Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Thomas Edsall On John McCain's Romney Attack

We do not usually pay atention to the Huffington Post. It has far too many nutroots moonbats whining over there. But, like our discoveries regarding those ont he Left that can and do debate honestly, there is always a diamond in the rough. Enter Thomas Edsall:

(Hat-Tip: Allah @ Hot Air)

The McCain campaign's abrupt decision to lash out at Mitt Romney as a flip-flopper on abortion is a last ditch bid to revive a candidate whose poll numbers and financial resources are dwindling.

The McCain camp recognizes that its original strategy of establishing front-runner status and claiming the honored position of "next in line" is now in tatters -- leaving McCain with nothing but highly unpleasant choices.

He and his strategists have decided to risk everything on a high-visibility, direct assault on Romney, praying that it will draw enough press attention to wound the former Massachusetts governor.

The McCain attack violates the GOP orthodoxy embodied in Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandment, "Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican." If the tactic fails, the McCain campaign may be effectively over.

"Mitt Romney's biggest challenge in this election will be convincing Republicans he has principled positions on important issues, especially now that it's known that he remained committed to pro-choice policies after his 'epiphany' on abortion in 2004. In stark contrast, John McCain has a consistent 24 year pro-life record," declared Matt David, McCain's Deputy Communications Director, in an email sent out at 1:00 P.M. Wednesday.In a series of three email replies, the Romney campaign sought to rebut McCain. "Good afternoon, folks -- Lovely day to rapidly respond to desperate, faltering campaigns, isn't it?" one stated. But the substance of the McCain-Romney altercation is far less important than what the dispute says about the state of McCain's operation.

McCain and his backers have watched in the past week as he dropped from number two to number three in the polls, behind both Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson. RealClearPolitics.com calculated that after averaging the six most recent surveys, Giuliani stood at 26.1 percent, Fred Thompson at 16.6 percent, McCain at 15.9 and Romney at 10.4.

McCain has targeted Romney because of Romney's lead in the early caucus and primary states. Romney has been spending more than $4 million on advertising to take first place in polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire, and he is expected to attempt to launch television ads soon in South Carolina.

The net result has been the marginalization of McCain. Marginal candidates cannot raise money, making it much more difficult for McCain to compete in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, the three early primary states that can make or break campaigns.

We have spoken about this in recent days. John McCain's camp is not doing well. This is more than evident from The Hill report showing that the senator's campaign is in desperation mode:

Campaign officials issued a statement attacking GOP rival ex-Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.) for changing his position on abortion. McCain also called a press conference to attack Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), the Democratic frontrunner.

The more aggressive assault on rivals came shortly after a close friend and supporter of McCain told The Hill that the campaign is “in the doldrums.”

Until now, McCain had not explicitly attacked Romney’s position on abortion, keeping such a move as an ace up his sleeve. His decision to play the card now, days before his rival is due to address the National Right to Life Convention, suggests the Arizona senator sees the need to hit hard without delay. ...

Minutes after the salvo at Romney, McCain called a press conference in Los Angeles and criticized Clinton for including 26 earmarks worth about $148.4 million in the defense authorization bill, as reported by The Hill yesterday.

In both instances, the rival campaigns’ rapid-response teams cranked out literature, the harshest of which came from Romney.Romney spokesman Kevin Madden, calling McCain’s campaign “faltering,” sent out a list of excerpts detailing what he sees as the former governor’s commitment to opposing abortion, saying the McCain documents are full of “calculated distortions.”

“The McCain campaign’s motives are obviously borne [sic] of desperation,” Madden said in an e-mail. “Their actions are both sad and unfortunate.” ...

McCain’s campaign yesterday scoffed at the notion that the back-to-back hits had anything to do with a new strategy or what is widely perceived as a campaign in trouble.

“What we’re doing is highlighting Sen. McCain’s consistent conservative record,” Diaz said. “That’s something we have done and something we will do.”

Dan Schnur, McCain’s communications director during his 2000 presidential run, said any perceived problems McCain’s campaign is facing, particularly with fundraising, stem from the senator’s defense of staying in Iraq and any conventional wisdom that the campaign is in trouble.

Taking dirty, low-brow swipes at fellow conservatives is a sure sign that his camapign is doing whatever it can to take the eyes off of how badly they are performing. It is a classic tactic that usually backfires. Right now, it is clear that John McCain is on a sinking ship, and he refuses to see the writing on the wall. As for the assertion his communications director has made, with regard to fundraising, he is wrong. While the senator's stance on Iraq may indeed be a small part of the reason why he is not raising the funds he needs to, the broader reasons are his actions over the last six years.

When he lost the 2000 nomination, John McCain joined with Russ Feingold, and constructed campaign finance reform -- a bill conservatives blasted him for because of the free speech rights that it curtailed while protecting incumbents. He did not vote for the tax cuts that jump started the economy, and pulled us out of the recession created by President Clinton's woeful economic policy. His torture amendment did not endear him to the GOP base because they knew we already had laws on the books, and they knew he was doing it to give the administration a black eye over Gitmo and Abu Ghraib. The Gang of 14 was the final nail in his political coffin, and it was the biggest reason why neither Thomas nor I can support this man. Being attached to the immigration bill is showing the nation that not only is he oblivious to the obvious, but that he might be masochistic, as well.



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