October 3, 2005

National GOP Going After Laffey

Marc Comtois

Kudo's to the Senescent Man for getting it out first that the National GOP Senate Election Committee is ramping up the attack ad machine (here's the press release and link to video) against Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey. Here's the text of the ad:

ANNCR: “Have you seen this guy Steve Laffey?”

AD: “I’m Steve Laffey…”

ANNCR: “In his TV ads, he complains about oil companies… But he’s the same Steve Laffey who ran a company selling oil industry stocks on Wall Street. Profiting from offshore drilling. The oil companies made a fortune. Steve Laffey made a fortune. Now Laffey says he will . . .”

AD: “. . . stand up to the special interests.”

ANNCR: “Slick. Steve Laffey. Laughing all the way to the bank. The National Republican Senatorial Committee is responsible for the content of this ad.”

According to today's ProJo Political Scene column:
A spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee said late last week that "the NRSC is going up with a substantial ad buy" today.

While details were still under wraps last week, spokesman Brian Nick said that the 30-second spot would match his record as the onetime president of a Memphis, Tenn., investment banking firm up against the image he portrays in his own ads.

Stay tuned.

In his own ads, Laffey promises to "stand up to the special interests" responsible for record high gas prices, and stand apart from both the Republicans and Democrats who aren't "doing a thing about it."

The Senate campaign committee has had a prominent voice in past Rhode Island races, most notably the 1996 contest between the then-state treasurer Nancy Mayer , a Republican, and three-term Congressman Jack Reed for the U.S. Senate. Democrat Reed won despite a blizzard of Republican ads denouncing him as that "ultra-liberal Jack Reed."

This time around, the GOP campaign committee is taking sides in the primary fight between Republican Laffey and the Republican incumbent he wants to unseat, U.S. Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee .

TSM (The Senescent Man) leaves no doubt as to whom he supports and thinks the national GOP may be backing the wrong horse on this one:
I can understand Chafee arguing about Laffey's flaws, and conversely, Laffey complaining about Chafee, but for a national Republican heirarchy to come down on Laffey - what do they do if he wins? What then? And the funny thing is, it's already happened a couple of times. Governator Arnold in California was not on the top of the ticket in the eyes of the Republican heirarchy, and they had to eat crow. They must enjoy a good bowl of crow.
TSM also reminds us that, much like stock speculation, the past performance of the Brown University poll doesn't necessarily indicate future results.
Chafee faces a stiff challenge against Laffey, despite his coming across as what some call "rough around the edges." Yes, a recent Brown University poll has Chafee out ahead, and by a sizeable margin - this is the same poll - conducted by the same Brown professor and supported by the same mainstream media darlings - as the one that had Democrat Myrth York beating now Republican Governor Donald Carcieri by 10 points. Carcieri actually ended up beating York by about that same percentage.
TSM also believes that Laffey's newfound populism doesn't undercut his previously established conservative bona fides. While that may be true, the Mayor's willingness to play the "independent card" still seems to me like sheer political opportunism. There is little doubt Laffey is more conservative than Chafee, but I wonder how much of his conservatism he is willing to sacrifice at the altar of populist rhetoric. Conversely, how far right (or left?) will Chafee have to move to be re-elected? Perhaps the distance that each drifts from their previously established core philosophies will indicate to Rhode Island Republicans which each values more: principals or power.

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its not the national GOP, its the NRSC. there is a difference.

they paid for the add, not the RNC. The NRSC has their own set of rules, which the first rule in the book is: to protect incumbents, no matter what.

Posted by: Robert at October 3, 2005 2:28 PM

The RNC and the NRSC are two separate organizations. However, they have common goals. If you think Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman don't coordinate this stuff with Libby Dole, you are naive.

Posted by: Harris at October 4, 2005 6:18 AM