Our own Boss Emeritus made an appearance on Fox and Friends this morning to give vent to rising conservative frustration over Team Romney’s response to the ad called “despicable” by liberal commentator Brent Budowsky, “scurrilous” by Time’s Michael Crowley, and a violation of decency by Crowley’s colleague Mark Halperin and the Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler. Noting that the core of the Priorities USA Action super-PAC ad is the same Joe Soptic that Barack Obama’s official campaign introduced in an ad of their own and a conference call arranged by the same Stephanie Cutter who tried playing “Mission Impossible” by disavowing any knowledge of Soptic yesterday, Michelle Malkin urged Romney to start playing offense and initiate legal proceedings for the obvious and illegal coordination between Obama’s campaign and the super-PAC (via The Right Scoop):
Normally, I’d be leery about filing legal challenges in the middle of political campaigns, especially for Republicans. They tend to drag on for a long time, and usually don’t come to any satisfactory conclusion at all, certainly not before the election in which they take place. It usually ends up being a weak counter to whatever damage has been done by the ad.
This case, though, is unusual, for a couple of reasons. First, the super-PAC issue has been owned by the Democrats, even while super-PAC funding will end up benefiting Republicans. They have succeeded in large part in their attempt to paint super-PACs as eeeeevil shelters for eeeeevil Richie Riches who want to buy elections. If the Obama campaign broke the law with the coordination on Soptic, it’s going to make Obama look bad for demanding more laws to restrict super-PACs while his campaign breaks laws that already limit super-PACs. That’s a hypocrisy that goes right to the heart of their class-warfare strategy, especially in relation to super-PACS.
Next, we rarely see so much consensus on condemnation of an attack ad, and for that matter so much prima facie evidence of illegal coordination. For Pete’s sake, they couldn’t even have Soptic wear a different shirt between the two interviews. The implication in this ad is so outrageous, and the connections from Soptic to both the Obama campaign and Priorities USA Action are so obvious, that this practically begs to be used as a test case for enforcing laws against coordination between outside groups and official campaigns. If this isn’t a case for investigation and prosecution, then the laws regarding coordination will never be enforced. And we can thank Team Hopenchange if that’s the outcome.
Actually, I’m OK with that, too. We need to get rid of outside groups in elections, but not with more ridiculous regulation and the direction of campaign-finance reform for the past four decades. We need to end tax-free status for political organizations and rescind donation limits to candidates and political parties, married to a 48-hour time limit on full disclosure of donations and expenditures. Make the campaign books entirely public, so we can see where the money originates and where it ends up. That will make the candidates entirely responsible for the messaging, end the Byzantine structure that allows for these nonsense attacks, and obviate the need for spokespeople to pretend they don’t know someone they hosted on a conference call.