Iowa Caucuses: A Lowdown, Dirty Shame
RightWatch: The GOP showdown is just the beginning of what promises to be a nasty election season.
Brace yourself. It's gonna get ugly.
No matter who wins today's Iowa Republican caucuses (which look like a showdown between Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and the surging Rick Santorum), this is shaping up to be the most lowdown, nasty, plain old disgusting presidential campaign we've ever slogged through. Think Watergate or the disputed Bush v. Gore contest, only worse.
This potential new low in our dysfunctional politics was made possible by the right-wing activist majority on the U.S. Supreme Court. Two years ago, in one of the worst rulings ever handed down by the court's wrong-headed judicial junta, all limits on corporate and individual contributions to independent political organizations were tossed aside, opening the floodgates to a tide of savage negative advertising by so-called super PACs.
Predictably, the GOP primary battle is already drowning in swill. The best current example: Restore Our Future, a super PAC that supports Romney, has spent nearly $3 million to destroy the campaign of Newt Gingrich, who was leading the pack in Iowa only a few days ago, by reminding voters that the former House speaker carries "more baggage than an airline."
Leave aside for a moment the undeniable fact that it's almost impossible to say anything that could further damage Gingrich's severely tarnished reputation. What's important is that Restore Our Future outspent Romney's official campaign organization by about 2-to-1 in Iowa, that it's not required to disclose where all that money came from until the end of January and that its nominal independence is a complete charade.
The group is run by former Romney campaign officials including his former political director, former chief counsel and, most ominously, Larry McCarthy, an ex-Romney media adviser who was one of the masterminds behind the overtly racist Willie Horton TV spots that obliterated Michael Dukakis in 1988.