There is no M. Thomas Eisenstadt.
There is no Eisenstadt Group.
There is no Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy.
M. Thomas Eisenstadt is a hoax. And, while I'm no law expert, I'd say he's guilty of identity theft at least in some manner.
Basically, the conclusion I've pieced together is this: Someone started a blog called www.michaeleisenstadt.com.
That blog had the title of: The Eisenstadt Group - Home. Its description: The Eisenstadt Group is the home of consultant and political analyst Michael Eisenstadt.
Now, of course, there is a real Michael Eisenstadt, who works for the Washington Institute. I am 100 percent sure that these two are not one and the same, and I'll get back to that later.
Anyway, this hoax blogger then ceased using michaeleisenstadt.com, creating a blog instead known as Eisenstadtgroup.com.
The hoaxer in question titled the blog - M. Thomas Eisenstadt's Blog - but also promoted the fictional Eisenstadt Group.
A multifaceted consulting firm specializing in political campaigns and issue advocacy.
It all comes down to three simple words: Experience. Dedication. Results. And if there was a fourth word, it would be Experience again. We’ve succeeded because of a firm commitment to each and every client. We don’t take on more campaigns or advocacy than we can handle.
Over the last 14 years, The Eisenstadt Group has consulted on some of the most high-profile and competitive political campaigns across the country. The Group has also served as a consultant on countless issues and legislation pertaining to foreign and domestic interests and national security.
There is no evidence anywhere that The Eisenstadt Group exists, outside of references to it that were planted by the hoaxer.
There hoaxer also invented Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy, which also has no evidence of existing, outside of references planted by the hoaxer.
Michaeleisenstadt.com, eisenstadtgroup.com, and hardinginstitute.org all share the same IP address.
The hoaxer also used the tactic known as "sockpuppetry" to comment on other blogs, often linking himself up with more well-known conservatives such as Daniel Pipes and Debbie Schlussel. You can also note on his site that nearly every one of his posts consists of myriad links to other blogs. While there is nothing wrong with this tactic, per se - if you're a writer looking to be noticed, linking to higher profile blogs is a good way to do that - but when combined with the sockpuppetry it shows a sustained effort to make the hoaxer appear to be someone he's not. The comments left by the hoaxer are both positive, and negative, and almost always of the same style, as shown here.
On the hoaxer's bio page, he writes that "National Journal’s The Hotline referred to Mr. Eisenstadt as 'a rising GOP pundit.'" On Debbie Schlussel's bio, she writes "The Hotline, politics' and talk shows' most influential newsletter and online website, called Schlussel a 'rising GOP pundit.'" Schlussel, mind you, is a pundit that the hoaxer often compares himself to in his sockpuppet comments.
The Web site Sourcewatch.org has a record for M. Thomas Eisenstadt, and for the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy. Sourcewatch, however is like Wikipedia in that anyone can add to it. The information on M. Thomas Eisenstadt and The Harding Instuitute were provided by a user known as "Kwah."
Aside from the Eisenstadt/Harding info added to Source Watch, the only other thing Kwah has added is to the bio of Scott Howell.
According to Wikipedia:
Herbert Weston Scott Howell III (born January 30, 1959), an American conservative political consultant, considered a pupil of the methods of political strategist Karl Rove. He was hired on August 24, 2007 by the Rudy Giuliani presidential campaign. …
… His early positive political advertisements, in which the candidates' children often appeared, gave way to his later aggressive campaigns, media ads based on opposition research, in which opponents have been compared to Osama Bin Laden.
In October of 2006, Howell was revealed as the producer, with Terry Nelson, of the "Harold, Call Me" attack ad used against democratic Tennessee Senatorial candidate Rep. Harold Ford Jr. in which a white woman said that she had met Ford at a Playboy party. The ad concludes with the woman speaking to the camera and saying to Ford "Call me."
That M. Thomas Eisenstadt and Scott Howell are both quick to use inflammatory language and are connected by the mysterious "kwah" is definitely interesting.
As for Mr. Michael Eisenstadt, I e-mailed him and he wrote back stating unequivocally that he was not M. Thomas Eisenstadt. He was courteous and respectful in his replies. While I find his views on foreign policy to be neo-conservative in nature and dangerous, I respect him for his responses.
After originally having questions about whether Mr. Eisenstadt was in fact the hoaxer, those beliefs have been completely quashed, for multiple reasons. One, Mr. Eisenstadt is respected in right-wing foreign policy circles and well known. It would make very little sense for him to begin a campaign to promote himself as someone else. If Mr. Eisenstadt wanted media attention and wanted to make television appearances and the such, he could easily hire an agent and would likely have no problem being either hired by a network, or used as a pundit on Near East issues.
Also, Mr. Eisenstadt's middle initial is J. About the only real connection I found between the two is that they have both used the word "yikes" in personal writings, and this doesn't seem to be much of a smoking gun, in my opinion.
I still have questions about whether Michael Eisenstadt is or will work with the McCain campaign. He does have the credentials. But, thus far, if he is, the McCain campaign is mum on the subject. They have yet to answer whether he is working for the campaign. The Washington Post said they have seen nothing to indicate Eisenstadt is working with McCain and know nothing of M. Thomas Eisenstadt. And Eisenstadt himself denied it.
Simply put: Michael Eisenstadt has nothing to do with M. Thomas Eisenstadt. The only connection between the two is that M. Thomas Eisenstadt chose to steal his identity.
One thing is more or less certain, however - the hoaxer calling himself M. Thomas Eisenstadt is not working with John McCain. If he somehow is, then the McCain campaign has been hoaxed into allowing a fraud onto their staff.
So, at this moment, here is my well-thought-out conclusion on M.Thomas Eisenstadt: He is a hoax. I believe he is male. I believe he is someone who was looking to score appearance fees on TV news shows and the such during what has been a chaotic political time. His bio is so close to Michael Eisenstadt, that I have very little doubt that he used it as a template to create a bio of his own. I also believe that he is guilty of identity theft, as he used Michael Eisenstadt's bio and reputation to try and create a reputation of his own. I believe that once this hoaxer realized that Michael Eisenstadt was more well-known than he originally thought, he killed off michaeleisenstadt.com, changing instead to M. Thomas Eisenstadt and eisenstadtgroup.com.
Who is M. Thomas Eisenstadt? I'm not sure. One clue to who he is came from his Technorati page where he uses the nickname "hardinginst" which would obviously be a shortened version of "Harding Institute."
Looking up "Hardinginst" on Google I was able to find several posts and replies by someone calling themselves "Hardingist" on several Internet tech forum sites. The one name that came up is "Allan Williams," though I can in no way verify who this is.
On a more conspiratorial note, comes the interesting connection of the hoaxer with youtube.com poster abrad2345. The hoaxer used a sockpuppet to promote himself, while having the sockpuppet ("Ronald" at Crooksandliars.com) link to abrad2345 videos. The hoaxer himself has mentioned these videos, and has linked to stories about abrad2345. Both abrad2345 and the hoaxer appear to be very fond of using homophobic, transgenderphobic and racist terminology.
Combine the connection of M. Thomas Eisenstadt, The Harding Institute, Kwah, Scott Howell and abrad2345 and there could be something there.
So, while I can't say for sure who the hoaxer named M. Thomas Eisenstadt is, his name could actually be M. Thomas Eisenstadt for all I know. He could be someone named Allan Williams. He could be the infamous abrad2345 in text form. He could be Michael Eisentadt (though, let me reiterate, I find this extremely implausible). He could be one of Scott Howell's lackeys. Again, I have no way to verify any of this.
I do know that he is a hoax and fraud. He is not at all who he says he is and has liberally used other identities to create one of his own. He is either someone looking to profit from the political season using a false identity, or he is perhaps someone used by either Republican or Democratic political thugs like Howell to create chaos in some form or another. Or he is just a ridiculous person that has too much time on his hands.
In my opinion, M. Thomas Eisenstadt is a mythical figure that should either be ignored, or investigated even further. If anyone else with more resources is interested in delving deeper into this (as it's not inconceivable that there's more to this story, especially the Howell-abrad2345-kwah-Eisenstadt connection) I would be interested in learning what they find, and would gladly help in any way I could.
Aside from that, I appeal to bloggers both conservative and liberal to help "out" M. Thomas Eisenstadt as a fraud and hoax that could only do damage to a blogger's credibility by mentioning in any serious manner.
Previous posts by me on M. Thomas Eisenstadt
Dennis Hastert joins law firm that wants to destroy everything Republicans believe
M. Thomas Eisenstadt - Is John McCain's new foreign policy advisor a racist, transgenderphobic, homophobic, sockpuppeting liar?
Michael Eisenstadt denies being M. Thomas Eisenstadt
John McCain's Foreign Policy Advisor M. Thomas Eisenstadt brings an army of sock puppets to the position
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