Gilmore: McCain, Guiliani, Romney Phony Conservatives (Video)
RalphHallow reported in yesterday’s Washington Times that,
Former Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III will become the first Republican presidential contender to say publicly that the three top-ranked party candidates are phony conservatives. Unlike the Democratic competition for the presidential nomination next year, where supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois already are trading snide remarks and negative innuendos, Republicans have been observing their 11th Commandment about not speaking ill of one another.
However, Mr. Gilmore singles out former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Sen. John McCain of Arizona in an ad that will be posted tomorrow on YouTube.com and his campaign Web site (www.gilmoreforpresident.com) as well as e-mailed to likely voters in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses.
“The three leading challengers for our party’s nomination may be good men, but they simply do not share our conservative values,” Mr. Gilmore says in the ad.
Here’s the video:
It’s not a bad ad, although Gilmore seems a little fidgety. Reagan was right, though. The problem with name-calling in the primaries–especially by dark horse candidates like Gilmore–is that it provides fodder for the other side to use in the general election campaign.
The classic case was the 1980 election itself, when Reagan added his former chief rival for the nomination, George Bush, to the ticket as his running mate. Bush’s characterization of Reagan’s fiscal agenda as “Voodoo Economics” was used to bash Reagan throughout the cycle and again in 1984. Now, granted, Reagan won both elections rather easily. But Bush gave the Democrats extra ammunition.
In 1988, an obscure ad that got major attention thanks to being played over and over again on the news shows pointed out that Michael Dukakis had signed a furlough for a prisoner by the name of Willie Horton who committed unspeakable crimes while out on said furlough. It was Al Gore’s team who had dug that one up in the primaries, only to see it used against Dukakis in the general election. Again, it’s not as if Dukakis was going to win anyway. But Gore didn’t do him any favors.
It’s much better for candidates to contest the primaries based on why they’re right for the job rather than tearing down their opponents. After all, one of those guys might win. Sure, Giuliani, McCain, Romney, Gingrich, and others have some major flaws that will not please parts of the conservative coalition. All all better conservatives than Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.