Mike McGavick Shows the Way?
WA-SEN candidate Mike McGavick scores with a pre-emptive strike against the kind of sleazy personal accusations that could have dominated the last week of the campaign. We'll know if it worked on November 7, and it's a very interesting strategy.
With all the ominous threats to make Rudy's personal life an issue, does it make sense for him to write a letter like this very early in the campaign, say January or February? If McGavick wins, I'd say it's kind of hard to argue against, and it would be the kind of gutsy, high-risk move Rudy is known for.
Like it or not, personal negative attacks are here to stay. We need to get this over with, so it's old news by the time Iowa rolls around. The "silly season" scrutiny of Bush's purported drug use in August 1999 was painful, but it prevented the equivalent of an "October Surprise" on the eve of a key primary or caucus. And had Bush fessed up to the 1976 DUI incident early on, the 2000 election may not have come down to 537 votes.
All in all, a classy move and an intriguing strategy, and a potential template for national politics going forward.
As to how personal life will figure in the 2008 campaign, I think Kate O'Beirne says it best:
Should Mitt Romney join a 2008 race that included John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich and George Allen, the only guy in the GOP field with only one wife would be the Mormon.