You see, Brownback is using (gasp) phones to contact voters and tell them negative information about his opponents. In other words, he's doing exactly what he's supposed to be doing at this stage in a campaign. When you're a long shot candidate, it's not enough for voters to like you -- they've also got to dislike the other guy(s). Think that's dirty? Think it's beneath you? That's politics.
Now, let's be honest. I agree that Brownback cannot win -- and cannot raise money. But there's something more important at stake here. You see, I can't help but worry for our country when I hear pundits criticize candidates for "going negative." Elections are about choices, and voters have the right to make informed choices. And since conservatives surely can't count on the MSM to report the truth, much voter education must come from the candidates.
And guess what: politics is more civil now than it's ever been. If you really want to have fun, do some research on how they played politics in the old days...
But back to the issue at hand. Pointing out that Ann Romney donated to Planned Parenthood isn't a scurrilous attack -- it's merely pointing out a fact. Now, voters may dismiss it because they decide ... it wasn't much money ... that the candidate's wife doesn't matter ... that too much time has elapsed ... or any reason they choose -- but at least they have the right to know. (Note: Apparently Brownback is also attacking Tancredo. I'm less familiar with him, so I'm not in a position to state whether or not those attacks are based on truth).
The bottom line is that (next to campaign finance reform) the surest way to guarantee the frontrunner(s) will win is to punish outsiders for throwing some elbows. If you want to essentially guarantee incumbent protection (or frontrunner protection), then insist on "civilized" campaigns.
Criticizing a candidate for "going negative" during a campaign is tantamount to criticizing a football player for hitting his opponent too hard (on a clean tackle). Sometimes you've got to let the players play the game.
Ultimately having this debate now is a good thing. Whoever wins the GOP nomination will have to face these issues sooner or later. If these issues are truly disqualifying, it's better we find out now. And if they turn out to be minor, this is a good chance for the candidates to practice knocking them down.
Democracy is messy. Won't you join me in encouraging a vigorous debate?