The Lincoln Project, which consisted of never Trumpers who opposed Trump in 2020, was widely supported by much of the media. However, the Lincoln Project’s reputation has fallen so low due to financial and sex scandals that even Politico is now portraying its leaders as a bunch of greedy grifters in its review of a Showtime documentary about that organization.
Of course, it would have been nice if Politico had been as candid about the Lincoln Project back in 2020 instead of waiting until after that election was safely in the rear-view mirror.
You get a sense of this new attitude in the title of the Joanna Weiss article on Sunday, “A New Documentary Gives Us a Glimpse Into the Lincoln Project’s Hypocrisy.”
First the portrayal of the Lincoln Project leaders as a bunch of money-obsessed grifters:
As the series follows the leaders of the Super PAC, on Zoom and at their headquarters in the ski resort town of Park City, Utah, we see glorious vistas, an impressive array of Patagonia jackets, and a series of home interiors worthy of spreads in Dwell. But the Lincoln Project founders also remember the days, as they were building their careers, when they made moral calculations of their own.
…And the series suggests one reason those battles over money and power seem inevitable: Success in this arena has made some people very, very rich. Some Lincoln Project founders seem at least mildly conflicted that the work that brought them so much material wealth also laid the foundation for Trump’s rise. “Is making money out of an outrage machine helping democracy or is it hurting it? And after 30 years, does it wear on your soul? Fuck, yeah,” co-founder Mike Madrid says as he paints what looks like a fresco in his Sacramento home.
Weiss also mentions the sleazy sex-harassment scandal which involved Lincoln Project co-founder John Weaver, followed by a coverup by its leaders.
“The Lincoln Project” offers a rare window into this world of idealism and self-denial; its staffers aren’t publicity-shy, and co-directors Fisher Stevens and Karim Amer get access to meetings, planning sessions, conspiratorial phone calls and lengthy bouts of philosophizing. (If the documentary runs a little too long, it’s probably because the monologues are intoxicating, like patriotic candy sprinkled with f-bombs.) The story morphs at some point into internecine drama — clashing egos, secret deals, ugly accusations, a stunning sexual harassment claim — that’s juicy enough to rival HBO’s fictional series Succession, on which Fisher Stevens is also an actor.
No documentary review yet from Lincoln Project fanboy Brian Williams, but who’s heard from him lately?