Cowardly Gutter Politics

Posted: Nov 19, 2007 12:00 AM
Cowardly Gutter Politics

For those who still don’t understand why so many Americans have become disgusted with the politics of today, they need look no further than the vile smear campaign that was orchestrated against former Governor Mitt Romney last week.

Residents of Iowa and New Hampshire received calls that purported to be part of a poll, when in reality, they were a carefully planned assault against Romney and his Mormon faith. Upon learning of the calls, the former Governor said, “I think the attempts to attack me on the basis of my faith are un-American.”

More than “un-American,” these calls are cowardly and despicable. As one who has worked on several presidential campaigns, I understand full well that there are those who operate from the shadows, will sell their services to the highest bidder, and then do whatever it takes to destroy the assigned target. For people like this, not only are children, spouses, and religion not off limits, but as we have seen time and again, they are front and center in the mugging.

I have long maintained that not only are the vast majority of voters sick of such schemes, but that they understand the political process much better than most assume. And with this bigoted attack, what the voters understand is that someone gave the order to do this. Someone drafted those morally repugnant questions. Someone approved the draft. And finally, they understand that someone – be it someone at a rival campaign or at a group supporting a rival campaign – then gave the green light for the character assassination to proceed.

Why Governor Romney and why those two states? The obvious answer being that he has a substantial lead in both states and someone decided to push the panic button. In pushing that button however, the perpetrators may have also violated New Hampshire law. A possibility that is now being investigated by the state attorney general, and a curious media.

As Republicans and conservatives prepare to vote in the primaries, we need to declare in a loud and unified voice, that such obscene campaign tactics will never be tolerated. We need to reinforce that such prejudiced behavior is an anathema to the ideals we espouse.

It has just been reported in the media that “Agents of Senator Hillary Clinton are spreading the word in Democratic circles that she has scandalous information about…Barack Obama.” Is this the example some Republicans choose to emulate? Are the “conservative” agents who just maligned Mitt Romney, his family, and his faith, now following the debauched playbook of the Clintons and hate groups like

Support him or not, by all accounts, Mitt Romney is an incredibly decent person and a loving husband and father. In this instance, he deserves better, his family deserves better, and Republicans know better.

As Paul Weyrich recently pointed out, Romney is not running to be the head of the Southern Baptist Convention, but to be President of the United States. Weyrich believes that Romney’s “experience, vision and values” makes him eminently qualified for the job. Some will agree with that assessment, others will not. The American people will make the final call.

But, to cast the most informed vote in the most important election in our lifetimes, it is essential that we are spared the politics of personal destruction practiced by those more interested in lining their pockets or victory at any cost.

On September 11, 2001, our nation was attacked by extremists who had no respect for their faith and hoped to vanquish ours. An attack on a candidate’s religion should be off the table. Surely we are better than that.