March 03, 2008

Sen. Webb Compares Dick Wadhams To Karl Rove, Accuses GOP Of Dirty Tricks While Dems Plan "Foot On Throat" Campaign In Colorado

“Mark’s got another little challenge here that I have some interesting memories of. There’s a fellow named Dick Wadhams who happened to manage George Allen’s campaign in ’06. I have a lot of memories of that experience. I have said many times that the Karl Rove approach to political campaigns is really detrimental to everything we are trying to do as Americans. This vicious, personal ugliness that camouflages the reality that so many on the other side have run out of ideas, is no way to run political campaigns"--Sen. James Webb (D-VA) at Colorado's Democrat Jefferson-Jackson dinner

Sen. Webb recalls the 2006 Virginia Senate race against George Allen, the "macaca" moment, and what he called the "vicious, personal ugliness" that he believes shows the poverty of the GOP and hopes won't be repeated--too bad the Colorado Democrats are already planning a "foot on throat" campaign to smear GOP candidate Bob Schaffer and lift Rep. Mark Udall to victory:
“Mark’s got another little challenge here that I have some interesting memories of. There’s a fellow named Dick Wadhams who happened to manage George Allen’s campaign in ’06. I have a lot of memories of that experience. I have said many times that the Karl Rove approach to political campaigns is really detrimental to everything we are trying to do as Americans. This vicious, personal ugliness that camouflages the reality that so many on the other side have run out of ideas, is no way to run political campaigns.

“We found, even toward the end of the campaign that they were going into my books. I’m a novelist. You know, the duty of a novelist is to render the human condition as it really exists. They were going into my books, some of which have been taught in major universities. “Fields of Fire,” my first novel, was the most taught piece of American literature on college campuses in courses about the Vietnam War for many, many years. Taking out different parts of the novels and saying, ‘This is pornography. This is this. This is that.’ Mr. Wadhams, I do confess, I have written books. I do confess, I actually read books.

"I’ll say something else. When our election was finally decided, we knew we were going to win Tuesday night. We had to go through counting of some areas that hadn’t come in. When I stepped up on the platform on November the ninth [2006] and held my son’s boots up in the air, I literally felt like I was climbing out of a sewer. I made a comment then. I called on President Bush to stop this kind of campaigning, to put the reins on this Karl Rove-mentality and put the issues on the table. And I would renew that call tonight: ‘You lost. You lost. Clean up your act.’ We need to start facing the issues in this country. I think one of the things that we’re seeing, one of the reasons we’re seeing such incredible turnouts and such enthusiasm this year, is that the public finally has an avenue with which to express its disgust with that kind of politics.”

Disgust with this kind of politics, Senator?
Two years ago, two of Colorado's richest Democratic benefactors plowed more than $7 million into Democratic candidates and causes.

Now a confidential memo to one of their advisers suggests that it would take contributions of nearly $12 million to finance independent political groups trying to influence the outcome of the presidential, U.S. Senate and 4th Congressional District races.

The money - to be spent by political groups known as 527s - would help buy TV ads, radio time and mailings, according to internal documents obtained by the Rocky Mountain News.

The memo was prepared by political consultant Dominic DelPapa and sent to Al Yates, who wears many hats, including adviser to Pat Stryker, a Fort Collins heiress. Stryker and philanthropist Tim Gill, of Denver, spent $7.46 million in 2006 to try to swing elections for Democratic candidates and causes.

In 2004, the pair, with two other Democratic donors, contributed $2 million, leading to a Democratic takeover of the state legislature.

The memo doesn't say who would contribute the money, and DelPapa wouldn't reveal any details. His memo outlines a proposed media strategy that suggests spending $5.1 million of the proposed $11.7 million budget on the Senate race alone.

Part of the Senate budget calls for a $1.9 million advertising campaign in March and April that would target Republican Bob Schaffer, who likely will face Democrat Mark Udall in the U.S. Senate race. "Define Schaffer/Foot on Throat," the campaign effort reads, according to a financial spreadsheet marked "very rough preliminary paid communications budget."
Smear tactics funded by wealthy Democrats? Just exposing the GOP. Attacking a Democrat? Just disgusting.

Either Sen. Webb is completely oblivious to the current Colorado situation or has fallen into the worst sort of projection--believing in seeing in his opponents what he knows his own side is guilty of committing. For those Democrats sitting at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner, a wink and a nod may have been more appropriate, as the stakes for the Colorado Senate race in 2008 could not be any higher.

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