Monday, January 22, 2007

Camenker, Brownback - response


The Camenker report is an interesting thing: an attack so early on from the right that presumably doesn’t come from another candidate. Camenker is portrayed as a noble fellow by the Boston Globe. I don’t doubt Camenker’s sincerity in what he believes. He is vehemently anti-gay. Yet there is a naivety in Camenker. When confronted with the fact that he aligns himself with groups like MassEquity and other gay rights advocates, Camenker essentially shrugs his shoulders. He says “All we're doing is spreading the truth.” That may be so, but with reckless abandon for what the consequences might be. Such a display should be exposed for whatever falsities it might contain and then shunned as the work of an extremist; which, I believe, is exactly what the Romney campaign has done.


As for Brownback, he is essentially the anti-McCain. He is socially conservative where McCain is not and a dove where McCain is a hawk. To me he seems more reactive than anything else. Certainly he will appeal to the conservative crowd. Is that enough, even in the Republican Party? I have my doubts. As to whose support he will likely siphon, it’s plausible that he and Romney will be vying for the same people. However, because of his stance on Iraq, the conservative vote is presented with more clear options. Do they want the socially moderate hawk (McCain), the socially conservative dove (Brownback), or the socially conservative hawk (Romney)? To me, it’s more than likely that Republicans will find the baby-bear (just right) candidate in Romney rather than choosing the hot or cold positions of McCain or Brownback. Of course this simplistic view of the candidates on two issues doesn’t encompass all the choices that Republicans will weigh.


Blogger Marc said...

Isn't this what the comment portions of each post are for Kyle? ;)

Camenker certainly seems overzealous and most won't view him as credible. The question is whether he'll succeed in making enough of the social conservative skiddish about Mitt Romney's record on social issues.

I don't really disagree with your assessment of Brownback, but I see McCain's hardline support for Iraq and the proposed surge as a massive mistake. Surge or no surge, the outlook in Iraq is not good at all and the chances are pretty good that the issue is going to sink 2008 hopefuls on both sides of the aisle. If not in the primary, then in the general election. If Republicans aren't careful, I think they might suffer another '06 at the polls in '08. Furthermore, I don't think being a hawk is mutually exclusive with being for what's going on in Iraq. I think Brownback has actually made a strategically brilliant move on Iraq that will make him a more formidible candidate than he otherwise would have been.

I also question whether primary voters will lump Brownback and Romney together as equally socially conservative. Regardless of whether they support Brownback, I think he will always be viewed as the "true" social conservative when paired with Romney, Giuliani and McCain. As for McCain, while he may have opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment, he can always point to his consistent record on abortion.

In 2004, many criticized the Democrats for nominating a candidate they thought could win rather than one who they really believed in. In nominating Brownback, I think primary voting Republicans would suffer from the opposite problem, nominating someone who they belive in, but who, in my mind, would be a real longshot to win.

I see Romney as a MUCH better general election candidate than Brownback. No contest. To be successful in the primaries though, I think Romney will need to patiently (and effectively) keep answering questions about his past positions, probably through most of his campaign. Anyone who thinks those questions are answered, I think underestimate what a hurdle Romney's past positions really will be.

10:08 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home