Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A stopped clock

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. So, in tooting my own horn:

I previously surmised that Romney was waiting to jump all over the Wisconsin Right to Life v. The Federal Election Commission decision. Minutes after the opinion was delivered, we got this from the Romney camp:
"Score one for free speech. Today the Supreme Court reaffirmed the First Amendment by rejecting a key feature of McCain-Feingold. The law trampled the basic right of the American people to participate in their democracy. It also purported to reduce the influence of money in politics, but we now know that influence is greater than ever. McCain-Feingold was a poorly-crafted bill. Today's decision restores, in part, to the American people a right critical to their freedom of political participation and expression."

McCain responded:

"While I respect their decision in this matter, it is regrettable that a split Supreme Court has carved out a narrow exception by which some corporate and labor expenditures can be used to target a federal candidate in the days and weeks before an election.

"It is important to recognize, however, that the Court's decision does not affect the principal provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, which bans federal officeholders from soliciting soft money contributions for their parties to spend on their campaigns.

"I am grateful to the Bush Administration and all those lawmakers, both past and present, who have joined us in our efforts to put an end to the corruption bred by soft money. Fortunately, that central reform still stands as the law."

Additionally, in the last comments section, I made the following observation:

"In the coming few weeks, Edwards is going to wish everyone was talking about his hair."

Sure enough, here is a story discussing Edwards latest fundraising letter:

Edwards' defenders have tried to turn the tables on his critics for obsessing over a trivial matter, but even Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of Daily Kos, the most prominent of the liberal bloggers, has chastised Edwards and his campaign over the haircut blunder. While blaming the press for driving the story, Kos said the haircut "really was a disaster on way too many levels to completely ignore and shrug off."

With that in mind, why in the world would Jonathan Prince, Edwards' deputy campaign manager, have sent a fundraising e-mail that draws more attention to the haircut? Titled "Haircuts And Hatchet Jobs," the e-mail solicitation blasts "political mercenaries and the chattering class" for attacking the messenger in personal ways because they don't like his message.

"Like many of you, I've been with John since 2004," Prince wrote. "The same folks who are attacking him now went after him then. ... Last time they attacked his hair; this time it's his haircut. But it's the same sad game."

As a PR move, the pitch is foolhardy. It keeps the haircut story alive another day -- or week, or month. It's also questionable as a fundraising tactic. While the e-mail might motivate Edwards supporters to back their candidate with more bucks to fight his enemies, it also might make them think twice about bankrolling a candidate who can afford $400 haircuts.

The answer to this is simple. It is to deflect attention to his founding of bogus charities to make sure that his campaign staff is paid during the offseason. Look at the tone of this article, and imagine Mitt Romney or Fred Thompson had did this. Would the coverage have been the same?

Next prediction: cloture on the Immigration Bill occurs today by a narrow margin, and is defeated on the second vote after the "accepted amendments" are revealed.


Sirocco said...

The Times has already acknowledged it opted to not speak to individuals who actually benefited from the charity, despite being given the opportunity to do so.

It's unquestionable the charity in some degree assisted Edwards by helping him keep in the public eye, but you could make the same claim regarding Bill Gates and his foundation. All the activities associated with running such a foundation (travel, speeches, etc.) are the same activities which supposedly "benefited" Edwards. That doesn't mean the charity itself was illegitimate (and, in fact, the original article itself acknowledges that ... waaaaaaayyyyy down at the bottom).

A lengthier, more detailed overview can be found here.

Liza said...

Well, this is not what I expected, Framer. I read the NYT link twice as well as the excellent link provided by sirocco.

Alright, so you have situation where smart lawyers set up a way for John Edwards to spearhead a poverty related charity AND keep himself in front of the public by travelling around the country being an advocate for poverty related issues. The big question seems to be whether or not he has done anything illegal, if one can make the case that his real motive was to extend his political campaign so that he could run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

I would bet at this point that, at the end of the day, no one will find anything illegal. I kind of doubt that he found his legal counsel at the bowling alley, Framer. My prediction is that his butt is covered.

However, what I can't predict is whether or not the right wing can make something of this. It seems like the kind of story that a Rush Limbaugh can run with, but who knows how much interest it will generate outside of the choir.

roger said...

Just something for the Thompson supporters out there:


It appears that not only Romney is a flip flopper on abortion (and Romney is)...Thompson is as well.

AZAce said...

I don't recall Thompson ever being much of a pro-life candidate except in extreme cases. That's one of the reasons I believe he takes votes from Giuliani.