What could be causing such a dramatic turnaround in New Hampshire, where all previous polls had shown Shaheen comfortably ahead? TPM Election central spells is out:
Sununu’s upsurge could be happening for any number of reasons – or this poll could just be an outlier – but there is one particular possibility: That the recent attacks from Jeanne’s husband Billy, against Barack Obama’s teenage drug use, might have taken a toll on her Senate campaign.
Sometimes candidates (or, in this case, spouses of candidates) will do really stupid things, and the campaign will change dramatically. This reminds me of the 2005 New York City mayor’s race, in which Ferrer started out with comfortable leads. The turning point in the campaign was when, in March of 2005, Ferrer made a colossal error involving comments over Amadou Diallo. He pissed off what should have been his general election base, and came across as a flip-flopping panderer. In one fell swoop, polls moved 20 points in favor of Bloomberg overnight and a seemingly certain victory turned into a crushing defeat.
I wonder if that is what we are seeing in New Hampshire now, too. Billy’s Shaheen’s attacks against Obama could be doing serious damage to his wife’s standing among New Hampshire Independents, among whom Obama leads. Even apart from hurting Shaheen in a key voting block, this is the sort of incident that could make her look like another crass politician by engaging in vicious, racially-tinted character attacks through a surrogate. That won’t help her among anyone.
I won’t be holding my breath for the Shaheen gang to change from this, their normal procedure anytime soon. Why would they veer off the trajectory that has kept them at the top of the Granite State’s Democratic heap for all these years now? Make no mistake about it, with the gutter politics of her partner/ spouse, and the attack dog instincts of her campaign manager, former NH Dem Party Chair Kathleen Sullivan, Jeanne Shaheen’s NH political machine has no rivals.
"But Doug– Billy said he was sorry. That he made a mistake, and all that. And he has paid the price. Surely they won’t make that mistake again!" Sure thing. It was all a misunderstanding, with absolutely no malice intended, right? Or just maybe, taking one for the team, he got exactly the result he was looking for all along. That’s what Tom Curry, writing at MSNBC seems to imply:
Was Shaheen’s commentary truly a blunder? Had the incident helped Obama or created an opening for John Edwards? Or might it turn out to hurt Obama and thus help Clinton?
Have they no shame? Again, notes Curry
On Thursday Shaheen said in a written statement, “I made a mistake and in light of what happened, I have made the personal decision that I will step down as the Co-Chair of the Hillary for President campaign.”
But it is difficult to imagine a strategist as canny as Shaheen is making a thoughtless “mistake.” A deliberate “mistake” — maybe.
He said in his statement that his comments “were in no way authorized by Senator Clinton or the Clinton campaign.” They need not have been to be effective.
Why would anyone think that these same tactics won’t be employed right here in the Granite State- the Shaheen’s home turf? These people have proved that they, just like other politicians of their ilk, will say anything it takes to smear or slime their opponents, true, or not– and, miraculously, get away with it. Does anyone really believe President Bush caused the recent California wildfires? Does Jeanne Shaheen? She must, because that’s what she said. Is this the kind of Senator we need to be sending to Washington? Don’t we have enough of this type down there already? Say what you will about Senator Sununu, but he generally picks his words carefully, and is seemingly reliable when it comes to speaking the truth.
Oh, and let’s not forget another matter involving Mr. & Mrs. Shaheen that caught the ‘Grok’s attention. As was reported in a September ’06 posting, they facilitated a US tour by a certain personality that many believed shouldn’t have taken place. Remarking on then Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s decision to withold state police escorts for former Iranian president Mohammed Khatami’s visit, I wrote
The other question I have about the visit by the former leader of a card-carrying member of the Axis of Evil is who invited this guy in the first place? Upon hearing the answer, I was at once both surprised, and not surprised at all. The September 7th Granite Status column by John DiStaso in the Union Leader (NH) answered my question:Romney won’t give Massachusetts State Police protection to Mohammed Khatami on Sunday when the former Iranian president speaks at the John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Institute of Politics in Boston..Wonder what the institute director thinks of that?."She thinks they’re making more out of this than there needs to be," said Bill Shaheen, husband of director Jeanne Shaheen, our former governor.."If we stand for freedom of speech, we stand for freedom of speech," said Bill. "Let him speak and let people ask him questions.".Shaheen said his spouse was deeply involved in the "invitation process" for Khatami and is organizing the controversial event..At Harvard, he said, "They like controversial figures to come and speak. What’s wrong with hearing what they have to say? I just don’t see the big deal."The Shaheens are "players" in Democrat party politics. They are, in my mind, representative of what could be described as "mainstream" Democrats. Not seeing "the big deal" about allowing a member of the leadership of our stated enemy in the new world war a platform from which to espouse his views is exactly why, as bad as the Republicans can be, we cannot allow the Democrats to gain the levers of power in the upcoming election.
Way back in 1997, writing in National Review, Justin Maiona fingered Shaheen’s formula for success in NH, a heavily Republican leaning state at the time:
By patronizing the Right, legislating to the left, and proclaiming herself a centrist, Jeanne Shaheen is doing to the Republican majority in New Hampshire what Bill Clinton is doing to the Republican leadership in Washington: steamrolling them with a smile and handshake.
Perhaps this time around, the mixture of Clintonian triangulation and slime will be Shaheen’s undoing… Those on the left are starting to worry. This is just the break NH Republicans have needed. I promise I will do my level best to make sure as many voters as possible know the full picture of what Jeanne Shaheen brings to the table. Keep those rubber boots handy– the slime might get deep before it’s all over!
Shaheen team returning to campaign HQ at the end of a day’s work…