Saturday, May 23, 2009

Negative campaigning in Virginia

During last year's Republican presidential primaries, I said that if Mitt Romney received the nomination, then the other Republican candidates would sound pretty foolish trying to campaign for him. After all, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, and especially John McCain had said on plenty of occassions that Romney was unfit to be president (basically). It's hard to rebuild a bridge once you've burned it down.

Terry McAuliffe finds himself in pretty much the same situation that Romney was in. Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds, his opponents for the Democratic nomination, have begun attacking him directly as the time draws near for Virginia's Democratic primary.

Some of the attacks echo complaints that McAuliffe is not as "Virginian" as others, since he's spent most of his time away from the Commonwealth while the other candidates were serving in state government. Other attacks claim he's not as "Democratic", since he campaigned for then Senator Hillary Clinton against then Senator Barack Obama. Every attack shows that both Moran and Deeds are concerned now, since all three seemed to be tied in the race for the nomination, and McAuliffe has the most money coming in for his campaign.

If McAuliffe becomes the candidate, then Moran and Deeds will need to do some pretty sharp 180's. They've pretty much avoided attacking each other, and McAuliffe hasn't really attacked either of them; so Moran or Deeds as a candidate could easily be endorsed by the other two. Not the case with McAuliffe, though.

What do you think is worse? Partisanism, or infighting?

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