Wednesday, February 07, 2007

It’s Time To Support Edwards, Not To Drop Him Like the Republican McCarthyites Planned

ZAHN: You should go work for Mel Gibson.

DONOHUE: I'd love to! Hey, Mel, I'm for sale!
William Donohue has joined in the McCarthyite attacks on the Edwards campaign begun the other day by Michelle Malkin. They, or more likely hirelings in the Republican National Committee, have done what any McCarthyite would do and looked at the public record of writing by the two people hired to run the campaign blog. Their plan is to attack Edwards through them.

The left is taking sides in anticipation of the possible firings of the bloggers. Some are defending Edwards, some saying that this is a support killer. As of the time I am writing this we don’t know how he will handle it. Instead of getting upset with one of our own, we should focus our fire on Malkin and Donohue and the other Republicans who are mounting this, the first major attempt to knock off a strong Democratic possibility.

A president’s first loyalty isn’t to the people who are hired for their administration, a presidential candidate’s first loyalty isn’t to the people hired to run their campaign. They are asking The People of the United States for their support, for their permission to be their president and to administer the country. Their first and overwhelming responsibility is to the members of their party whose nomination they are asking for and, if elected, to The People of the country. That responsibility to The People supercedes their loyalty to their friends and staff.

Anyone who signs on to a campaign as a volunteer and, especially, as a paid staffer should realize that they don’t come first, they can’t come first. Campaign workers have to realize that they have an obligation to the campaign and to their candidate. Their decision to participate in the campaign carries obligations. The entire point of the campaign is for their candidate or ballot question or party to win the election.

In George W. Bush we have seen the consequences of someone who puts their friends and cronies before the welfare of the country. We can’t hold our politicians at fault if they recognize that there are bigger stakes and obligations more pressing than personnel issues.

Whoever hired people with a very long and very public paper trail without realizing that the Republicans would go through that with a fine tooth comb to come up with dirt to fling, is the first one who should be fired. There was a clear danger in hiring anyone who has a public record and a colorful writing style. There was nothing that happened here that couldn’t have been predicted. A manager who hasn’t mastered the lessons of the past thirty-five years of dirty Republican campaign tactics isn’t ready for a presidential campaign.

I hope that a way can be found around the problem but there probably isn’t one that will not be a bitter dose of medicine. By pinning the responsibility on John Edwards, on blaming him for the situation and so sinking his campaign we would be finishing exactly what Malkin and Donohue and the Republican fat cats that they take their orders from set out to do. We would turn this into a win for the McCarthyites.

There is a better way to handle than to hand victory over to Malkin and Donohue and it is to put these McCartyites on the spot, put those who give them a platform on the spot and to make them the issue, not John Edwards.

I think this is largely right, and I've resisted the whole 'if he dumps them I won't support him' posture.

That said, for me it isn't really about Shakes or Amanda (although I am pulling for both of them). I think the way he responds is an important sign of how he'll do when they unleash the attack dogs. I want a candidate in the general who understands that capitulation never buys us anything.
Tom, if you come back here to read this, please, I never hear that I'm right from people I respect anywhere near often enough.
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