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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Here Come The Dirty Tricks Brigade

Purely pathetic. That's what I thought when I picked this up from the Boston Globe this morning. The DNC Dirty Tricks Brigade are already starting their dirt-digging. The focus of this digging is none other than Mitt Romney.


Earlier this month, virtually every agency in state government received public records requests for ''any and all records of communication" involving Willard [Mitt] Romney dating to 1947, the year of his birth. The letters, each dated Dec. 7, are signed by Shauna Daly, who only provided a post office box in Washington, D.C., as her address.

A spokesman for the Democratic National Committee confirmed yesterday that Daly is employed as its deputy research director. Prior to that, she worked as a campaign staff member for presidential candidate John Edwards, the former Democratic senator from North Carolina. She also worked on other races since graduating from Smith College in 2001, including a US Senate race in Florida.

The spokesman, Luis Miranda, said the Democrats are seeking information on 11 potential presidential candidates, including Romney.

''He's a Republican with well-known presidential ambitions, and these days, that's not that special," Miranda said. ''This is just real standard operating procedure. Romney can show his commitment to transparency in government by complying with the Freedom Of Information Act requests in a timely manner. We're looking to be ready. There's something to be said for the Democratic Party doing this this far out."

Yeah, they're doing this because they're worried about Romney. Along with Sen. George Allen, he is one of the perceived front-runners for the GOP in 2008. Romney is governor of Massachusetts, and Allen was governor of Virginia before jumping to the Senate. Both are considered dangerous by the Democrats because they constitute the strength in leadership the Democrats lack. As of right now, the Democrats have only congressmen looking for the nomination, and that doesn't bode well for prospective candidates. They call this sort of digging a "standard procedure," yet was it "standard" when Sen. Schumer's office started digging into Michael Steele's credit records and other records in an attempt to dig up dirt on him? He is the leading contender to take the seat in the Senate that's about to be vacated by Sarbanes.

Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney's communications director, said fulfilling the public records requests will conservatively cost ''tens of thousands of dollars in staff time and legal review."

''Taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for the Democratic National Committee to put its dirty tricks attack squad to work against Mitt Romney, and so we'll bill them for it," Fehrnstrom said. ''I don't know what the Democrats think they'll find, but the bottom line is Mitt Romney came into office and cleaned up a $3 billion budget mess without raising taxes. To paraphrase William Butler Yeats, that's all ye know on earth, and all ye ever need to know."

LOL. You gotta love it when we hit back. I wouldn't release a shred of documents until the DNC ponies up the money for this information request. And Fehrnstrom is correct: Romney turned a state around that had a deeper budget snafu than California did when Arnie took over as governor. He's done good things for the state of Massachusetts, and even took on the State Supreme Court when they ruled that same-sex marriages were legal despite what their state constitution said.

Dan Schnur, who served as communications director for US Senator John McCain's 2000 presidential campaign, said the records request demonstrates that the Democratic establishment considers Romney a serious contender in 2008.

''If the Democratic opposition researchers are paying this much attention to Mitt Romney, that means they're worried, and, at the least, they want to be prepared and are taking him seriously," said Schnur, a Republican consultant based in California. ''If Romney's advisers are smart, the Democrats won't find anything that his own people didn't find a long time ago. Nobody has an absolutely pristine record, but the smart ones know all the problems before their opponents."

Romney announced Dec. 14 that he would not seek reelection, fueling speculation that he would devote considerable energy to a campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. His announcement was long expected by many political observers.

I think Romney is serious about a run in 2008. And I think he's got a good chance of winning the nomination. (All you McCain lovers out there aren't going to gain any traction. I have made it my mission in Arizona to do as much to McCain in the primaries as I can. I don't want him getting the nomination, and I don't want him anywhere near the White House as the Commander in Chief. He's a knuckle-head that's going to end up getting us killed.)

Romney has yet to say whether he will run for the GOP nomination, but is widely considered as a viable potential candidate, along with McCain of Arizona, former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani, US Senator George Allen of Virginia, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee.

Romney is serious. So is Allen. McCain's serious, but I'm betting he won't make it through the primaries. Giuliani is reluctant to make the run, and having only been a mayor and a prosecutor, his chances are slim and none. Frist has no chance of taking the nomination, and if he does get it, chances are he'll be running against a stronger Democrat, and they'll beat him like a bongo drum. My money, right now, is riding on Romney and Allen.

The letters from the Democratic National Committee arrived by the dozen in Massachusetts on Dec. 15, according to stamps on the letters, several of which were obtained by the Globe. In each, Daly appears to have used a form letter with a different agency name at the top. Agencies that received the letters include the Board of Registration in Medicine, Office of the Comptroller, the Department of Social Services, Department of Workforce Development, the Governor's Commission of Mental Retardation, the Department of Correction, the Division of Banks, the Secretary of State's office, the Treasurer's office, the Division of Insurance, the Division of Standards, the Office of Consumer Affairs, the state Commission for the Blind, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Commission on Indian Affairs, and the Commonwealth Corporation, a quasi-public entity.

The letters demand all records of communication ''including but not limited to letters, written requests, reports, telephone records, electronic communications, complaints, investigations, violation [sic] and memos" between the agency receiving the letter and Romney. The letters also demand all similar requests for documents filed since Jan. 1, 2002, the year Romney ran for election.

Daly asks that the information be provided on computer disk or CD-ROM within 20 business days and requests that any fees associated with fulfilling the request be waived. She provides a Washington telephone number. Calls placed to that number were not answered yesterday.

Um, no. You want the information, then you're going to pay for it. This request is no different than a request made by any citizen under the FOIA. We have to pay for things we're looking for. Daly should have to, as well. Just because this is "party research" doesn't mean that the fees should be waived.

Opposition research is a key element in political campaigns, as candidates or parties attempt to find controversial, embarrassing, or previously undisclosed information about a politician's past.

US Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts hired detectives to scrutinize Romney's past during the 1994 Senate race, in which Romney, a former venture capitalist, gave Kennedy his most vigorous challenge in his long career in Washington. The effort unearthed information that badly damaged Romney during the campaign: namely, that his venture capital firm had acquired an Indiana paper goods factory called Ampad Corp., fired more than 250 workers, and then rehired them at lower wages, leading to charges from the Kennedy camp that Romney was antilabor.

Ted Kennedy launching a dirty tricks campaign is rich. I've played the game before, and all I have to say to Uncle Teddy is "How's Mary Jo doing?" And how asinine was that charge? If Romney had been antilabor, then he wouldn't have hired any of them back.

Will Keyser -- a former Kennedy spokesman who is now senior vice president at the advertising firm Hill, Holliday -- said such research is ''standard operating procedure in modern campaigns."

''I would imagine that the Republicans would be doing the same thing, which is that they will be taking a good, hard look and beginning the process of compiling research on any of the possible presidential candidates," Keyser said.

''The Republicans did a remarkable workup on John Kerry [in the 2004 presidential race], and a lot of it was disgraceful stuff, but he lost and they won."

It's nice to see that the Democrats believe this is simply the way things are done, but they would be throwing temper-tantrums if this sort of dirt-digging was ever pulled on one of their candidates. And Keyser is wrong about Kerry. Pres. Bush and Karl Rove dug up John Kerry's Senate record, which is open to all. The people who tackled John Kerry on his service record were bloggers. And the reason for this is that politicians don't like to speak badly about one another.

Bloggers are a bit different. We're going to pose questions that people don't want to answer. We're going to do the digging and find out the facts. When we have them in hand, we're going to hit back with them. John Kerry's biggest mistake was in running his campaign on his Vietnam record. His record wasn't stellar to begin with, and when he started spinning the lies about his service, we just finished unraveling his campaign.

There is nothing wrong with looking into candidate's past dealings and work. It crosses the line when it goes after personal things, like the underhanded tricks by Schumer's office. But when it comes to people like Romney, who are going to be powerhouse candidates in the upcoming presidential election (maybe, Romney hasn't made it official, yet) the Democrats are virtually expected to cater to the lowest common denominator in opposition research. I suggest that Romney locks his mailbox and trashcans. I'm sure they'll be digging through those soon enough.

Publius II


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I look to The Aslyum to keep be posted on the elections this year and in 2008. I agree that I don't like my tax dollars spent in the fashion described. I also have a lot of faith in the bloggers to be factual and objective. I don't trust the msm. Rawriter

8:55 PM  

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