Ken Mehlman’s Down Syndrome prostitution ring, Karl Rove’s gay lovers, Michael Steele’s money laundering schemes and more!
A SHOCKING INTERVIEW WITH REDSTATE.COM’S ERICK ERICKSON
BY EDWARD CONE
Spring was full on and the budding trees and blooming bushes obscured Erick Erickson’s means of arrival. On the phone he had said he’d meet me only in an open-air public place. For his safety, he insisted. And for mine. He dressed for this occasion differently than he had for his many television appearances; gone were the fancy suits and fat ties, and with them, wherever they were, went the obnoxious swagger, the smug look on his face. He wore sweatpants and a hoodie two sizes too big for him, if that were possible, and on his face an expression of sincere fright with his rat-eyes set in a suspicious squint. The only thing to equal my rather low expectations was his giant block head which sat squat on his neck like an inverted mason jar over which loose drooping skin had been poured from a large bucket. He approached without looking at me.
“You got the stuff?”
“Oh, er, nothing. I always wanted to say that, is all.” His accent, not quite southern, was—“Come on.”
He thrust his considerable cranium toward an empty bench, generating a soft breeze.
“Nice weather today,” he said, sitting. I noticed God had granted him double chins to complement his twin names.
“This isn’t why you contacted me,” I said, making a series of gestures designed to elucidate for him my growing impatience.
“Oh, right,” eyes cast downward, “that.”
Erickson had got hold of me two days before with an offer to meet. He wanted to talk. About precisely what he wouldn’t, or couldn’t, say, but he told me it involved heinous corruption and untold sexual degeneracy at the highest levels of the Republican Party. My initial reaction was, quite naturally, why me? And why now? Erickson enjoyed a position of considerable influence in the right-wing blogosphere as editor-and-blogger-in-chief for RedState, the world’s most successful blog. “Not here, not on the phone,” he whispered, but his words came to me buffered by some strange, unrecognizable sound. I feared the worst and asked him straight out if he had reason to believe his phone was tapped. “Naw, man, but you can’t never play it too safe.” That noise again. It wasn’t till later I learned it was the sound of his chins flapping against each other as he spoke, the kind of sound you might get if you threw a fistful of Jell-O into a barrel of pancake batter, and certain words or the excited movement of his head only exacerbated the disgusting problem. He seemed oblivious and probably was, having lived with it for a long, long time. “OK, but you better not be lying.” My reputation would be ruined for years if I were seen just standing near this man. “I’m not, I promise.” After which fierce screams so shrill I jerked away the phone from my ear. “What the hell was that, Erickson?” I asked. “Nothing! Gotta go!” He hung up and I was tortured by visions of Abu Ghraib, or worse. What RNC black site had he called from? Would I be its next visitor?
“You gotta understand, that’s how these guys operate, man.” The way in which he continued to interject the word “man” into his sentences made me suspiciously nervous, or nervously suspicious, and not a little annoyed. It was something out of a bad cop movie set in 1970s New York City: Erickson, a criminal caught red-handed, yes, but turns out he turned to crime only to support his wife and and their genius son, who has enrolled recently at Julliard. It’s him against the world, man.
“I don’t think that guy’s with Them, man.” I smiled but he didn’t seem to catch the joke. He was staring carefully out the corner of his eye at a filthy homeless man sitting on the grass not far from us, eating what looked to be stale biscuits wrapped in motor oil-stained newspaper. Erickson thought the bum was following him and recording our conversation.
“I’m serious, please, just go up to him and say hi or something, see if he’s got a directional microphone on him somewhere, please, man.”
This was becoming ridiculous.
“What?” I said. “Stop being stupid. Tell me what you’ve got for me or I’m leaving.”
“OK,” sigh, “OK. You know Ken Mehlman?”
“I know of him, sure. Former chair of the RNC.” I would never stain my conscience by associating with that man.
“Right. For the last six years he’s been running a prostitution ring staffed, if you will, solely by hookers with Down Syndrome. And that’s just the beginning, man.”
To many it would be a shocking allegation, yes, but it came to me as no great surprise. The Republicans had for years trafficked in mentally handicapped prostitutes, a practice going all the way back to Senator Robert Taft, a man JFK admired so much he asked his own speechwriter and “intellectual blood bank,” ha-ha, Ted Sorensen to ghostwrite a chapter about him in Profiles in Courage. But the trade was thought ceased when President Reagan, who was surprisingly and genuinely disgusted by it all, demanded its end.
“Really?” I asked, trying to sound as shocked as he hoped I would be. Erickson’s paranoia, intemperate and free-flowing, had soaked through his clothes and now threatened to infect me as well. I took to wondering if he had a pistol on him—dare he use it? I mean, you never know with these people—or maybe a microphone of his own, recording this sorry circumstance as a prank or something much more sinister. Possibly he and this so-called homeless guy were working together, efforting to scuttle The BEAST and my journalism career alongside, sinking us faster and faster toward an unpleasant watery death. We would never be found.
“Yeah, man, Mehlman calls it…” his voice trailed off into the wind, but with a pained look on his soggy countenance he seemed to mouth the words.
“It’s called—no, you’ll never make me say it, no.” Defeated.
“Alright, what else?”
“Karl Rove launders money from the RNC with Michael Steele’s help to fund the considerable cost of living of his six lovers mostly men and they’re scattered across the country and one in Hawaii and another in Prague one of them’s a Muslim I heard but I can’t confirm it that’s just rumor hearsay but one of the mistresses is one of Mehlman’s retarded prostitutes and they got into a big fight over it and I overheard what they said and they threatened me and told me they’d feed me to Sanford’s pigs,” he blurted. Deep breaths from Erickson as I tried to make sense of all those facts—what I sincerely hoped were facts. This was interesting, and not only because Rove and Steele supposedly hate each other. The possibility that it was all a big trick, an insidious ploy hatched in some late night backroom strategy session at Rove’s Washington, D.C. offices, glared back at me. Had They pulled the wool over our blinking eyes?
Now, Erickson couldn’t be completely trusted, true. Year before last he’d gone on Fox News or one of those channels and made a genuine fool of himself, carrying on endlessly about Al Gore and the environmentalist plot to take over the United States, forcing us to shut off our air conditioners and use the light bulbs meted out by the Gore nanny state. Got so bad the producers at Fox or wherever had to throw to commercial mid-sentence as he talked on and on and on and on, this time regarding some conspiracy involving newspaper cartels and the liberal media. All told, or at least most of it, he talked for fourteen minutes without break, a big no-no on commercial television. His GOP friends had wondered quite publicly if he were losing it, though few believed he ever had much of it, whatever “it” was, to begin with. But if he were telling me the truth this would be big, huge, certainly Pulitzer-worthy. Afterward I could publish a tell-all book and live off its profit for the rest of my life, not to mention the wonderful effect it’d've done on the former Republican Party.
A low whistle. “That’s quite the story.”
“There’s more, man.” When he nodded his chins roiled like a raging hurricaned sea and the sound was nauseating. “This is the worst of it all, man, and that’s that Sarah—“ Erickson was interrupted upon catching sight of the soiled supposed hobo, now on his back squealing with delight and making snow angel motions in the grass. “He’s signaling! They’re on to us!” Erickson screamed and ran, waddling like one of Mehlman’s mongoloids, up the steep sun-streaked hill behind the bench where he disappeared past a line of bushes, taking with him my Pulitzer and lifelong riches. The comparative swiftness with which he removed himself from my presence, I’ll admit, caught me off guard. By the time I gathered my wits the hobo had left too.
I have neither heard from nor seen Erickson since, and I often wonder whether the whole thing wasn’t the hallucinated effect of some crazed forced drug binge and too much alcohol, or the terrible confluence of atmospheric oxygen deprivation and persistent insomnia, the former brought on by some appropriate international conspiracy involving powerful governments, weighty conglomerates and Goldman Sachs.