Pierre Prosper: A Rising California GOP Star Attracts Some Early Mud
Here's an all-too-familiar scenario: A very appealing young public servant lets it be known he plans to run for statewide office in California, and immediately the hit pieces start flying-- and lying.
Evidently, that's what has happened already to Pierre Prosper, pictured at left, who is now leaving his post as U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues in order to seek the California Republican Party's nomination for Attorney General. Here's a newspaper article about his announcement.
On October 5, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a flattering article about Ambassador Prosper. Apparently this was very alarming to some people, who for some reason are offended (frightened?) by the notion of an attractive, accomplished, well-spoken young African-American Republican running for statewide office in California.
Wait a minute. Did I just say "attractive, accomplished, well-spoken young African-American Republican?" Yes, I did. Wouldn't you think the California GOP would welcome an office-seeker with that profile?
I think the GOP in general does and will welcome Prosper, with open arms. Unfortunately, it looks like some political bottom-feeders, who may be allied with established party machinery, are on the attack already.
Who Is Pierre Prosper?
Before we get into all the distortions and falsehoods, here are some basic facts: President Bush nominated Ambassador Prosper to his current position; he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2001. The Ambassador has a long list of accomplishments; his official State Department biography is here. After reading his bio, go ahead and Google the Ambassador's name; you'll be impressed.
[Full disclosure: I have nothing to disclose. I have never met Pierre Prosper, although people I respect greatly are supporting him. I do know a disingenuous political hit piece when I see one, however.]
Lying And Distortion Start Early
Some California Republicans who claim to be Reaganites have never accepted Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment, "Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican." The latest evidence of that is in this e-mail, which has been circulating since October 14. Comments are in italics:
PW 75This e-mail appears to be associated with a web site called Parsky Watch, although I can't find a hit piece no. 75 there. If you're interested in other pre-announcement hit pieces against Prosper, here is another one, quite similar to the one above.
October 14, 2005
IS PARSKY PROSPER-ING AT CA GOP'S EXPENSE?
Regrettably, undermining the Governor and the CRP on Prop. 77 (as illustrated in PW 74) isn't the only way in which Dora Kingsley is carrying on the [sic] Gerry Parsky's inverted brand of political genius. [The guilt by association starts right away. Dora Kingsley is a Sacramento-based political consultant with ties to Gerry Parsky, a California millionaire who is deeply unpopular with many conservative activists in the state. Your "this is a hit piece" antennae should be raised now.]
Now she is importing a Beltway bureaucrat with no ties to California Republican activism to run against Sen. Chuck Poochigian for Attorney General. [Notice the use of hot-button buzz words: "Beltway bureaucrat." Read on and see if you think that is a fair description of Pierre Prosper. Also, you might start wondering what it means to have "no ties to California Republican activism." Doesn't that sound like "not one of our insiders?"]
Or rather, it [sic] Gerry Parsky doing the importing, since Dora is his handmaiden. [Uh-oh, guilt by association again-- with a mocking, demeaning insult thrown in to boot. By the way, I don't know Dora Kingsley from Adam.]
So who is this mystery candidate? Monsieur Pierre-Richard Prosper, currently the "Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes." OK, he's not a "monsieur" but with a name like Pierre DASH Richard, it just seemed to fit. [I hardly know where to begin on this one. Words like "low-brow" and "troglodyte" come to mind to describe this type of political discourse.]
Pierre-Richard is not a California [sic], but a native New Yorker. OK - lots of Californians are transplants. But Pierre-Richard hasn't lived in California for years -- he even deactivated his bar license for three and a half years until this past July (presumably in anticipation of running). Even worse, the history of GOP activism Pierre-Richard does possess has been devoted to the land of Rockefeller Republicanism - New York.
[This seems like the right place to note that other than his duties in the Bush Administration and prosecuting criminals in Rawanda, Ambassador Prosper's entire legal career, starting with law school at Pepperdine University, has been in Southern California. As a federal government employee at the ambassadorial level, the Ambassador probably thought he would not be using his California bar membership, so he elected not to pay bar dues needlessly for several years until he returned. Makes sense to me.]
He made five donations to NY candidates between 1999 and 2002:
GOVERNOR GEORGE PATAKI
REP. RICK LAZIO (Hillary's foe)
$ 500 2000
[That one seems like a badge of honor to me. I gave money to Lazio too. Is there something I should know about why that makes me less than a full member of the California GOP?]
NY GOP FEDERAL COMM.
$ 250 1999
OK, so at least Pierre-Richard gave money to Republicans (even though none of it was to California candidates). That's some kind of record. [As my 15 year-old son might say, "Huh?"]
Unfortunately, so is Pierre-Richard's service under Clinton's Attorney General, Janet Reno, as a special assistant to the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. [Truth alert: it's my understanding that Prosper was an assistant U.S. attorney, or AUSA, at the time and was given the special assistant title so that he could be detailed to the Dept. of State to work on war crimes prosecutions. Although all U.S. Attorneys are appointed by the president, AUSA positions are non-political; they are career prosecutors and any U.S. attorney's office is full of AUSA's who are Republicans and Democrats.]
No self-respecting Republican who took their party allegiance seriously would have served in the politicized Clinton/Reno Justice Department. [See comments above!] Yet, Gerry Parsky and Dora Kingsley apparently think it makes him eminently qualified to be the Republican nominee for Attorney General. But hey - this is the same Gerry Parsky who's proud to work with Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer to devise lists of judicial nominees for President Bush's consideration. [Guilt by association again. There's no evidence here that Pierre Prosper even knows Parsky-- assuming it even matters if he does.]
No doubt Pierre-Richard Prosper is a fine American. [The typical and obligatory nod toward decency in a hit piece.] But what earthly reason is there to make him the California Republican nominee for Attorney General? He's never worked on behalf of the party here, much less lived here, and has no roots here. [Hit-piece antennae are raised again. To say that Prosper has never lived here is an obvious falsehood, so the claims that he's never done party work and has no roots here are suspect too.] He's hired as his consultant Parsky's familiar, Dora Kingsley, who is winding her way around the political circles pitching that Parsky supports Pierre-Richard in hopes there are still some donor zombies who think Parsky is a mastermind. [Oops, a descent into name-calling. Another loss of credibility!]
Not least of all, this is a fine way for Parsky to thank Debbie Poochigian for helping him out as his 17-County Central Valley chair. The Pierre-Richard Prosper maneuver is par for the Parsky course. It's a classic Parsky combination of being simultaneously classless and clueless: divide the party, pick a non-political "Republican" (from 3,000 miles away , no less) to challenge a loyal one, and cause Republicans to waste resources in a primary -- which makes only Jerry Brown and Rocky Delgadillo happy. [I guess Prosper's candidacy is supposed to be Parsky's idea. Do you share my doubts, since there is not one shred of support for that notion in this e-mail hit piece?]
Not content with the buffoonery of the faux gubernatorial campaign he and Dora cooked up last year, Gerry Parsky -- in the great tradition of cozying up to Feinstein and Boxer - now wants to help out Jerry Brown.
Welcome back, Gerry.
What Does The Future of This Campaign Look Like?
We will be learning much more about Pierre-Richard Prosper in the coming weeks. I think he's an exciting candidate, someone the California Republican Party should have been recruiting to return to the state and run for office. He's certainly more interesting than just another GOP state senator who is "termed out" and now seeks to move up to a statewide office, which, I'm afraid, is just what Senator Poochigian looks like.
Contrast that background with that of Ambassador Prosper: I understand that for the past couple of years, he has been involved in nothing less than Indiana Jones-style exploits -- motor boat trips up the Congo River, stints in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the like. Now, of those two candidates, which one would you rather be making a campaign commercial for?
Let's have a campaign, and let's see which one the GOP primary voters pick. I trust the voters a lot more than the party machinery, which, well, hasn't got a lot to show for its recent efforts.