The Corner

‘You Could Have All the Money in the World, but One Guy with a Video Camera Can Make a Difference’

That, for David Corn of Mother Jones, was the major lesson of the infamous “47 percent” video that may or may not have derailed the Romney campaign. Corn shared the insight in the context of the self-outing of Scott Prouty, the heretofore anonymous videographer and Corn’s source, on MSNBC’s The Ed Show.

Corn has also written a breathless, overwrought tick-tock of his relationship with Prouty that makes the Florida bartender into the spy who came in from the cold, crediting the caterer-with-a-Canon for a “courageous and unprecedented act of whistle-blowing.” Should Prouty’s name have gotten out during the campaign, Corn ominously warned his Deep Throat, he’d end up in the Right’s “crosshairs,” and worse, liable to Nixonian “retribution from a Romney administration.” (SCENE: A shadow-drenched Oval Office; President Romney, fingers tented, addresses Attorney General John Yoo: “Say, John, I sure think it’d be appropriate, and Ann and I would sure enjoy it a great deal if you went ahead and added Scott Prouty to the Enemies Binder. Thanks so much.”)

That’s the flavor of it, but you can read the whole thing if you want further details on why Prouty’s taping constitutes the greatest act of American valor since the Bonhomme Richard took the HMS Serapis off of Flamborough Head.

Look, I actually like David Corn and respect him as a reporter, but two things really bug me about this whole affair. One, it’s highly unlikely that Prouty (who also seems like a fine dude) has changed American politics for the better. The end result, as Megan McArdle pointed out, is going to be stricter screening of The Help working fundraisers of both parties. Want to pour water for a third-rate senator for $8 an hour? Turn over your cell phone, narc. Two, the implication that somehow Mitt Romney in particular, or Republicans in general, are the only politicians who say one thing to donors and another to voters, is so naïve as to be laughable. Corn knows better. He’s been around long enough to know that politicians of every stripe always have and always will say things “among friends” that would be scandalous if leaked. He knows damned well that if there were flip-cams hidden in the centerpieces of every OFA fundraiser they’d produce a “47 percent” video or two, themselves.

Daniel Foster — Daniel Foster has been news editor of National Review Online since 2009, and was a web site editor until 2012. His work has appeared in The American Spectator, The American ...

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