November 23, 2016

Vouching for Reince Priebus: "I met no one with as few pretensions, arrogances, and agendas as he had. He truly was a real 'Wisconsin' guy."

Here is an email from someone I know to be utterly trustworthy and distinctly perceptive, who doesn't want her name here but has authorized me to publish this:
I just read your post linking to the NYT article.
She's talking about the November 21st post that highlights a quote from a NYT article by Mark Liebovich, "Reince Priebus, Normalizer in Chief":
For all his well-honed sheepishness, Priebus’s 'just a kid from Kenosha, Wisc.' shtick belies a penchant for main stages, big-ticket rooms and high-level company. No shortage of Reince Priebus photos hang on the walls of the R.N.C.’s headquarters on Capitol Hill. He can be a little star-struck. He travels far and often to appear with candidates and party dignitaries at events where his presence is not necessarily required. Priebus was giddy when I spoke to him last spring as he prepared to attend a party for Time’s '100 most influential people' at Lincoln Center. We were on the phone, him walking through the lobby of the J.W. Marriott after a packed day of fund-raising. He sounded almost out of breath, less from exhaustion than what seemed like pure excitement. He told me how stoked he was to meet the golfer Jordan Spieth and the pro-wrestler-turned-actor the Rock. 'Those are my top two,' Priebus said, especially the Rock. 'I was a big pro-wrestling fan back in the day,” he added, noting his childhood admiration for Hulk Hogan and Mad Dog Vachon.' 'Growing up in Kenosha, Wisc., being named to the Top 100 list is a pretty cool thing,' Priebus told me. At this point, I reminded him that no national party chairman would ever be named to the Top 100 except in extraordinary circumstances like these — and these were not particularly enviable ones.
My emailer, who had been a student at my law school, the University of Wisconsin Law School, was provoked to write this:
In August 2000 (after finishing my clerkship) I joined Priebus's firm, where he was a senior associate working as a tax attorney.

He was one of the fellows designated to train and mentor the newbies. I met no one with as few pretensions, arrogances, and agendas as he had. He truly was a real "Wisconsin" guy. He made people feel like a welcome part of the family. Although I initially bristled at firm work, Reince had a welcome, sincere "GOLLY! Welcome to the team" kind attitude. Sure, he's likely been tainted by politics, but my gut trusts him.

Wisconsin to the core. Kind of like Bo Ryan was (and not like Barry Alvarez).
ADDED: I fixed a few mistakes in the email. Notably, I changed "without as few" to "with as few."

IN THE COMMENTS: Lawyerly said:
I joined that same law firm a year later and remained for many years after that, including the year he was promoted to partner. My assessment of Reince was exactly the same. It's been remarkable watching his ascent.

In my view all those photos hanging in his office aren't hung boastfully but more in the manner of a giddy 12 year old who has managed to get his picture taken with his favorite sports heroes.

I believe he is a genuinely humble person, which has contributed to his success by allowing him to identify strategies with no mind for personal gain, and to pivot quickly away from strategies that aren't working without shame or regret.  

39 comments:

holdfast said...

Your correspondent is a shite writer. Tax lawyer?

Curious George said...

Like Bo Ryan? So he has a mistress?

LCB said...

I met no one without as few pretensions, arrogances, and agendas as he had.

So "without" as "few" means he has more than everyone else??? :-)

Yes, we know what she meant.

I'm a terrible speller...which is why I often copy my posts to Word for spell checking. I'm sure this was a just fast note sent to an old acquaintance. Perhaps you should have edited it before posting it...

David Begley said...

What's the matter with Barry? He only turned Wisconsin into a perennial power. Alvarez told the OWH he modeled Wisconsin after Nebraska under Bob Devaney.

Curious George said...

"He truly was a real "Wisconsin" guy." "Wisconsin to the core."

What exactly does this mean?

AJ Lynch said...

Bo Ryan was actually a Philly guy [suburb of Chester].

AReasonableMan said...

No one is utterly trustworthy and no one is distinctly perceptive all the time.

MadisonMan said...

If you can fake sincerity, you have it made.

Sebastian said...

If he's been tinted by politics, it doesn't show. Priebus seems a pure person of pallor.

Anyway, I'm fine with a Wisconsin guy in the White House, as long as he doesn't bring any Wisconsin Idea.

EDH said...

...a student at my law school, the University of Wisconsin Law School, was provoked to write this...

"He truly was a real 'Wisconsin' guy... Sure, he's likely been tinted by politics, but my gut trusts him. Wisconsin to the core."

What more proof do you need, after the election of Trump, that now all the Alt-house Wisconsin supremacists believe they are free to parade their twisted beliefs of Badger superiority in front of us?

Michael K said...

"I often copy my posts to Word for spell checking"

Be careful of Word grammar checking. They are a bit looney up there in Redmond.

Unknown said...

Damn, what a surprise. Another NYTimes author trying to disparage a republican. Democrats with bylines is right.

madAsHell said...

I met know one without as few pretensions, arrogances, and agendas as he had.

Shouldn't it be "with as few pretensions"?? I can't really grok the sentence as written, but I don't think it's a compliment.

Carol said...

no one without as few pretensions, arrogances, and agendas as he had.

Irregardless, helluva nice guy.

David Begley said...

"now all the Alt-house Wisconsin supremacists believe they are free to parade their twisted beliefs of Badger superiority in front of us?"

My Creighton Bluejays stomped the superior Badgers. Birds over rodents.

Lawyerly said...

I joined that same law firm a year later and remained for many years after that, including the year he was promoted to partner. My assessment of Reince was exactly the same. It's been remarkable watching his ascent.

In my view all those photos hanging in his office aren't hung boastfully but more in the manner of a giddy 12 year old who has managed to get his picture taken with his favorite sports heroes.

I believe he is a genuinely humble person, which has contributed to his success by allowing him to identify strategies with no mind for personal gain, and to pivot quickly away from strategies that aren't working without shame or regret.



Darcy said...

No one is utterly trustworthy and no one is distinctly perceptive all the time

Correct!

And yet, I do trust the anon emailer's instincts on Priebus. Trust is a choice.

holdfast said...

Thanks for deleting my comment, and then fixing the writing. Or was it the other way around?

Anyway, great management of history, comrade. Forward the revolution!

Quayle said...

Wasn't that same self-effacing approach on display on election night when Trump gave him the mic and Reince didn’t say one word for himself but immediately turned it right back to focus on Trump?

Big Mike said...

After Mitt Romney's team put their hopes on a system called ORCA, which failed for a number of reasons, not least of which was failure to stress test it (shades of the Obamacare web site rollout) meanwhile Jim Messina had put together some serious Big Data Analytics to support Obama's reelection campaign.

Priebus learned from that, and Donald Trump was able to leverage the national IT and analytical infrastructure that Priebus built in the intervening 3 1/2 years. Hats off to him.

To my way of thinking you have to be humble to realize that you've been whipped and its your own d**ned fault. And you have to be smart and hardnosed and good to beat the other side at its own game in the rematch. Donald Trump won 290 or 306 electoral votes (depending on how Michigan shakes out) using what Priebus built for him to exploit. Quite a bit better than what Debbie Wasserman Schultz did for her candidate.

PB said...

I'm trying to think of a leftist outlet that doesn't traffic in fake news. NYTimes, WaPo, CNN, New Yorker, CBS, ABC, NBC, PBS... I can't find one.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

David Begley said... Birds over rodents.

Picture.

NatGeo post

Original Mike said...

"If you can fake sincerity, you have it made."

There are sincere people. I don't accept the general belief that every politician is deceitful.

JWH said...

The biggest traffic for fake news is the US Government.

MadisonMan said...

Birds over rodents.

Badgers are mustelids, not rodents.

Skeptical Voter said...

I'm reading "American Ulysses" a recently published biography of U.S. Grant now. One of Grant's distinguishing characteristics was his personal humility, and ability to get along with a wide range of people. Personal modesty combined with intelligence and drive is a powerful combination.

Sally327 said...

It sounds as though Reince Preibus enjoys his work, appreciates his life and takes advantage of the opportunity to go places and meet people that he admires. It doesn't really seem as though he's going to become another Don Regan.

For us coastal types maybe someone could post something about what it means to be "Wisconsin".

Bay Area Guy said...

"I believe he is a genuinely humble person"

Doesn't matter. Politics is war and he is a privileged white Republican male, who is against abortion and gay marriage and must be destroyed!

AllenS said...

Sally327 said...
For us coastal types maybe someone could post something about what it means to be "Wisconsin".

Easy. Wisconsin beer and cheese curds.

Warren Fahy said...

"No shortage of photos... hang on the walls..." Consider how weasely that phrasing is. (Surprised you didn't point it out, Althouse - you usually are all over this type of thing.) This kind of phrase can be made even if there is about the same amount of photos as there usually are. There could even be fewer depending on how the writer chooses to define "shortage" - would "shortage" mean zero pictures, so anything more than that qualifies as no shortage? If there were more pictures than usual does anyone believe they would use this phrasing instead of just saying, "there was an unusually large number of photos..." This is the kind of phrase editors gather around and fiddle with until they get away with creating an impression without facts to back it up but without outright falsification. One can see the same kind of dickering going on with the Rolling Stone rape on campus article to make something (drastic and horrible) out of literally nothing. When you see writing like this you are not only witnessing dishonest journalism - you are seeing an entire process and CULTURE of deliberate and concerted journalistic dishonesty at work in the newsroom. You can practically hear the snickers of self-satisfaction when just the right phrasing was reached to achieve the effect with adequately plausible deniability. You truly can't trust the kind of newsroom culture that operates like this. They are not even trying to inform. They are actively attempting to deceive.

Achilles said...

Priebus will not get big headlines in history books but he will be remembered as being one of the most singularly effective functionaries ever. What he did keeping the GOP together during this election despite a revolt by the elites in the party was amazing.

I will go almost as far to say he was designed as a human being to meet a challenge and overcome it so a larger design could move forward.

sane_voter said...

I saw Reince and Debbie Wasserman Schultz interviewed together on cable news a few times and the contrast was stark. Reince would own DWS. It made me feel good for my side they were the respective national committee chairs, and history has borne that out.

Joe said...

I find his name fascinating. His full name is Reinhold Reince Priebus, which makes it even more interesting. Reinhold and Priebus are, I suppose, German. But where does Reince come from?

holdfast said...

My apologies - my original comment seems to have (re-)appeared. It makes little sense with the original text all cleaned-up, but it has not been deep-sixed, and I appreciate that.

Alex said...

Reince Preibus and Jared Kushner are the biggest talents in the GOP today. Together they won the POTUS for The Donald.

David said...

My son was a partner in the same firm. He is non political. Has nothing but good things to say about Prebius. A Boy Scout.

Harmon said...

Is his favorite band Copper Box? that's the true test of a real Wisconsin guy.

David said...

Alex said...
Reince Preibus and Jared Kushner are the biggest talents in the GOP today. Together they won the POTUS for The Donald.

Trump gets a little credit too, right?

gnome said...

Unsolicited testimony like that carries a lot of weight. I've swung from assuming he's part of the swamp to liking the guy just because of this article.

I have a friend of whom I would write similar things, and I wouldn't even consider doing it if it weren't true.