I know lots of squirrels, and most of us are progressive. But we’ve been fouled by a foam-and-faux-fur fraud. (More)

Squirrels invented Chitter before humans took the idea and made it Twitter. So naturally a lot of squirrels came over. There’s Mad City Squirrel, a delightful grey who keeps tabs on the Wisconsin state legislature from a tree beside the Capitol. There’s Beebz, a North Carolina squirrel who moved to Texas but isn’t afraid to take on the oil industry.

Many of us are proud members of #SquirrelNation, including squirrels from lots of other campuses. And we know how the campus vote has gone lately.

So I was more than a bit grumpy when I read this tweet from DNC Communications Director Mo Elleithee:

What did squirrels do to get dissed like that?

Actually, nothing. We’ve been besmirched by a phony squirrel:

Forget about political attack dogs. The Republican National Committee has a giant squirrel.

As former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criss-crosses the country to promote her new memoir “Hard Choices,” the RNC is deploying a person in a massive, orange squirrel costume to attend the events and deliver the message that “another Clinton in the White House is nuts.”

It’s part of a coordinated anti-Clinton campaign including a YouTube spot starring their Not-A-Squirrel and RNC Chair Reince Priebus. The Washington Post reported on it. So did ABC News and Mother Jones and The Daily Beast and DailyKos and … well, pretty much everyone.

Because a squirrel researching 21st Century Political Nuttitude and being a war correspondent and covering the president’s golf game and CPAC and even the election of the pope isn’t news …

… but some Republican hack in a foam rubber and faux-fur suit is A Big Story.

Maybe this is what Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall meant when he wrote that the GOP have the Beltway wired:

Who are we talking about? The journalists. The lobbyists. The people who work in the think tanks and quasi-think tanks where purported policy experts work. The employees of the majority activist groups on both sides of the political spectrum. The list could go on and on. But this gives a basic flavor of who we’re talking about.

We’re coming off of, or at least we’ve had a period of (because who knows about the future) thirty plus years of conservative dominance of Washington. By some measures you could say forty years. But at least thirty, notwithstanding Bill Clinton’s eight years in office. That conditions a generation of people with mindsets based around Republicans being the party of power, the party whose ideas get vindicated at the polls. Most of all Washington is a city that coddles up to and worships power. But a generation of one party holding the reins selects for certain kinds of journalists in key positions of power, the policy experts at the think tanks who get the journalists calls, the lobbyists who move the most money and so forth. You build up a set of assumptions about what kinds of people and ideas are respectable and which aren’t. Which are old-fashioned, which are ‘cutting edge’ and so forth. Who defines conventional wisdom?

In all of these respects, DC remains overwhelmingly wired for the GOP.

And if anyone dares challenge the right wing’s wiry grip, they yell “liberal media bias!” And once the GOP yell that, most of the Beltway media look down and shuffle their feet and ask for more gruel.

That’s how President Obama can negotiate the release of a U.S. prisoner of war and the media promptly spend days promoting a coordinated Republican smear campaign before anyone bothers to fact-check and discover that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had a history of taking off-post walks and an Army report did not classify him as a deserter and claims about U.S. troops killed while searching for Bergdahl were “murky.” That is, the court-martial by press was peddling bogus information, including a source who was kicked out of the Army with an “other than honorable discharge.”

And that’s how the Sunday Blatherfest can be filled with neoconservatives who peddled misinformation and disinformation to justify the war in Iraq, saying why we need to go back into Iraq, without a single Sunday Blatherfest host saying “But you’ve been so demonstrably, ridiculously, tragically wrong on Iraq, so often … why did my producer even book you?”

And that’s how one Republican hack in a fake squirrel suit that probably smells like month-old sweat socks can get all that media attention and even get the DNC Communications Chair to diss all squirrels.

We’ve been fouled by a foam-and-faux-fur fraud.

Good day and good nuts