrand in New York. So all hope is not lost.


Even though the New York state Democratic party is in a bizarre state of scandal-induced free fall, the GOP can't seem to nominate any remotely serious candidates to run at the state level.

OK, Josh is one of us, but even Jim Krane of the Associated Press noticed (in April 2004) how "GOP operatives lead at Iraq press office":
Inside the marble-floored palace hall that serves as the press office of the U.S.-led coalition, Republican Party operatives lead a team of Americans who promote mostly good news about Iraq.

Dan Senor, a former press secretary for Spencer Abraham, the Michigan Republican who's now Energy Secretary, heads the office that includes a large number of former Bush campaign workers, political appointees and ex-Capitol Hill staffers.


The U.S. team stands in deep contrast to the British team that works alongside it, almost all of whom are civil or foreign service employees, not political appointees. Many of the British in Iraq display regional knowledge or language skills that most of the Americans lack.


Several coalition officials angered by what they see as CPA politicking — with U.S. accomplishments in Iraq being trumpeted to help Bush — grumbled privately, but would not go on record with complaints.

But Gordon Robison, a former CPA contractor who helped build the Pentagon-funded Al-Iraqiya television station in Baghdad, said Republicans in the press room intensely followed the Democratic presidential primaries as John Kerry emerged as the presumed nominee.

"Iraq is in danger of costing George W. Bush his presidency and the CPA's media staff are determined to see that does not happen," Robison said. "I had the impression in dealing with the civilians in the Green Room that they viewed their job as essentially political, promoting what the Coalition Provisional Authority is doing in Iraq as a political arm of the Bush administration."


One CPA staffer who spoke on condition of anonymity said the press office had sent targeted "good news" releases to American television, radio and newspaper outlets that were timed to deflect criticism of Bush during the Democratic primaries.

Iraq has been relatively pacified, and is less in the news these days. But back when Senor was spinning for the Bush/Cheney campaign, Iraq was a mess that got a lot worse when he was there.

And Senor's lies about that (Abu Ghraib torture, Jessica Lynch, WMDs, etc.) are, in this Internet age, all on the record.

There's more to Senor's resume than his 15 months in Iraq, but none of it qualifies him to be a Senator from New York -- AIPAC staffer, press secretary to the forgettable Spencer Abraham, Harvard MBA (like Dubya and many others who have worked assiduously to screw the middle class), a stint at the Bush-connected Carlyle Group, and his current hedge fund gig that trades on his Bush connections.

So Senor can obviously raise millions from the Bush/neocon network -- good thing for him, because he'll need a lot of money to convince New Yorkers that they might prefer a profiteering Bush/neocon liar to the excellent Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand.

IMO, Gillibrand would beat well-known Republican challengers like Rudy 9/11 or Pataki.

And she would beat a little-known, serial-lying Bush war-flack even moreso.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to devtob on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 05:40 PM PST.

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