Saturday, November 17, 2007

Mitt condemns push polling

Jonathan Martin writes on The Politico:

Mitt Romney said this morning that the phone calls attacking his Mormon faith were "un-American" and faulted the legislation championed by his rival John McCain for making them difficult to trace.

"I think the attempts to attack me on the basis of my faith are un-American," Romney said at a press conference in Nevada, as seen in a video sent by his campaign. "This is a time when we’re preparing for Thanksgiving, a time when we’re going to be celebrate the fact that this nation was founded in part to allow people to enjoy religious freedom. We celebrate the diversity of different thougthts and beliefs. And the idea that people would attack religion at a time like this is frankly un-American.

Without prompting, Romney then predicted that there "will be those that ask, 'how in the world could this happen? How is it that we don't know who's doing it?'"

"In that regard, you know, you have to look back at the legislation that is known as McCain-Feingold," Romney said.

"The bill leaves an enormous, gaping loophole and says that if you form a 527 or 501c4 you don’t have to disclose who the donors are," Romney said. "They can give an unlimited amount. The result of that legislation you’re seeing played out in politics today."

Deeming the bill a "monster" that needs to be repealed, Romney argued that the calls show "just how ineffective it has been in removing the influence of money and underhanded politics."

UPDATE: McCain communications director Jill Hazelbaker responds to Romney's charge:

"It is appalling, but not surprising, that Mitt Romney would seek to take advantage of this disturbing incident to launch yet another hypocritical attack. It’s the hallmark of his campaign."

"Back when Romney was calling for taxing campaign contributions and banning PACs, and before McCain-Feingold was passed, push polling was, regrettably, alive and well in American politics. Anyone who spent a day in South Carolina in 2000 knows that."

Hazelbaker includes below her statement a trove of research detailing in-depth Romney's past support for campaign finance measures. As a candidate for the Senate in 1994 and governor in 2002, Romney backed restrictive campaign finance proposals meant to curb spending in both federal and state races.

Mitt Romney was the governor of a left-wing Northeastern state. To get elected by the liberal Northeasterners he had to present himself to them as someone who was left of center. This is the same position that Rudolph Giuliani was in when he sought the office of Mayor in New York City.

Now both men are seeking the nomination of the Republican Party which is still the home of the conservative movement, which is creating difficulties for both of them.

Giuliani's strategy for overcoming this disadvantage is to play the Hillary card by encouraging the idea that he is the ONLY ONE who can slay the Hillary Dragon while attempting to reassure conservatives that he doesn't believe that draconian gun control laws must be applied everywhere and that he will appoint Supreme Court justices who will take away what he considers to be a woman's constitutional right to an abortion.

Romney, on the other hand, is attempting to sell the idea that he is now and always has been a conservative. Any deviation from conservatism while governor of MA was just a temporary and unimportant little aberration which does not deserve to be even remembered let alone held against him.

Of course Romney also has the "Mormon problem" to contend with. While it may be that religion should not matter* it does. A great many people who know something about the Mormon religion are not going to be able to help picturing Romney in his magic underwear whenever they see him on TV.

Of the two Romney or Giuliani, Romney is vastly to be preferred. If hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue at least the hypocrite is acknowledging that virtue exists and is worthy of tribute. If Giuliani will not back off his liberal positions now how much less will he try to hide them after he has been elected president.

I have heard some people say that they will hold their nose and vote for Giuliani and then "hold his feet to the fire" but if you say that you're going to vote for him no matter what then exactly what kind of leverage are you going to use to hold his feet to the proverbial fire? All he requires from you is your vote. If you give it to him unconditionally all you do is prove to him that you are his bitch and he can lie to you, disrespect you, beat you bloody and leave you in the gutter, and you'll just come crawling back to let him do it all over again.

As for who was behind the push polling I'm betting it was the Giuliani people. The calls attacked Romney and said good things about McCain, which implicated him. That means that it almost certainly wasn't the McCain camp that was responsible. Since we all agree that Fred Thompson is too honorable to do such a thing. The only other front runner who could benefit would be Giuliani.

Of course this kind of juvenile dirty trick is exactly the kind of thing that Ron Paul's campaign has pulled. Now I'm leaning toward the ass-clown as the perpetrator.

*If you are one of the people who think that a candidate's religion shouldn't matter are you really serious about that? If a candidate was a member of the Heaven's Gate cult and said that he believed that Marshall Applewhite and the others were in the big spaceship that was following comet Hale-Bopp wouldn't that make a difference to you? If he were a Satanist who wanted to shed the blood of the innocent to serve his infernal master would you still vote for him if he had a really good plan to reform Social Security and control the borders?