What's That Smell?: A South Carolina GOP Primary!

March 7, 2007 | WASHINGTON – With 10 months left before the first ballot is cast, the Republican presidential primary has begun to get dirty.

Unsigned e-mails have been sent to voters in South Carolina touting “dark suspicions” about Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith. Anonymous letters have shown up in mailboxes in the state calling Mike Huckabee a “Huckster” and Romney a “Say Anything” politician. A man-size dolphin, without a name or a face, appeared at a conservative conference in Washington, scoring inches of newsprint by mocking Romney. And at least one campaign has made a young woman cry.

The tensions and the vitriol have appeared far earlier in the presidential cycle than in past elections, and have so far affected Republicans more than Democrats. The anonymous attacks peaked at last week’s Spartanburg County Republican straw poll, an entirely unscientific sampling of party activists from South Carolina’s cotton country. The poll itself was little more than a gimmick to recruit precinct workers. But the proceedings became so chaotic and confrontational that Rick Beltram, the county’s GOP chair, is still fuming with frustration. “I actually told three campaigns that I have lost your name on my Rolodex,” Beltram said in a phone interview Tuesday. “Some of the national campaigns took this whole straw poll operation way too seriously.”

At one point on Thursday night, Beltram said, a staffer for Arizona Sen. John McCain reduced Beltram’s 19-year-old daughter to tears when he confronted her as she tried to deliver ballots to another precinct. At another point, a Romney staffer lectured Beltram over the phone, suggesting that logistical problems counting the ballots might have been intentional. A staffer for Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback similarly upset Beltram’s wife, when she tried to drive over to another precinct to pick up ballots. “The Brownback person stopped her and said, ‘No, you can’t go unless you have an escort,’” Beltram said.

That same night, Brownback’s national grass-roots coordinator, Jason Jones, yelled out “Flip-Flopper,” while Beltram attempted to conduct a live cable interview with Fox News. Jones’ disruption, which was first described by the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, appeared to be an attack on Romney, who has been accused of flipping positions on social issues, and to whom many think Beltram is sympathetic. It did not affect the outcome of the otherwise symbolic straw poll. At the final tally, McCain, Rudy Giuliani and California Rep. Duncan Hunter each earned about 25 percent of the vote, with about 12 percent going to Romney and Brownback, and 3 percent going to Huckabee.

But the results mattered less to Beltram than the vicious tactics of the participants, and what they portend for the party of Reagan. One e-mail, sent to party activists under the name “Martin W.,” told voters to “trust your instincts” about the Mormon faith because “Mitt Romney has a family secret he doesn’t want you to know.” The secret, it turned out, was an Associated Press story that described the polygamous relationships of Romney’s great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather.

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/03/07/south_carolina/

You just can’t hide class.

I predict it will get a lot worse before the Republican candidate is finally chosen. And I look forward to the coming bloodbath with the glee of a little girl getting a pony for her birthday.

I live in South Carolina! Wooooooooo!

At the final tally, McCain, Rudy Giuliani and California Rep. Duncan Hunter each earned about 25 percent of the vote, with about 12 percent going to Romney and Brownback, and 3 percent going to Huckabee.
I can’t believe Duncan Hunter could get 25% of the vote among his immediate family members, much less an entire state.

When I say stuff like this everybody jumps down my throat and says I’m an idiot. I’m sure you’ll get a free pass though.

We call you an idiot all the time because you’re an idiot. The context is usually irrelevant.

Poor misunderstood Spoofychop.

[quote=Brian Rucker]http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/03/07/south_carolina/

A man-size dolphin, without a name or a face, appeared at a conservative conference in Washington, scoring inches of newsprint by mocking Romney.

The amphibious GOP vote is breaking very strong for Brownback this year…

or

Fish walk! and Vote Republican!

or

Mutant ocean creatures hate the Mormons too!

(that’s the one)

I sort of glossed over the nameless, faceless cetacean when I read the original post. I can only pray it’s some sort of Sergio Leone riff.

I’m moving there. Woooooooooo!

/scared

Good Bar-B-Que at Melvin’s! (In Charleston.) Woooooooooo!