Two inept spies, one microchip and a desperate looking Michigan Republican Party

Michigan GOPThe Michigan GOP have always been a special kind of nutty. But their latest stunt has a sort of James-Bond-after-dementia-has-set-in feel to it. This is a tale of two inept spies, one lost micro SD chip, and Michigan Republican debauchery.

It is no secret Michigan has had its share of troubles lately: The City of Detroit is the largest municipality ever to declare bankruptcy; Michigan’s unemployment rate is 5th highest in the nation; and its home to four of the ten most dangerous cities in the U.S. Given that, and the fact that Republicans control both Houses as well as the Governor’s office, you would think Michigan’s Republican Party would put all of its resources toward fixing Michigan’s economy. Nope, instead they launched a party wide effort to spy on Michigan Democrats. Trouble is, they recorded themselves and left their super-secret spy files behind.

Ring Leader: James Howting

James Howting has made a career out of going undercover into liberal institutions and goading people who work for them “into saying something stupid.” His antics started before he even left college. As reported by the NY Times back in 2012, Howting set up an elaborate website for an environmental company.  He then claimed to be an employee of this company who wanted to know how to go about forming a union. Oh, and he had one more question: If he formed a union, could his fellow workers join with the employer to shake down politicians for more money?

According to the Times, at this point, Rhea Byer-Ettinger, an organizer for Manhattan Together, felt her internal baloney detector go on red alert. “Beep, beep, beep,” she said. “I said to him: ‘Well, that’s not how we work. Tell me, why are you asking me about that?’ ”

Howting has also been accused by his fellow students of slathering tanning oil on his face and trying to pass as a Latino liberal activist. And lucky for the Michigan Republicans he has decided to put all this talent into training them on super-secret spying methods.

lil pineapple
Lil’ Pineapple

Super-Secret Spy Trainee #1: Natalie Colins

Natalie Colins, aka “Lil’ Pineapple,” Michigan GOP Regional Press Secretary, does most of the speaking on the tape. She is heard saying such gems as “I feel weird because no one else is eating. I just want pineapple.” She then agonizes over being photographed while eating pineapple and whether she should approach a candidate asking “Would you have,” or “Would you.” Apparently, past or present tense matters to thorough spies.

Super-Secret Spy Trainee #2: Collin Quarton

Collin Quarton, aka Conner Karcher, “17-year-old surfer, sailor, spy,” is seen on the video at an event for Mark Schauer and Ryan Fishman. This frat boy is seen on the video chickening out when he meets the candidate and running out of the Fishman event cursing himself for unknown reasons.

At one point on the tape both trainees sneak into a fundraising event, without paying, at a private donor’s home. While there, they get “creeped out” by a lady who might be on to them. They also meet the candidate, but instead of asking “tough questions” they are heard talking mostly about themselves. Again, they run out of the event in a hurry afraid they have been caught in the act of spying.

Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair, released this in response to the spying scandal: Rick Snyder and the Republicans may think they are 007 with all the spy gadgets. But when you embarrass yourself with blown secrets and your dirty trickster’s previous antics attracted national attention, you’re more Maxwell Smart than James Bond. It’s clear that Republican Gov. Snyder is getting desperate,” continued Johnson. “Snyder’s record of cutting our kids’ schools and raising taxes on seniors and families is catching up to him.”

This story has caught national attention and was eventually picked up by The Rachel Maddow Show. Despite all of their efforts they have yet to hit pay dirt and catch a single Democrat in a compromising position. Instead they have produced a comical video of how truly nutty this party has become. Why would any group waste this much time trying to trap a candidate? Maybe, just maybe, it’s because they can’t run an honest election and win.

The video is twelve minutes of pure comedy that rivals some of the best sitcoms on television today. Enjoy!



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