The Politico’s Jonathan Martin asked one of the kings of political sleaze what he thought of the Mitt Romney phone calls. He sees a historical antecedent in the the 1960 JFK race:
Just as Bobby Kennedy was behind anti-Catholic calls and literature to Catholic Households in The 1960 Democratic Party. I smell a dirty trick. I suspect a pro-Romney motive to inoculate against future use of the religious issue and to breed sympathy for Romney.
No respectable Republican polling firm like Tarrance would be involved with this.
PS- a 20-minute call is the work of an amateur. The long call is designed to get ALL the negatives out, to put them off limits for future attacks.
To paraphrase, either the Romney campaign is behind it or someone allied with them is. An inoculation strategy.
That strategy depends on getting a media hit. Like hitting a Romney-supporting State Rep. Or a county chairman. I described a similar thing that happened in a campaign that I am familiar with. The campaign of a Democratic Jewish candidate called voters attacking the religion of their own candidate to drive attention.
Erick Erickson at Redstate describes a similar thing.
Let’s be clear. This is a stock technique of sleazy politics.
And, the Romney campaign has managed to include a number of practitioners of sleazy politics. Warren Tompkin’s, who is alleged to have attacked John McCain in 2000, is in charge of a firm that ran a sleazy website attacking Fred Thompson. Not to mention the faux-cop scandal, which eventually led to the firing of Jay Garrity, Romney’s long-time director of operations. As I said at the time of the PhoneyFred scandal:
This is another in a long list of thuggery and illegality of Romney associates and campaign staff. Including Romney’s former Director of Operations Jay Garrity, Romney’s former national finance co-chair, Romney’s other indicted former national finance co-chair, etc. And then the Romney campaign threatens voters if they do things like ask questions (note that in South Carolina, the Romney campaign doesn’t even allow that)
To prove a crime, you need means, motive, and opportunity. The Romney campaign has the motive. They have the means financially, intellectually, and logistically. And there is lots of circumstantial evidence linking the Romney campaign and his supporters to the people that used the weapon. Opportunity? Well, that’s self-evident, if it happens.
There’s a case here. More facts are necessary, but there’s a real case.