“The world is about to see Jeremiah Wright and understand his influence on Barack Obama for the first time in a big, attention-arresting way,” says the proposal, which was overseen by Fred Davis and commissioned by Joe Ricketts, the founder of the brokerage firm TD Ameritrade. Mr. Ricketts is increasingly putting his fortune to work in conservative politics. – G.O.P. ‘Super PAC’ Weighs Hard-Line Attack on Obama, by Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg
TOWNHALL RUNS with an “exclusive” from Mitt Romney with a headline blaring “Romney ‘Repudiates’ Conservative Group’s Planned Rev. Wright Attacks.” But before I could see the post, a pop-up ad for Edward Klein’s swiftboating screed against Pres. Obama blocks my view. Klein is the serial right-wing propagandist who Sean Hannity is hyping like a mad dog, which began with playing selected parts of Klein’s Rev. Jeremiah Wright interview for his radio listeners yesterday, followed by a performance on Fox News channel with Hannity last night.
“I’m not sure which is worse. Him listening to Rev. Wright or him saying that we must be a less than Christian nation.” – Mitt Romney, February 7, 2012
Of course, Romney “repudiates” is a gross exaggeration. Here’s the statement:
“I repudiate the effort by that PAC to promote an ad strategy of the nature they’ve described. I would like to see this campaign focus on the economy, on getting people back to work, on seeing rising incomes and growing prosperity — particularly for those in the middle class of America. And I think what we’ve seen so far from the Obama campaign is a campaign of character assassination. I hope that isn’t the course of this campaign. So in regards to that PAC, I repudiate what they’re thinking about … It’s interesting that we’re talking about some Republican PAC that wants to go after the president [on Wright]; I hope people also are looking at what he’s doing, and saying ‘why is he running an attack campaign? Why isn’t he talking about his record?’”
“I repudiate the effort… I repudiate what they’re thinking about…” but Mitt Romney hopes people are looking at what team Obama is doing and “saying ‘why is he running an attack campaign.’”
Anti-Obama TD Ameritrade billionaire and Romney Super PAC man Ricketts has rejected the Hannity-pimped Jeremiah Wright swiftboating road, though that hardly means it won’t be deployed in places where playing the race card is thought could work. From Burns & Haberman:
“Joe Ricketts is a registered independent, a fiscal conservative, and an outspoken critic of the Obama Administration, but he is neither the author nor the funder of the so-called ‘Ricketts Plan’ to defeat Mr. Obama that The New York Times wrote about this morning,” Baker said in a statement. “Not only was this plan merely a proposal – one of several submitted to the Ending Spending Action Fund by third-party vendors – but it reflects an approach to politics that Mr. Ricketts rejects and it was never a plan to be accepted but only a suggestion for a direction to take.”
It’s a long way from what Sen. John McCain’s choice, which was not to touch the subject. In fact, it just may be that because of McCain’s choice, team Romney will repudiate the “thinking” and the “effort,” but it will be unleashed anyway.
I’m not about to pretend that team Obama isn’t capable of the same. There’s an entire chapter in my book dedicated to the Axelrod-Plouffe strategy, which today Romney labeled “character assassination,” titled “Eating Your Own.”
Democrats have dragged everything they can up and over Mitt Romney’s candidacy, but Mormonism remains outside the acceptable for Obama and Democrats, while Republicans, including Mitt Romney, have no trouble invoking Rev. Wright and his religious ideas intending to adhere Wright to Pres. Obama.
Republicans are perpetually self-righteous, so feel entitled to go there, while Democrats are forever self-loathing after buying the right’s criticism that the left isn’t sufficiently religious. The entire faith competition having no place in American politics.
The problem with the Rev. Wright Super PAC ploy, if they manifest, is how the press will play it. That’s what will hurt Mitt Romney and his campaign, because if Chuck Todd’s reaction today is any indication Romney will be in for a brutal confrontation if he doesn’t make real efforts to stop the swiftboating of Pres. Obama through a Rev. Wright interview that dredges up issues of race, religion and 2008 issues that the press themselves didn’t see fit to focus on when they were relevant.
Pres. Obama was fairly elected, with the Rev. Wright discussed as much as the press saw fit to cover it, minus the dirt Edward Klein gets from Rev. Wright today, which Sean Hannity and his right-wing friends are too happy to regurgitate. Wright can’t get enough of the limelight after what he obviously sees as a betrayal by Pres. Obama, for not including him as his presidential pastor, though Wright’s behavior illustrates perfectly why the President did not.
The personal attacks on both Barack and Michelle Obama’s faith made by Wright in the Klein interview are particularly scurrilous and over the line. In the 21st century there are many ways to spiritually enlighten oneself, discover and even practice Christian faith that can go well beyond organized religion. Of course, that hits The Church, whatever denomination, in the pocketbook, which is one reason they fight against individual experimentation of faith so fiercely. The other is that most organized religions, including Mitt Romney’s Mormonism, believe women have no business leading anyone on issues of religion and faith.
As a feminist, organized religions leave very little freedom for a woman to own faith and participate equally with men. The Episcopal church has offered an open relationship for me, though that very much depends on the church, even if my main compass today is meditation.
The bribing allegation Wright asserts is not news at all. Given Wright’s hyperbolic rhetoric, the moneyed friends of any politician running at Obama’s level would have done the same thing.
Edward Klein’s charge that a black pastor told him that Hillary’s campaign allegedly wanted to pay him to say negative things about Wright is more of Klein’s swiftboating talent. It’s the same type of tactic Obama supporters utilized against Clinton in ’08, attributing a supporters actions to the campaign strategy itself, also covered in my book.
So far, the traditional and new media universe is buying the Romney “repudiate” campaign line.
One Politico post sucks it up: “Romney repudiates Jeremiah Wright plan.”
The New York Times headline reads: “Romney Rejects Using the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Against Obama.”
Jake Tapper’s headline: “McCain, Romney Camps Decry Super-PAC Proposal to Attack Obama on Rev. Wright.”
The Burns & Haberman blog, in a Maggie Haberman post, over at Politico put “repudiates” where it belongs: in quotes.