HolyCoast: Be Careful, Mitt, Don't Become John McCain II

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Be Careful, Mitt, Don't Become John McCain II

One of the most frustrating things about the 2008 campaign was the way John McCain hamstrung his supporters by making examinations of Obama's past and relationships off limits.  I don't think allowing such things would have necessarily changed the outcome, but it certainly wouldn't have had the demoralizing impact on Republican voters that McCain's desire to be an "honorable loser" did.

A group is promoting the idea of a campaign to raise those issues in 2012, but the Romney people are balking:
A group of high-profile Republican strategists is working with a conservative billionaire on a proposal to mount one of the most provocative campaigns of the “super PAC” era and attack President Obama in ways that Republicans have so far shied away from.

Timed to upend the Democratic National Convention in September, the plan would “do exactly what John McCain would not let us do,” the strategists wrote.

The plan, which is awaiting approval, calls for running commercials linking Mr. Obama to incendiary comments by his former spiritual adviser, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., whose race-related sermons made him a highly charged figure in the 2008 campaign.

“The world is about to see Jeremiah Wright and understand his influence on Barack Obama for the first time in a big, attention-arresting way,” says the proposal, which was overseen by Fred Davis and commissioned by Joe Ricketts, the founder of the brokerage firm TD Ameritrade. Mr. Ricketts is increasingly putting his fortune to work in conservative politics.
Of course, the media immediately ran to the Romney campaign and demanded they denounce these ads even before they've aired, and the Romney people were a little too accommodating for my taste. From Todd Starnes at Fox:
"We repudiate any efforts on our side to do so." -Matt Rhoades, Romney Campaign Manager on why they won't go after Rev. Wright.

Was Jeremiah Wright offered a bribe to keep quiet during the 2008 campaign? A legitimate question.

Team Romney = Team McCain -- and we all know how that turned out.
Personally, I think Rev. Wright is a sideshow and not worthy of all that much attention. If he was offered a bribe to shut-up during the '08 campaign, that's news, but I don't think the election is going to turn on that.

Romney wants to keep the focus on jobs, the economy, and debt. And if he can speak about them in terms average Americans can relate to, that's going to be powerful. However, he should not be immediately dismissive of efforts being made in his behalf. Legally he can't control what outside groups decide to do and he should just leave it at that. Don't denounce, don't repudiate, just remind the press that as free Americans they're entitled to their opinions and to spend their political money as they like. He might not always agree with them, but he agrees with their freedom to act.


Sam L. said...

Well...all they had to do is "bring up the question" to get sufficient publicity. Ad is not not required.

MikeyJ said...

I wonder if he will change his mind when the dem surrogates start attacking Romney's faith.