Rebecca Mansour is Sarah Palin's web guru, aggressive online defender, and maybe a little bit of a troll. She's somewhat elusive, and the subject of much fascination among people in the part of the Venn diagram where interests in Palin minutae, Twitter, and gossip overlap. The Atlantic Wire falls into that space, naturally, and that's why The Daily Caller's Jonathan Strong's collection of Mansour's private messages is so fascinating. She indicates her boss was planning to run for president last summer, and that she thinks Mitt Romney is a joke, a conservative blogger is a jerk, and that Bristol Palin is a little bit embarrassing.
Strong was fowarded a set of Twitter direct messages Mansour dating back to last year. Interestingly, Politico's Ben Smith was offered the message cache, too--for a price. Smith says he got an email last fall from "one improbably named Toki de la Vega," who wanted a payout for 122 messages, some of which are identical to the ones Strong quoted. When Smith offered merely lunch and gratitude, Toki de la Vega wrote:
"Sorry, Ben, but it's going to take more than a happy meal and a hand shake to get me to betray someone's confidence. Only freshly printed 100 dollar bills help me get over feelings of guilt... Would it violate some fake journalistic ethics and standards to get me in contact someone who does pay? I know that the thought of blogging about this is making your panties wet. The topics range from Chuck Hagel to Ricky Hollywood and everything else in between. It's a f***ing blogger's gold mine."
Sounds like a charming guy! The Daily Caller says it didn't pay for the messages, and Smith is surprised the leaker didn't try Gawker, which does. The episode illustrates the "danger of talking to strangers" online for political staffers, Smith writes.
Still, Smith would have printed the messages. And so will we. They offer an interesting window into Team Palin--curiously, for example, Mansour calls Palin "BigBoss." Mansour did not give Strong any added context to the messages, other than to say her words are her own, not Palin's, and she was trying to "calm down" a Palin supporter.
On Palin's ambitions for higher office:
Mansour explains the boss "took a big risk in endorsing Nikki [Haley for South Carolina governor]. You don't pick a loser in SC. Very important state. Mitt has no hope of winning it, so... he could endorse a 4th place underdog 'cuz his strategy for '12 is ignore the South. SC is crucial to someone like the Gov. She took a risk."
On news that Palin's daughter was engaged to Levi Johnston (the two have since broken up):
"I wish they were the Cleavers too. But it's life."
"Two words: Patti Davis. Okay three more: Ron Reagan Junior. Two more: Billy Carter. Doesn’t your family have one?"
"She will hold her at arm's length. Even Thatcher was never able to disown her screw up son Mark. It's a Mom thing."
On Palin's rivals:
Mitt Romney's fans are "wacky as hell"--the real ones, that is, as Mansour thinks most of his online support is simply an "AstroTurf brigade."
"Would love to tell Mitt's lackeys to stop backstabbing my boss anonymously."
On prominent conservative blogger Erick Erickson of Red State:
Erickson is not only "a total douchebag," in Mansour's estimation, but also a "Greasy dumb ass with a talent for self-promotion."
On Joe McGinnis, who moved next door to Palin to write a book about her:
"Time to find a way to go medieval on this McGinniss. Don’t be fooled by the light tone of the [Facebook] post. The BigBoss is so upset by this."
"I was thinking more along the lines of mailing him a dead fish."