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Republican Cat Fights and Candor

For weeks, the media has been trying to inflame a good fight between the Democratic candidates, and the best they could muster was the Clintons hinting Obama was a roll of the dice (well, isn’t he?), Obama implying Republicans might oppose Edwards and Clinton (uh, yeah, so . . .) and Edwards accusing Clinton of being willing to work within a corrupt political system (and the alternative is?). This is pretty tame stuff. It seems my concerns about an excessively negative campaign were misplaced. I should have been watching the Christianists:

From Meet the Press:

MR. RUSSERT: You’re suggesting that Mitt Romney’s not running an honorable campaign.

GOV. HUCKABEE: I’ve been very clear about it. Mitt Romney is running a very desperate and, frankly, a dishonest campaign. He’s attacked me, and, and yesterday–or Friday, I guess it was, he launched then just a broadside attack against Senator McCain. Now, Senator McCain and I are rivals for the presidency, but I’ve said on many occasions, I’ll say it again here today, Senator McCain is an honorable man, and I believe he’s an honest man. I believe he’s a man of conviction. And I felt like that, when Mitt Romney went after the integrity of John McCain, he stepped across a line. John McCain’s a hero in this country. He’s a hero to me.

And I just felt like that when Mitt Romney gets on your show and says that he had the NRA endorsement when he didn’t; when he comes on and says he’s pro-life and yet he signed a bill that gives a $50 co-pay for an elective abortion in his state’s health care plan; when he claims that he’s really for the Second Amendment, but he–on this show he talked about how he supported limitations and restrictions on lawful, law-abiding citizens having gun ownership rights, those are not the marks of a person who’s pro-life and pro-Second Amendment. And then the things where he’s made up these visions that he’s had of marching with Martin Luther King and his dad marching with him. You know, Tim, what I’ve said, and I’ve been pretty blunt about it, if you aren’t being honest in obtaining a job, can we trust you to be honest if you get the job?

John McCain appears to support this view:

DES MOINES, Iowa – Mike Huckabee says John McCain is a hero. McCain says Huckabee is a good man. And they both seem to agree on this: Mitt Romney is neither.

The Republican rivals joined Sunday to criticize Romney — McCain in New Hampshire called him a waffler and Huckabee in Iowa questioned whether he can be trusted with the presidency, a sign of Romney’s strength in both states.


Airing ads that suggest Romney is a phony, McCain said that’s not a word he’d used, but "I think he’s a person who’s changed his positions on many issues."

The AP article then contributes to the fight by repeating, as though facts, most of Romney’s negative spin on Huckabee’s terms as governor.

The Beltway worries that Democrats may be too partisan, a notion that prompts this great Digby rebuttal. Meanwhile, Ron Paul puts all the Democrats to shame by going after Fox News for arbitrarily removing Paul from the next candidates forum:

“They are scared of me and don’t want my message to get out, but it will,” Paul said in an interview at a diner here. “They are propagandists for this war and I challenge them on the notion that they are conservative.”

Why can’t the Democrats say that? Compared to the Republican trench warfare, the Democrats are having a tea party. Cake, anyone?

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John has been writing for Firedoglake since 2006 or so, on whatever interests him. He has a law degree, worked as legal counsel and energy policy adviser for a state energy agency for 20 years and then as a consultant on electricity systems and markets. He's now retired, living in Massachusetts.

You can follow John on twitter: @JohnChandley