Friday, April 25, 2008

NC GOP Right, McCain Wrong

I strongly support John McCain for the presidency of the U.S. I have done a great deal online – and off – to advance the cause of John McCain, and I will do a great deal more.

That said, I strongly disagree with McCain’s position that the North Carolina GOP should withdraw an Obama ad, one using Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s anti-American and anti-white comments to criticize two NC Democrats running for governor. Both candidates (Richard Moore and Bev Perdue) have endorsed Barack Obama.

John McCain has said “there’s no place for that kind of campaigning, and the American people don’t want it.” He also added that his knowledge of the ad was second-hand. In his words, “I didn’t see it, and I hope that I don’t see it.” Frankly, if he wants to condemn the ad, he should at least look at it.

John McCain is an honorable, decent man. In the case of the NC ad, he’s overstepping his authority. Yes, he will be the Republican standard bearer, but the North Carolina GOP is a separate entity, responsible for the performance of Republicans in their state.

Frankly, there’s nothing false or meretricious about the ad. Rev. Wright presented the sermon featured (the one where he says “God damn America”) as it appears in the ad. Obama has distanced himself in vague ways from what he calls Wright’s “controversial” remarks, but has not spoken in any detail about the issue.

In fact, Republican candidates around the country are holding Democrats to account on their support of Obama. In my own congressional district, GOP candidate Melissa Hart has repeatedly criticized her opponent, Jason Altmire, for not distancing himself from Obama’s so-called “bitter” comments. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is supporting such efforts.

As for McCain, he’s taking too much of a kid gloves approach to Obama, who misrepresents McCain’s position on a daily basis. Most disturbingly, McCain told MSNBC’s Chris Mathews that Obama’s “bitter” remarks were “elitist,” but that he wouldn’t characterize the Senator himself as an “elitist.”

I give up. Even Hillary Clinton, Obama’s fellow Democrat, has called him an “elitist.’ Frankly, an elitist is someone who makes elitist remarks and is guilty of elitist associations, and Obama regularly does both.

I sometimes fear that Senator McCain yearns for the good old days when the U.S. Senate was a “gentleman’s club.” In his chronic misrepresentations of McCain – for example, saying he’d like to fight the Iraq War for another 100 years – Obama is not exactly being a gentleman. In fact, he’s being a left-wing elitist, one detached from the realities of life in most of America.

In the campaign, Obama and his friends at are going to throw the kitchen sink at McCain. Heck, they’re going to throw the stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher at McCain – not to mention the local landfills.

Senator McCain can not be under the illusion that he’s a latter-day Dwight Eisenhower running a contemporary version of Adlai Stevenson. Like the North Carolina Republicans, McCain must not overestimate the character of his opponent(s).

In the Gulf War, General Schwarzkopf said his approach would be to “hit the enemy in the face with a baseball bat.” Frankly, that’s a good description of what American leftists -- including Barack Obama – will try to do with McCain.

When you see a baseball bat coming your way, the best approach is NOT to turn the other cheek. Trust me, Senator Obama and his supporters are not to miss any opportunity to defame John McCain, and he’s better be ready for that.

Note: The material below describes in some detail the controversy over the NC political ad.

"We asked them not to run it," McCain told reporters traveling with him in Kentucky. "I'm sending them an e-mail as we speak asking them to take it down.

"I don't know why they do it. Obviously, I don't control them, but I'm making it very clear, as I have a couple of times in the past, that there's no place for that kind of campaigning, and the American people don't want it," McCain said.

McCain said the ad was described to him: "I didn't see it, and I hope that I don't see it."

Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan, who accompanied McCain, said he had left a voice mail message for state party chairwoman Linda Daves asking her to pull the ad.

McCain, in an e-mail to Daves, said he will draw sharp contrasts with Democrats. "But we need not engage in political tactics that only seek to divide the American people."

Asked about the ad during an appearance in New Albany, Ind., Obama said: "My understanding is that the Republican National Committee and John McCain have both said that the ad's inappropriate. I take them at their word, and I assume that if John McCain thinks that it's an inappropriate ad, that he can get them to pull it down since he's their nominee and standard-bearer."

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean piled on, saying McCain should call the party chairwoman personally.

"If John McCain means what he says, he should call the North Carolina Republican Party chairwoman and tell her not to run this ad," Dean said. "Sending an e-mail and turning a blind eye as the state party ignores him is not leadership."

North Carolina GOP spokesman Brent Woodcox said the ad will begin running statewide on Monday, a week before the state's crucial May 6 primary. The ad actually targets gubernatorial candidates Richard Moore and Bev Perdue, Democrats who have endorsed Obama.


Brad Marston said...


I am not certain that I disgree with you at least on many of your points. I believe that if as it appears Obama is the nominee, he, Howard Dean and will definitely go negative.

While I have no inside insight to this other than being on the blogger call yesterday, I think Senator McCain does believe that the differences between his postions and those of Barak Obama are in stark enough contrast that a campaign on the issues is not only possible but preferable.

In my post yesterday about the Blogger Call It's The Issues Stupid I talk about exactly that.

I think the American public wants that campaign and certainly the independents, conservative democrats and unlikely or infrequent voters are looking for that campaign. One need only look at the growing backlash at both the Democratic candidates as their campaigns sink ever lower into the mud.

Of course the cynical political strategist in me thinks the McCain Campaign may be playing this just right. With a wink and a nod they say take down the ad as it fuels the controversy and keeps it in the news. It gives them plausible deniability while the YouTube hit count breaks 200,000.

If you get a chance, stop by our new site McCain Now

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Brad, as I said, I think John McCain is a superb American, but this was NOT his finest hour. When he said that he hadn't seen the ad -- and didn't want to see it -- he became the John McCain that profoundly irritates some Republicans. In this case, he had a moral and intellectual obligation to see the ad before he humiliated the NC GOP by asking them to pull it. He made it sound like an exercise in hubris and bullying. It was not his right or responsibility to tell an independent state GOP how to conduct their campaigns. Barack Obama said John McCain IS the "GOP standard bearer." In fact, John is the presumptive nominee but he will not be the standard bearer until the Minneapolis convention. Brad, on what basis did John McCain ask the NC GOP to withdraw their ad?

On the Conference Call, Patrick Hynes asked me if I wanted to participate. I told him I did and that I wanted to ask a question and write a column about the NC ad. Apparently, that was enough to get me withdrawn from Patrick Hynes's daily up-date list.

Frankly, Brac, the McCain effort needs to learn who their friends are -- including the NC GOP and Steve Maloney -- and who their friends are not. In fact, John McCain's best friends are those with the guts to tell him when he's wrong and why.

Patrick Hynes spends too much time whining about the media "not doing its job." Patrick needs to recognize that most of the national media sees its jobs as getting Barack Obama elected President of the U.S. Patrick also spends too much time complaining about the unfairness of the Obama Campaign's remarks about Senator McCain. I have news for Patrick; that is the nature of the Obama Campaign, and it is going to get much much worse.

Is there anyone on the McCain paid staff telling these "incovenient truths" to the Senator? I fear not.

In my dust-up months ago with Sheridan Folger, the self-appointed blog guru, I criticized him for his condemnation of younger voters (whom he called a bunch of drugged up jerks living on "daddy's money") and his codemnation of Romney and Thompson voters. If John McCain or Rick Davis were paying any attention to what's occurring online, they would have kicked Sheridan Folger to the curb.

The Folger controversy came about when he vigorously denied that Obama's online effort was MUCH (much, much, much) bigger than McCain's. Sheridan took that personally. In fact, Obama had had two million donors, most of them solicited and giving online. I don't know exactly how many donors John had had but a rough guess would be an about one-quarter as many as Obama. Compared to the Left, the right (and I'm one of them) is a bunch of cheapskates.

The issues I've raised are small signs that all is not right with the McCain Campaign. Apparently, the Senator is receiving some very bad advice. And a few of his supporters have views that could do real damage to the John's efforts to get elected.

steve maloney
ambridge, pa

Daltonsbriefs said...

I posted similar question and referred to yours:

Should the North Carolina GOP run the ad?

I for one think John Mccain is doing the right thing, tell them you'd prefer to play it clean. Then if they attack Hillary or Obama he can still be outside the mess. That is the job of the party, always has been.