Summary: By "wet works" Podesta was referring to personnel changes in the Clinton Campaign after the disastrous 20 point loss to Bernie Sanders in the New Hampshire primary that day.
In an email that John Podesta sent to Steve Elmendorf, he said:
"Didn't think wet works meant pool parties at the Vineyard"
Since this email was sent four days before Justice Scalia's death it is being promoted as evidence that Scalia was assassinated. By all accounts, including Scalia's family, he died of natural causes. But what of this small piece of evidence? Is that true that Podesta could only be referring to an assassination?
Look at the context of the email. Elmendorf talks of a "rough night", and the date is Feb 9, 2016. That's the day of the New Hampshire primary, which was won decisively by Bernie Sanders, finishing 20 points ahead of Clinton. That's obviously what the "rough night" refers to. The most likely thing that "wet works" refers to is the subsequent bloodletting within the Clinton Campaign - i.e. firing people. Described in the media as a potential "bloodbath".
The term was also used by Keith Olbermann
Get Ready For The Hillary Campaign Bloodbath After New Hampshire Loss
Hillary and Bill Clinton are so dissatisfied with their campaign’s messaging and digital operations they are considering staffing and strategy changes after what’s expected to be a loss in Tuesday’s primary in New Hampshire, according to a half-dozen people with direct knowledge of the situation.
"Wet works" or just "wetwork" is actually an a euphemism for murder or assassination, however the usage is not limited to that - it can also mean tough or distasteful work. While it's not a common phrase, a brief search of the internet shows several usages that do not involve killing people. In fact it most commonly is used in the context of staff reorganizations with terminations.OLBERMANN: There‘ve been stories all day, Andrea, of nothing less than a blood bath in terms of the hierarchy of the Clinton campaign.
Notice the other similar words there: "rough up", "kneecap", "dispose of". Clearly these are meant figuratively, as it's just an article about encouraging people to speak up in boardroom debates. The reference is about getting rid of team members who are not working out. Just like with the Clinton campaign.Financal Times, 2009
How many of you have brand police jealously protecting your message, eager to rough up, kneecap or generally dispose of staff that in any way tarnish the corporate image you are so keen to protect?
No one feels proud of sanctioning this PR “wet work”, but we reconcile it with the fact that the company is more important than the individual.
http://www.politicalcortadito.com/2013/11/26/miami-beach-aides-fired-hired/Up in the Air was a ... film that featured George Clooney playing Ryan Bingham, a road warrior whose job is to travel around the country firing people. This company does contract "wet work" for corporate executives who are too timid to do their own firing
Again, "wet work" refers to getting rid of staff by firing them, not killing them.The Vice Mayor also confirmed that there had been pressure to fire Fernandez and that she had been threatened with losing the finance committee (read: relevance on the commission) and choice boards if she made any move to save Fernandez.
“Nothing directly from the mayor,” she said, and everybody knows that Miranda is the one doing Levine’s wet work.
But even though the mayor has the right to fire Fernandez, via the charter, it certainly looks like the wrong thing to do.
Again this is referring to staff changes, terminating people.Since Kees’s termination in January, the MPO has been Claus Peter Flor’s world and things have been in an aggressive downward spiral. His concerts haven’t been able to draw more than 500 people into the hall and it’s become pretty clear that concertgoers are starting to catch a whiff of what kind of person he really is. Mr. Flor has a few lunch/dinner/coffee goons within the orchestra with whom he had wrongfully confided that ‘he knew which people in the orchestra were most against him and that he would have his revenge’. He has obviously held true to his promise. However, he has made a gross miscalculation because Mr. Flor obviously doesn’t see the fact that, after the MPO Management is finished having him do their ‘wet work’ for them, they will undoubtedly dispose of him post haste. As for his goons, these people are well aware that they don’t have the goods to win other jobs, so they just want to ride the MPO to the ground while staying as safe as possible.
It's not limited to that usage though:
Even the Conservative leaning Fox News has used the term similarly, in a political campaign context.If the decision making that will start the sagger wars again, included the teachers and staff members who will be expected to do the wet work of enforcing an unpopular dress code, I doubt they would have adopted this issue as a hill they're willing to die on.
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/12/01/can-newt-end-gops-conservative-cannibalism.htmlUntil now, Romney had been able to rely on other conservatives to do the dirty work when it came to bringing down whomever the top Not Romney of the moment was. Michele Bachmann was most adept at this wet work, prompting a Romney staffer once to brag to a Washington Post columnist that she would “rip [Rick Perry’s] eyes out” just as she had done to former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. And she did, too.
"Wet work" has also been used in the sense of political work that does not look good, for example Richard Nixon's early years in politics:Romney had to rouse himself to attack Perry, and did so often – slamming Perry from the left as too radical on Social Security, from the right as too weak on illegal immigration and always as a career politician. Perry’s stammering responses to Romney’s cool cutting helped send the Texan down to the second tier in fast fashion, but Bachmann, Cain, Santorum and Paul did the wet work.
I don't think they are suggesting Nixon was assassinating people for Eisenhower.Born and reared in the California outback, Nixon scratched his way from utter obscurity to the vice presidency of the United States in only six years. That rapid rise may have doomed him—depriving him, as it did, of tempering experience. He could campaign with repellent unctuousness, salted with snarl and insinuation. He won a House seat in 1946, and a Senate seat in 1950, by portraying his opponents as the dupes of communism. In the 1952 and 1956 elections, as the Republican vice presidential candidate, he handled the political wet work for Dwight Eisenhower, letting Ike soar above the fray.
And in similar but more obscure usage referring to political (non-killing) dirty work.
And here's the Koch Brothers, their "wet work" seems to be the Super PACs and targeted ads.Well it's official, the United Jewish Education Board and the Australian Christian Lobby have railroaded Minister Dixon, and he's now publically going against the advice of his own Department.
Read and weep. This is a stunning blow to our campaign, and blight on our society. These groups should be ashamed ... but alas, here they are proudly showing their political wet work. This is not education, folks, this is special interest politics at its worst.
Some more obscure usage:Charles and David, together (and they seem to do everything together), own the world’s second largest privately held company, are worth tens of billions of dollars and operate a vast and powerful network of right-wing political organizations trying to take down President Obama. For their political wet work, the Koch brothers have become boogeymen of the left and heroes of the libertarian-leaning right. For critics, the fundraiser was a manifestation of everything wrong with the country’s current campaign finance regime.
Even John McCain had lawyers doing "wet work" for him.
Oh man, things are getting hot in Alaska this evening. The right wing law firm doing the McCain campaign's wet work on troopergate was slapped down in court today -- the Branchflower report can come out. Now comes word (Mudflats) of an emergency filing to stop the report, with the Alaska state supreme court, which has agreed to hear the motion. More at Anchorage Daily News.
And of course, Trump:Just watched the video of Matt Lauer attempting to do the Bush's wet work, and had a thought:
Bob Woodward used the term "wet work" in his book "The Price of Politics"Trump's wet work against Rubio shows character assassination works
And a minor clarification of the quote, "the Vineyard" is a common term for Martha's Vineyard - a popular retreat for the rich and powerful, and a place where Clinton had been many times. Note the capitalization.As the group gathered in Room S219 on the Senate side of the Capitol on May 24, day four of their meetings, Jack Lew was seeking someone to do some political wet work. Before everyone was seated, he pulled Van Hollen aside.
Will you take on Baucus on farm subsidies? he asked