ANNALS OF ANTHROPOLOGY  11:28 am October 30, 2008

Robert Draper Reveals How He Seduced McCain Campaign Into Telling Him Things

by Sara K. Smith

GQ editors have a thirst for adventureThis Draper cat is our new journalistic hero. While we were all sitting around in late August typing out “Oh who is Barack Obama going to pick for his Veep, and how does one assemble this complicated Ikea cabinet” on our elitist Macs he was in SOMALIA, trying not to get KIDNAPPED. He is basically your modern-day Indiana Jones, studied in the obscure traditions and quaintly superstitious folkways of an ancient band of bullet-headed goons and moose hunters called “Republicans.” Let’s learn how he infiltrated their tribe and got them to reveal all their embarrassing secrets!

Apparently it was by cultivating sources or something?

It helped that I had contacts in the McCain campaign from the previous GQ stories I had done and I had a lot of contacts in Bush world. A lot of those people had gone to work for John McCain. That led to their belief that they’d get fair-handed treatment from me. And we’re talking about The New York Times, with whom they have an adversarial relationship.…I think their calculation was, if they’re ever going to get a fair shake from The New York Times, it’s going to be with Draper.

Hmm, “fair shake.” Haven’t heard of it.

In being there, you can develop relationships with people on the campaign. You can’t do that by sitting on your butt at home watching YouTube. If you’re out there watching them do their thing, then go out in the evening and have a beer with them and talk to them about what’s just transpired, then you set yourself up for what could be a series of interesting interviews.…[And] that sort of proximity isn’t earned overnight. I didn’t contact the McCain campaign and say, “I’m going to do this story and I demand intimate access.” You have to earn your trust with these people. And I did, over a lengthy period of time.

Wow, this actually sounds like an interesting job to have — getting politicos liquored up until they start blabbing about how they don’t know why their candidate should be president — except for the part where you have to wear clean socks occasionally, brush your teeth, talk to live humans…Anyway, hats off to this fellow, and be sure to check out the post where he calls Dana Milbank an asshole.

Memo Pad:Q&A With Robert Draper [WWD]

 
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{ 47 comments }

AlexTrebeksGirl October 30, 2008 at 11:36 am

Dana Milbank IS an asshole. Seriously. But I still have to read him because I too am an asshole / dc resident.

Carrie_Okie October 30, 2008 at 11:36 am

I could actually go for one of those bubble tea fair shakes from the Phô place. Maybe Durian or avocado….

Dreamer October 30, 2008 at 11:36 am

Speaking of snotty Brits another Socialist magazine endorses Hopey – The Economist.

http://www.economist.com/world/unitedstates/displayStory.cfm?story_id=12516666&source=features_box_main

Darehead October 30, 2008 at 11:37 am

“intimate access,” “getting the YouTube out of your butt”….tee hee. No wonder you called this category the anals of anthropology. Still, I prefer Don Draper. The better listener.

nurple October 30, 2008 at 11:43 am

He also invented photography in the 1830s, and apparently has discovered the secret of mega-longievity.

Toomush Infermashun October 30, 2008 at 11:44 am

Didn’t know McMealy had met Palin TWICE before he picked her – what was all this talk about her being “unvetted”? TWICE!

V572625694 October 30, 2008 at 11:46 am

Actual reporting — what a concept! Don’t Official Journalist Persons just re-write press releases? Like that Maeve woman from the LA Times the other day: she spends two weeks riding around in the back of Juan McCain’s plane, never gets to talk to him, and then blames him. You want to just say, Do your job, honey. They pay you to get access. If you don’t know how, go home and watch Youtube.

spencer October 30, 2008 at 11:49 am

[re=155971]Toomush Infermashun[/re]: Seriously. We have all had sex with people we have met less than twice.

facehead October 30, 2008 at 11:49 am

Draper seems pretty good, maybe someday he’ll write for Wonkette.

magic titty October 30, 2008 at 11:50 am

[re=155962]Dreamer[/re]: That was the weakest endorsement I’ve ever read. “Take a chance on Barack or whatever…”

WagTehGod October 30, 2008 at 11:51 am

Developing sources? Earning trust? TALKING with people? In person?

How cute, it’s like he’s trying to be a real reporter or something.

magic titty October 30, 2008 at 11:56 am

This Draper bores me.
On the other hand, “Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Have None)” by Snoop Dogg just came on my IPod.

MoodProcessor October 30, 2008 at 11:59 am

Okay. It’s taken me a while to figure this one out, but-
Reporters are supposed to go find stuff out?

I thought they just hung around and waited for stories to fall out of the sky.

Texan Bulldoggette October 30, 2008 at 12:00 pm

But still, his hairdo. I am a superficial ass & things like that bother me & I will continue to judge him negatively until he gets a more manly haircut.

Constitutional Riots October 30, 2008 at 12:00 pm

[re=155964]Darehead[/re]: Yes, Don Draper is the face I’ve put on this Robert fellow. I like Jon Hamm’s John Ham.

swarm of bees October 30, 2008 at 12:02 pm

OMG, this is off topic, but everyone should go here: http://www.somethingawful.com/d/comedy-goldmine/election-gif-party.php?page=1

Some of it isn’t exactly SFW, but it’s hilarious!

Tra October 30, 2008 at 12:07 pm

The problem is, he’s not even an interesting asshole.

WadISay October 30, 2008 at 12:11 pm

If somebody could please screw another quote like “whack-job” out of the McCain campaign, I will gladly pay the bar tab.

golliwog October 30, 2008 at 12:12 pm
slappypaddy October 30, 2008 at 12:14 pm

Not a word about barbecue or broken hearts. I’m so lost. And what’s this about the upper classes being disdainful of the great unwashed masses? When did that start?

shortsshortsshorts October 30, 2008 at 12:16 pm

I found that running over women is a great way of getting their phone number.

Urbanachiever October 30, 2008 at 12:17 pm

[re=155964]Darehead[/re]: I think this confirms that all people named Draper, whether real or fictional, kick ass in some way or another.

Miller October 30, 2008 at 12:18 pm

Maybe the McCain camp just doesn’t understand what “fair shake” means. They must have thought it meant “we can totally shit can and sandbag our campaign to this man and he’ll make us all look good regardless.”

http://thesebastards.blogspot.com/

Anonymous Office Zombie October 30, 2008 at 12:18 pm

[re=155990]swarm of bees[/re]:
That is some of the funniest shizznit I have ever seen. I’m dying here at my work desk.

Kinbote October 30, 2008 at 12:20 pm

[re=155973]V572625694[/re]: I probably missed someone linking it the other day while I was trying to get the rest of the gold sparkle spray paint off my chin, but Peter Nicholas’s (Strunk & White FUK YEH) I-pooped-my-shorts-as-the-pool-reporter-and-Hopey-didn’t-give-me-dap companion piece is just as unintentionally hilarious:
http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-peter28-2008oct28,0,6187999.story

StripesAndPlaids October 30, 2008 at 12:22 pm

[re=155999]golliwog[/re]: That is just sad. We are all Joe the Plumber? Then where is my publicist? And goddamit somebody get me a low-foam latte skinny half and half with a twist of lemon!!

swarm of bees October 30, 2008 at 12:23 pm

[re=156008]Anonymous Office Zombie[/re]: I’m glad somebody checked it out! Major fucking lulz.

hockeymom October 30, 2008 at 12:25 pm

[re=155999]golliwog[/re]: Editor Sara….this needs to be a new post!
It’s half sad…half hilarious. And the fact that it’s too cold for people to clap makes it even more pathetic.

Little Blue Dune Buggy October 30, 2008 at 12:31 pm

Media: How, HOW can we possibly gain access to this loud old man?

Robert Draper: Well, you could try using, like, journalism. You know, cultivating sources, that sort of thing.

Media:…….

golliwog October 30, 2008 at 12:31 pm

[re=156013]StripesAndPlaids[/re]: Its also a little creepy looking how mccain sticks his figures out at the crowd when he says spread the wealth around.

Constitutional Riots October 30, 2008 at 12:32 pm

[re=156014]swarm of bees[/re]: My favorite was the shower scene.

Robert Draper’s blog today:
“If you’re an Obama supporter, you’ve been saying to yourself, “It’s about time we had a Democrat who can beat the Republicans at their own game. Who’ll grin like Reagan while brawling like Nixon.” Niccolo Machiavelli—he was all about the happy warrior, and that’s Obama, and that’s a good thing, isn’t it?” http://men.style.com/gq/blogs/gqeditors/

Oh shit, now what…

Anonymous Office Zombie October 30, 2008 at 12:32 pm

[re=156014]swarm of bees[/re]:
Can’t decide on my fave. Maybe the one with WALNUTS! head bouncing down the highway. We need more debates that consist entirely of WALNUTS! making crazy faces into the camera.

hockeymom October 30, 2008 at 12:35 pm

[re=156010]Kinbote[/re]: waa, waaa., waa…baby reporter is sad that Obama won’t play his floppy-hatted reindeer games.

Dave J. October 30, 2008 at 12:36 pm

[re=155999]golliwog[/re]: In the last 18 months of awkward moments in the McCain campaign, that one could be the most awkward yet. Yeesh.

Dreamer October 30, 2008 at 12:38 pm

[re=155978]magic titty[/re]: They are conservatives after all and do not discount the understated British style. What is important is that the Economist is a major critic of France’s economic policies so if they are endorsing Obama it means they do not see his policies as a threat to capitalism. They fancy themselves guardians of fiscal conservatism this is an important nod. But since they are godless foreigners Hopey can’t brag about this endorsement.

Constitutional Riots October 30, 2008 at 12:52 pm

[re=155962]Dreamer[/re]: Some quotes from The Economist article:

Some 50m Americans have negligible health-care cover. Abroad, even though troops are dying in two countries, the cack-handed way in which George Bush has prosecuted his war on terror has left America less feared by its enemies and less admired by its friends than it once was.

“Cack-handed”? Was that a typo. Of course not.

Q] From Larry Nordell: “This is from the Economist so I assume it must be some obscure Briticism: ‘And most recently, Mr Pitt has been stunningly cackhanded over the appointment of William Webster as head of the new Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’. What does cackhanded mean?”

[A] It’s certainly British. It’s only obscure, though, if you’re from somewhere else, since it’s a well-known British informal term for somebody who is inept or clumsy. By extension, as I know to my cost, being of the sinistral variety myself, it means somebody left-handed, who does everything “backwards” and so looks clumsy or awkward. It first appeared in the middle of the nineteenth century.

The American Heritage Dictionary suggests it comes from Old Norse keikr, bent backwards, and other American dictionaries also suggest this. I disagree, as do most British works of reference. The direct association is with cack, another fine Old English term, for excrement or dung. Cachus was Old English for a privy, and both words come from Latin cacare, to defecate.

It almost certainly comes from the very ancient tradition, which has developed among peoples who were mainly right-handed, that one reserved the left hand for cleaning oneself after defecating and used the right hand for all other purposes. At various times this has been known in most cultures. Some consider it rude even to be given something using the left hand. So to be left-handed was to use the cack hand or be cack-handed.

There are similar terms in other languages, such as the French main de merde for somebody awkward or butter-fingered.
http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-cac1.htm

More from The Economist:
Jump forward to 2017, when the next president will hope to relinquish office. A combination of demography and the rising costs of America’s huge entitlement programmes—Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—will be starting to bankrupt the country. Abroad a greater task is already evident: welding the new emerging powers to the West. That is not just a matter of handling the rise of India and China, drawing them into global efforts, such as curbs on climate change; it means reselling economic and political freedom to a world that too quickly associates American capitalism with Lehman Brothers and American justice with Guantánamo Bay. This will take patience, fortitude, salesmanship and strategy.
Well isn’t that special? I’d still rather live in the Big Brother British Isles.

slappypaddy October 30, 2008 at 1:00 pm

[re=156059]Constitutional Riots[/re]: Those witty Brits, they sure know what to do with the cack hand. But we know all their boys are really girls at heart.

TGY October 30, 2008 at 1:01 pm

Sounds like ‘BJs For Knowledge’ or BJFKNO for short.

Basye October 30, 2008 at 1:10 pm

Sleeping w/the enemy would make me feel so dirty!

V572625694 October 30, 2008 at 1:11 pm

[re=156010]Kinbote[/re]: That is a good one. Equal-opportunity disdain for the working whinging press!

swarm of bees October 30, 2008 at 1:17 pm

[re=156023]Anonymous Office Zombie[/re]: I think my two favorites are Barry channeling Diddy (Mo’ money, mo’ problems) and of course Veep debate (I think she was actually saying it!! Look at her mouth! Dear Lord!).

lawrenceofthedesert October 30, 2008 at 1:26 pm

How anyone could find Milbank’s column on Biden “hilarious” raises big questions about whether Draper understands the meaning of the word. Letterman, Stewart or Tina Fey can be “hilarious,” but Milbank’s often lazy, but always self-obsessed reporting and writing just don’t qualify. Not that Milbank is exceptional in any regard — slothful journalists are older than Scoop, a rather good Waugh novel on the subject. The war in Viet Nam and most in Africa have been largely covered in hotel bars. The malaise is not generational at all, but eternal. When a Red Smith can pen significant prose day in, day out from the synthetic goo of something as dumb as professional sports, it’s a small miracle, and politicians are in some ways dumber than jocks and almost as dumb as medical doctors or brokers.

Dreamer October 30, 2008 at 1:52 pm

[re=156081]slappypaddy[/re]: [re=156059]Constitutional Riots[/re]: Oh come on stop hating the Economist – I really enjoy their writing style and articles. I started reading with my dad when I was ten and I still enjoy it.

Do they use pompous words, ya – that is the charm and do they exhibit a little bit condescending attitude towards America (blame the moron in chief who made us a laughing stock) you can argue that but it is a great magazine.

shelwood October 30, 2008 at 2:06 pm

[re=156010]Kinbote[/re]: It’s so cute that he doesn’t know that Barack hates him. A lot.

Constitutional Riots October 30, 2008 at 2:18 pm

[re=156260]Dreamer[/re]: Sorry if my snark misrepresented my huge Brit love. My last line was, “I’d still rather live in the Big Brother British Isles.” I appreciate your link and actually take the time to read most quality references wonks post. I love The Guardian as well. I regret my cable fees now prohibit my ability to get BBCAmerica, but still listen to BBC radio online. Have you listened to Big George Through the Night? I love all the different accents across Britain, which you can pick up very well on his call-in show. Russell Brand New Day is hilarious!

agitpropster October 30, 2008 at 4:19 pm

I gots a huge Brit love because I am half-Brit (with two passports). On Wednesday morning it’s either gonna be champagne cocktails or a huge fucking yard sale ’round our way: if cack-handed WALNUTS! wins, EVERYTHING GOES and it’s a squat in Camden Town for this lad.

BTW, I know former punk-rocker Robert Draper and he is a right bloody WANKER. His way-cool, deceased brother, John, who I knew well, is STILL spinnin’ in his grave over the vile puff piece book he wrote about the current Moran-In-Chief due to his family’s “exclusive access.” If he had ANY class whatsoever he would donate every penny of the filthy blood lucre he made from it to the families of the deceased Iraq veterans who have died because of the criminal cabal he’s made a living writing about. Fuck him.

Draper is a disgrace to his alma mater, his hometown and to his state. He nauseates me.

Numbat Dundee October 30, 2008 at 5:01 pm

[re=155962]Dreamer[/re]: That would be the magazine that hired Marx to write for it. Not Grouch – the othe one. So of course they’d endorse the Muslim-Commy. I’d write this in caps lock, but we don’t have caps lock in Australia (except for parts of Queensland).

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