The Worst Attacks Are Coming
I don't mean by Al Qaeda but by all the people running for president. In a few months, the Congressional races heat up and that will add to the din. Without a doubt, 2008 could be a watershed election and both parties know it. The battle will get a lot more intense before it is over.
You can expect more attacks against this or that candidate as we get into the Fall season. The primary season begins early next year with a lot of states moving their primaries to much earlier dates than ever before and this creates pressure on all of the candidates. It comes down to time but, more importantly, money.
It takes an enormous sum to run a national-level campaign. That goes without saying but to stay in such a charged race requires the candidate to raise large sums of money if he or she is unable to self-finance (as Romney or Bloomberg can do). Money tends to flow toward those campaigns perceived to be most successful as the race tightens. The fringe candidates can hang in for whatever reason if they have a few deep-pocket contributors or a lot of motivated individual donors but it becomes increasingly more difficult as the campaign season matures.
To remain viable in donors' minds requires getting exposure in the media and damaging the campaigns of those that threaten most.
Thus, this is the season of attack pieces often masquerading as analysis or exposes or, in the case of NY Slimes, as news. It is why one should do some digging around stories that seem to play "gotcha" with a particular candidate. The worst of those sort of attacks are still to come and the animosity between campaigns, even in the same party, will only increase.
For Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama, the goal is to undermine the other's campaign while enhancing one's own, in hopes they will attract a larger share of the primary voters as well as a larger share of the potential donations to keep their campaigns going until the convention. Both campaigns appear to have an army of people working on just such things and they are possibly holding back the "best" as they get closer to the primaries. For Edwards, at this point, the goal is to maintain himself as the champion of the poor and a "reasonable" alternative to the war between Hillary and Obama.
Because the new primary schedule is so front-loaded now -- I believe the first wave of primaries is in February or March -- the Democratic candidates face a crunch time soon. After that first wave of primaries, those candidates significantly behind in delegate votes will come under pressure to drop out of the race. Sometimes, deals are struck behind the scenes to get a candidate to leave the race. It frees up potential donations for the leaders of the pack and simplifies campaigning to a significant degree.
But the inter-party sniping will continue, as well, because the Democratic candidates would rather have to run against Ron Paul in the general election than Rudy Giuliani. Or Romney. Or Thompson. So while they're attempting to assassinate each other over the airwaves and in print, they are also sniping at candidates in the opposition party. The Republicans will do the same.
So, anytime you read a piece in the future about this or that candidate, especially if it is a "gotcha" piece, realize it may have little or no substance behind it.
Actually,these attacks have plenty of substance behind them (just not the ones you may think). In particular, I have seen the call go out amongst the Democrats to, in true Watergate-like-fashion, 'try and get the Republicans to turn on their own'.
The Democrat party Merry Men consider this an extremely viable win strategy. It, they figure, will allow them to circumvent any lack of votes they may have among their own. They are looking for--or hoping to create--enough RINOS (or those who jump parties entirely) to win in Congress, win the presidency, and win in the courts--thus controlling all branches of our government.
We conservatives need to carefully circle our wagons. Let's make a pledge to keep intra-party squabbles out of the public eye, let's not easily criticize our own (at least openly), give up the Kumbaya-idea of being 'fair' and 'nonpartisan', and not be so quick to believe stories that negatively impact upon the GOP.
We may not know when they have been planted, by whom, or why, but the damage they do--and their clear intent--ought to answer most of those questions. Let's not help out the Dems anymore than we have to.