Image by Tak Toyoshima
Political bottom feeders packed the top floor of Boston’s Omni Parker House on December 3 for the inaugural Elkey Awards, a localized celebration of the cynical sportsmanship of modern American politics.
The Elkey, which is a groan-worthy portmanteau hack of the Republican Elephant and Democrat Donkey, were marketed as the successors to the Golden Donkey Awards, a long-dead ceremony for hacks also organized by the Rendon Group, whose captains are all too well aware that consulting fees are just as valuable when they come from the GOP.
According to the self-congratulatory program, the ceremony was intended to “send forth a great message regarding the beauty of democracy.” To do this, the hosts honored operatives and campaign managers who are paid to make parasitic politicians seem like decent human beings, as well as the press secretaries and media consultants who are paid to lie to journalists.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews was originally scheduled to host, but he wisely canceled. I lacked his foresight, which is why I found myself stuck at an event with lame jokes, overpriced drinks, and far too many wannabe political fixers desperately trying to network with everything on two legs. In any case, I kept track of all of the winning field directors and pollsters, but it seems awfully silly to list them, since the only other people keeping score are probably already among those who placed the more than 2,100 votes that fueled this sycophantic circle-jerk of an awards show.
The online voting method made it so presenters didn’t have to explain why a particular winner did an outstanding job, but there was nonetheless some apparent rhyme to the outcomes. If you were involved with the campaigns of either Governor Charlie Baker or Attorney General Maura Healey, chances are you were given an award. If you were involved with Evan Falchuck’s idealistic third-party gubernatorial run, the announcement of your nomination was met with deafening silence.
The Rendon Group, the public relations firm that organized the awards, started up after Jimmy Carter lost to Ronald Reagan in 1980, leaving founder and former Carter operative John Rendon jobless. His company consulted John Kerry’s successful 1984 senatorial debut, as well as Walter Mondale’s failed bid against Reagan in 1984. By the 1990s, the outfit was in the foreign war game, getting involved in government black ops in Panama for the first Bush presidency, followed by involvement in numerous other military actions, as Rendon once bragged to a Rolling Stone reporter. Rendon’s military involvement culminated in the company’s star role in selling George W. Bush’s bogus war against Iraq.
Back at the event that good government forgot, the night ended with the patronizing presentation of the “Broken Glass Award,” which allowed the old men of the Massachusetts political establishment to declare how swell it is that female pols like Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Attorney General Healey are reshaping the landscape. Way to go ladies, the boys approve!
Whether it’s ignoring important issues like effective addiction treatment and corruption reform, or their universal appreciation for approaching politics like a depraved parlor game, as noted over and over at the Elkeys, bipartisanship is alive and well in the Commonwealth.
And The Winners Are …
Zack is a veteran reporter. He writes for DigBoston and VICE, and formerly reported for the Boston Courant and Bulletin Newspapers.