Campaign turns nasty in Nevada and South Carolina

Republicans in South Carolina: Negative campaigning is the norm in South Carolina, where the GOP primary regularly devolves into nasty bickering. 8 years after McCain's campaign was derailed by a whispering campaign about his "black child," the Arizona Senator is being hit again by a very ugly flier prepared by a group called "Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain." The group has also set up a website that details the allegations presented on the flier that McCain is exploiting his POW status and that he collaborated with his captors.

The McCain camp is moving fast to counter the smears, something it did not do very well in 2000. And remember that other candidates have been victim of dirty tricks as well down in South Carolina. In late December, households were sent a postcard that falsely claimed to be issued from the Mormon Church and wished voters a Merry Christmas from the Romney family -- a clever way to remind the GOP base of Romney's religion and get voters angry that they were receiving cards from the Mormon Church.

And Huckabee is also being targeted, as the GOP establishment is organizing its offensive to try and derail the winner of Iowa. An event is being organized today by the Club for Growth, the American Conservative Union PAC and other GOP figures like Dick Armey to discuss Huckabee's "liberal economic record."

The union lawsuit in Nevada: The dispute over Nevada's at-large precincts has still not been resolved, though a ruling should come in the coming days (some background on the controversy available here). The DNC has now entered the fray by filing a brief on behalf of the Nevada Democratic Party and thus in defense of the at-large precincts.

The culinary union is trying to use this issue to motivate its workers to go out and vote for Obama, accusing Clinton of seeking to disenfranchise its workers. Fliers that are being distributed talk about "a hardball effort by Clinton allies to block votes." Taking steps towards defending the lawsuit, the Clinton camp has explained that a caucus system disenfranchises voters, but why should one particular group (here the culinary workers) be provided accommodations to find a way to vote while no other union or workers' group is provided a similar boost?

To be fair to the Clinton campaign, there is no evidence that it is behind the Nevada State Education Association, the teachers' union that has filed the lawsuit. This union is the state's second largest labor group, and it has not endorsed Clinton. True, some of its leadership has lined up behind the NY Senator, but the factor that explains this dispute the most plausibly is the pre-existing tension between Nevada's unions.

This article in the Las Vegas Sun details the animosity of many the state's unions (including some that are not involved in this lawsuit or that are backing Obama, like the AFL-CIO or SEIU) towards the Culinary, an animosity fueled by the latter's clout, size and influence. Many unions also reportedly resent the Culinary's refusal to stand by them in labor disputes and referendum campaigns.

And it is perfectly reasonable to believe that the teacher's union is going after the Culinary because of what it feels is just one more illustration of the unfair advantage its workers are granted. Why aren't our working sites made into at-large precincts so that our employees can work? And frankly, if the Nevada Democratic Party was so concerned about offenses to the democratic process, it should just have thrown caucuses out of the window and opted for a primary.

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  • Coming down to the wire in SC it will get down and dirty. There are so many evil forces working voters down there. Will be very interesting how this shakes out.

    By Anonymous stone621, At 16 January, 2008 16:00  

  • Strange that you don't address the most salient fact about the union lawsuit, i.e., the fact that it was filed after the Culinary endorsed Obama.

    By Anonymous awrbb, At 16 January, 2008 19:39  

  • awrbb...and that is salient because? Although I can understand your suspicion, the fact is that no one knows if anyone even encouraged the teachers to file this lawsuit, let alone who.

    By Anonymous Mr. Rational, At 16 January, 2008 19:45  

  • True, I don't know whether the HRC campaign is involved. But the timing is suspicious, and it calls for an explanation, innocent or otherwise.

    By Anonymous awrbb, At 16 January, 2008 19:55  

  • I have always found fascinating that people always point to the "timing" of an action, as if that by itself de-legitimize the action itself. So the timing of the revelation of congressman Foley interaction with pages would have taken precedence over the behavior of the congressman, as if that by itself exonerated the behavior! So the timing is the issue with the Nevada caucus lawsuit. Never mind the merits of the lawsuit itself. I am just praying for an electoral disaster for Culinary in Nevada and a pink slip for Mr. Taylor. King making is such a bitch, isn’t is so Mr. Taylor?

    By Anonymous robert_v, At 16 January, 2008 20:33  

  • Who said there was only one issue? Who said the merits were unimportant? The truly despicable thing about the lawsuit is that the remedy sought is voter suppression. The timing merely leads one to wonder whether the Clinton campaign is involved.

    By Anonymous awrbb, At 16 January, 2008 20:47  

  • Pilar Weiss looks really adorable in that picture.

    If I lived in Vegas, I'd toatlly ask her out....

    By Blogger Kevin Robinson, At 16 January, 2008 22:16  

  • Why do you hate the Culinary union in Vegas, Robert? Sounds a little strange to me. The union voted to support Obama. So what? Aren't they allowed to do that?

    By Anonymous stone621, At 17 January, 2008 00:56  

  • LOL, I don’t hate Culinary, I have a problem with the constant manipulation of the union by secretary general Taylor. This guy would have been just at home in Stalin’s Russia!! But I should get over it, maybe some therapy, because both The Culinary union and Taylor are here to stay. Keep in mind that this is a case of the union dragging the membership kicking and screaming, not the other way around. The union has a responsibility to consider its membership before engaging in politicking.

    By Anonymous robert_v, At 17 January, 2008 05:42  

  • this is a case of the union dragging the membership kicking and screaming

    Right. Because the membership of the Culinary Workers Union didn't get a vote on the endorsement, and all of the money being used for the Obama endorsement came from dues extracted from poor helpless working people against their will.

    Oh. Wait. The complete opposite is true. Funny how, when unions stand up for the interests of their membership they get slammed. And when they don't, well they get slammed.

    Seems like you can't win either way....

    By Blogger Kevin Robinson, At 17 January, 2008 19:15  

  • If there's much doubt in your mind about Clinton's ties to this suit, consider the following: (a) HRC's evasive response when asked by Russert and Williams to comment on the litigation; (b) WJC's intemperate eruption at the press in CA, in which he spouted what sounded like a line from plaintiff's oral argument; (c) the Clintons' historical ties to the teachers union; and (d) qui bono, as the Romans would say.

    It's particularly suspicious that Willy is now attacking the program as being discriminatory and unfair, since HRC's campaign was intimately involved - along with Obama, Edwards and others - in the planning that led to adoption of the program, without a word of protest at the time. Of course, back then she was fervently lobbying the Culinary Workers for their support; having now lost it to Obama, she and the First Mouth can stand up for important Demo principles. Or is it the other way around.......?

    By Anonymous zoot, At 18 January, 2008 01:04  

  • what are the demographics of the culinary union? does anyone know?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 30 January, 2008 08:30  

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