In 2008, the infamous political "dirty trickster" Roger Stone made a big impact on the Broward County sheriff's race with a series of attack ads aimed at Democratic candidate Scott Israel.
That was back when Stone -- who gained political infamy as a "dirty trickster" for Richard Nixon -- was working as the political director for Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein, who backed Republican candidate Al Lamberti, who of course went on to win the race.
Well now Stone is back in a big -- and, yes, dirty -- way in this sheriff's race, and it appears this time he's working in the interest of Scott Israel.
The latest robocall attack on Israel's Democratic primary opponent, Louie Granteed, came last night in the form of an "endorsement" for Granteed from an entity that calls itself Tea Party Miami. Here's the exact words of the woman who voices the call:
"I'm calling for Tea Party Miami, one of the largest and most active tea party organizations in South Florida. We recommend conservative law and order Democrat Louie Granteed for Broward County sheriff. Louie Granteed is a tough no-nonsense cop who won't kowtow to minorities, civil liberties groups, or good-government types. Louie Granteed will crack down on illegal immigrants in Broward County. Please remember that Tea Party Miami recommends Louie Granteed for Broward County sheriff. Paid for by Tea Party Miami C-4 organization."
What's the real message of that ad aimed at Broward Democrats? That Granteed is a conservative, racist, anti-immigrant thug.
So is that Granteed's message? Of course not. Granteed told me he has never had any involvement with any Tea Party group and had no idea who the Tea Party Miami was. His stance on immigration is actually well-measured; in fact Granteed says the issue is a federal one and opposes local law enforcement agencies taking illegal immigrants into custody unless they have committed a crime with a complaining victim.
The Miami Tea Party, for the record, is ... Roger Stone. He and his associates created the group last year; serving as the original chairwoman of the group was Dianne Thorne, Stone's administrative assistant. Now it's someone called Eric Wolfgang Von Tausch, but Stone and his wife are "paid members" of the group.
The group has mirrored Stone's interests all along. For instance, after the Scott Rothstein bankruptcy sued Stone for $400,000 in a clawback action, Tea Party Miami began bashing Rothstein bankruptcy trustee Herbert Stettin, as "Florida's most corrupt judge."
Stone claims his involvement in the smear amounts to introducing political consultant Todd Wilder to Von Tausch. Sure, Roger.
Tea Party Miami on Saturday sent this email blast endorsing Granteed. Here's the text:
Hollywood Police Officer Louie Granteed is one tough cop. That's why Tea Party Miami, the largest and most active Tea Party organization in Miami-Dade County and our affiliate the South Florida Tea Party both recommend Louie Granteed, in the Broward County Democratic Primary for Sheriff August 14th.
Louie Granteed is a real law and order conservative. Granteed is a former Republican who will be tough on crime and crack down on illegal immigrants in Broward county. Granteed is clearly a better choice than Democrat Scott J. Israel, a strong supporter of President Obama and an opponent of racial profiling by the BSO.
Granteed could be depended on not to kow-tow to minorities, civil liberties groups and good government types. Granteed didn't pander by seeking the support of the left-wing Broward based Gwen Cherry Chapter of the Women's Political Caucus. The choice between Granteed and Republican Sheriff Al Lamberti will be a difficult one. We applaud Lamberti for inviting Rep. Allen West to address the BSO 9/11 Memorial.
We recommend Tea Party members who are registered Democrats vote for Granteed.
For Republicans in Broward, Tea Party Miami also recommends former Florida House Majority Leader Adam Hasner for Congress in the 22nd district and Karen Harrington for Congress in the 23rd district and Mike Lameyer for State Senate District 34.
Here we go again. Notice that the criticism of Israel is that he's a "strong supporter of President Obama," something the vast majority of Democratic voters in Tuesday's primary share in common. The other is that Israel is against racial-profiling, aka he's not a racist. You can almost hear Stone chuckling in the background when he sends out this stuff.
Interestingly, the email also mentions that it will be difficult for Tea Party Miami to choose between Granteed and Lamberti, a Republican, in the general election, mentioning that Lamberti invited right-wing Congressman Allen West to a 911 event. Judging by this and other tea leaves, it appears that Stone is ultimately gunning for Lamberti, the man he helped elect last time with Rothstein's money. So maybe the sheriff will get the next Miami Tea Party endorsement. We'll see.