I found an excellent article by National Review's Peter Wehner which uses the Larry Craig controversy as a springboard to a higher level discussion about hypocrisy. After reading his well-written article, I wholeheartedly agree with him that Craig himself is a nonissue. Sen. Craig is simply a vehicle that we can all use to examine the two types of hypocrisy Wehner mentioned in his article:
The issue, then, is whether one sees hypocrisy and wants people to live up to higher standards — or whether one sees hypocrisy and says that we should dissolve moral standards.At first glance, it seems like conservatives would be more inclined to fall into the former camp while liberals and libertarians would be more inclined to fall into the latter one. This would explain why conservatives are "disappointed" by Sen. Craig's "sins" while liberals speak ill of him as yet another "hypocrite." I can only wonder how partisanship alters this equation when the person at the center of a political controversy is a member of the opposing party. This would be a fascinating study for political scientists and sociologists to research.
It looks like Hillary Clinton has a little problem with a fundraiser. It turns out that one of her top fundraisers is a fugitive. This story just adds yet another brick to the wall of controversy surrounding the Clinton brand. This is the type of story that reminds voters of what they don't like about the Clintons. But even more telling is the fact that neither Barack Obama nor John Edwards can take advantage of this development. Barack Obama has his problems with Tony Rezko and John Edwards has his problems with his work at a hedge fund. Obama in particular is probably kicking himself for not being able to capitalize on this issue and is missing a prime opportunity to attack Clinton's weakest point with his strongest point: her tainted past vs. his advocacy of hope and good government. Edwards has talked about "not replacing their (Republican) insiders with our (Clinton's) insiders" and has also challenged Clinton to stop accepting campaign contributions from lobbyists. But as the old saying goes, people in glass houses...
(Oh, and are the Republicans licking their chops?)
Elizabeth Edwards continues to make her husband's campaign look absolutely ridiculous. First she accused Hillary Clinton of not being a "leader" and then accused Barack Obama of being "holier than thou." But then she later said "she doesn't think the hatred against Hillary Clinton is justified" and had the gall to say "she doesn't know where it comes from!" Is she serious? And remember, a few days earlier when John Edwards made his "Lincoln Bedroom is not for rent" attack, he later said "it wasn't directed at any particular candidate" and that "They need to move on from thinking about themselves and think about what's important to the country." John Edwards is right. It's clear from his and his wife's remarks that Clinton and Obama aren't even on the Edwards' political radar. That "non-leader" and that "holier than thou guy" must be paranoid and conceited. Look, I can understand that politics is a contact sport, but if you're going to attack your opponents, at least keep your stories straight and don't contradict yourself! I really think the Edwards campaign is going for broke this time. I don't know where all the anger and desperation are coming from, but it is very off-putting, at least to this voter.
Looks like Republicans missed an excellent opportunity to improve their standing among Latino voters. There was supposed to be a Spanish-language debate for the Republicans on September 16 in Miami, but it was canceled due to a lack of interest among the candidates. To John McCain's credit, he accepted the invitation. Even though Blacks overwhelmingly vote Democratic, the Latino vote is a bit more competitive. Blowing off opportunities like this is not a good way to improve your standing in the Latino community. I wrote about identity politics and pandering earlier. But unlike the gay issues debate I was talking about in that previous post, the risk-reward ratio is far more favorable to Republicans when it comes to the Latino community. If the Democrats nominate a candidate who can put the Southwest in play, such as Bill Richardson, Republicans may rue the day they decided to blow off this debate and blunt some of his strength in that part of the country.
And could Fred Thompson possibly have bungled his own campaign rollout any worse than he already has? First he was "thinking" about running. Then he was supposed to jump in the race shortly after Independence Day. Then his fundraising totals were a bit disappointing. Then the media coverage became less favorable. Then Huckabee and Romney snatched up all the media coverage after the Ames straw poll. And then he had all sorts of campaign shakeups and defections. And then the date he chose to formally enter the race is right after a Republican debate in New Hampshire, much to the consternation of Republican operatives because it further fuels the perception of him being a lazy candidate. So Fred Thompson now has a very high bar to clear when he actually does get in the race. And if he doesn't meet expectations, his campaign is finished.
Gay marriage ballot initiatives undoubtedly contributed to John Kerry's defeat in the 2004 election. (It was on the ballot in Ohio.) But how will this Iowa court's recent decision allowing gay marriage impact the race? I'd imagine the Democratic candidates don't have to treat it as delicately as the Republicans do. Will Mitt Romney, who was governor at that time gay marriage was legalized in Massachusetts, get sandbagged? Will his conservative credentials be further scrutinized? How will Rudy Giuliani respond? At what point will conservatives reach their dealbreaker with him? And how enthusiastically will Democrats embrace this decision? I haven't seen many media outlets talking about this issue so far, but I think it could potentially turn the Iowa caucuses upside down.