"Can’t we all just get along?" Posted by: McQ
on Friday, February 23, 2007
At the Nevada "debate" for Democratic presidential candidates, Bill Richardson suggested all of them should sign a pledge not to resort to negative campaigning. And, by all indications, they agreed. This plea, of course, was prompted by an Maureen Dowd column in the NY Times quoting David Geffen, a supporter of Obama and formerly a supporter of Bill Clinton, who said of the Clintons:
"Everybody in politics lies, but they [the Clintons] do it with such ease, it's troubling," Geffen said.
That prompted outrage from the Clinton campaign which demanded Obama repudiate Geffen and give back the money he raised. The Obama campaign essentially blew it all off.
The sniping, of course, has continued. But as expected, not from the candidates who've at least unofficially agreed not to resort to negative campaigning. Instead it is coming from operatives and others associated with the campaigns (and that's the way most "negative campaigning" is done anyway) out there firing away. For instance James Carville on Geffen:
"A Hollywood guy like that, you try to get him to open his wallet and shut his mouth, because, inevitably, he gets around Maureen Dowd, he's going to make a fool of himself."
Now of course, other than being brutally frank and extremely arrogant, especially about a bunch who take themselves way too seriously and feel they should have a political voice ("hey, Hollywood types, shut up and pay") it keeps the turmoil and negativity alive.
The point? Don't believe pledges like Richardson has asked for to be taken seriously. At least in real terms. The campaigns may mouth the platitudes about positive campaigns and such, but they'll be working the negative side with fervor. And this goes for Republicans as well. The effect of negative campaigning is well known and appreciated and no politician is going to refrain from it if he or she feels that going negative is to their advantage.
Instead, the strategy will be to have proxies do it. Others not officially associated with the campaign do the dirty work, most likely fed the appropriate nuggets of info through the campaign's opposition research team. The press will knowingly (or unknowingly) participate in this as well. And of course, they've come to realize that the blogosphere is a perfect vehicle for getting out this sort of info. So it goes without saying the blogosphere will be knee-deep in it.
Despite the Nevada pledge, I expect to see the dirt piled higher and deeper in the '08 campaign (especially with the number of candidates and the early start) than in any we've seen for a long, long time.
Such agreements only last as long as they advanatge the candidates. Much like our ’freinds’, the ’Palastinians’, who view a cease fire as a chance to regroup for even bigger attacks, we’ll see these arguments flair up again... likely before the month is out.
I’m actually very glad that Rudy and the rest of the GOP is basically being ignored by the media now in favor of the Hillary-Obama bloodsport (well, ignored except for MORMON MORMON MORMON MORMON ROMNEY)
The eventual Dem winner is gonna come into the general election pretty well savaged and extremely damaged.