Steve Stockman Had a Cunning Plan

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 14 2014 4:59 PM

Steve Stockman Had a Cunning Plan

It may be the only thing I wrote this week that anyone cares about, so let me recorrect and restraighten the record about it: Steve Stockman's hot tub party. Floyd Brown, the towering creator of the 1988 Willie Horton campaign, uses his column at WorldNetDaily to whack at the media's coverage of it. I quote him quoting WaPo, then his own words.

The Washington Post characterized it this way: “The real-life CPAC party, held at a suite in the Gaylord Hotel where the conference was taking place, featured an expletive-spewing congressman, Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, offering $20 to whoever would jump into the bathroom’s hot tub, according to Slate’s Dave Weigel. Weigel witnessed Stockman, the quirky challenger who was just crushed by Sen. John Cornyn in the state’s Senate Republican primary, offer this eloquent toast: ‘F–- the left!’”  
First, Stockman wasn’t drinking alcohol at the party. The hot tub was outside and not in a bathroom. Everyone in the hot tub had bathing suits on. This is just another mainstream media hit job that fabricated facts.
Advertisement

OK, it's true that WaPo (not me) muffed the location of the hot tub. It was outside. I never said otherwise, and the photos prove it. I didn't ask Stockman what he was drinking (who cared?), but it was, I'll say, browner than spring water typically is. No one claimed the hot tub party was naked—that would have been the lede.

But Brown's writing about something else. "Stockman did exactly what he set out to achieve," he argues. "He knew Karl Rove was intent on taking him out in his congressional primary, so he upped the ante and forced Rove to spend millions protecting his crown jewel, John Cornyn."

That doesn't make sense. Stockman didn't have a primary opponent. When he filed for Senate, on Dec. 9, no one credible had filed to run against him in the House race. Brown says Stockman forced Cornyn-allied groups to spend up to "$10 million" against him. We need to wait to see the final total, but the pro-Cornyn PAC Texans for a Conservative Majority spent only $1 million before the start of early voting. And Cornyn was facing a bunch of Tea Party candidates who ran harder than Stockman did. It's not like the money wouldn't have moved if Stockman hadn't sleepwalked into the race.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

There Are New Abuse Allegations Against Adrian Peterson

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

John Oliver Pleads for Scotland to Stay With the U.K.

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Jurisprudence

Don’t Expect Adrian Peterson to Go to Prison

In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 

The Juice

Ford’s Big Gamble

It’s completely transforming America’s best-selling vehicle.

I Tried to Write an Honest Profile of One of Bollywood’s Biggest Stars. It Didn’t Go Well.

Here’s Why College Women Don’t Take Rape Allegations to the Police

The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 1:51 PM Here’s Why College Women Don’t Take Rape Allegations to the Police
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 15 2014 4:38 PM What Is Straight Ice Cream?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 15 2014 4:49 PM Cheetah Robot Is Now Wireless and Gallivanting on MIT’s Campus
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 15 2014 11:00 AM The Comet and the Cosmic Beehive
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.