The McCain-Romney Murder/Suicide
"Murder/Suicide" is a term that entered the political lexicon in 2004's Iowa Caucuses, when Dick Gephardt gratitously attacked Howard Dean and Dean responded in kind, commiting the cardinal sin of singling out one opponent for attack in a multicandidate field and leaving voters to flock to the sunny, optimistic Kerry and Edwards Iowa campaigns.
Is the same dynamic developing between McCain and Romney? Marc Ambinder and Jonathan Martin explore.
Gov. Romney said what many of us were thinking and went after McCain for the "torture" fiasco. In doing so, what was a proxy war broke out into the open. Granted -- it's pretty small beans compared to the vicious stuff that's coming, but the time January 2008 rolls around, their campaign teams are going to HATE each other, and it's going to lead to some pretty nasty attacks in both directions.
Regular readers of this blog will know that in addition to my sincere admiration for Mayor Giuliani, nothing gets me riled up more than the prospect of Senator McCain slipping away with the nomination. But on the official level, Mayor Giuliani and Senator McCain get along fine. Their staffs are cordial, from what I hear. I can't imagine being in Mayor Giuliani's inner circle and NOT thinking of this past week as anything but a massive opportunity -- but it doesn't pay to directly attack McCain when others will do it for you. (And besides, McCain's 10-15% support among core primary voters could be what wins us the nomination once he collapses.)
Imagine this scenario heading into Iowa. Romney attacks McCain. McCain attacks Romney. And then there's Rudy, waiting in the wings, staying above the fray, sweeping up the voters tired of the nasty attack politics, winning Iowa and cruising to the nomination.