Sometimes, the mainstream media just hands us gold- beautiful, unmitigated gold. God bless you, Tim Carpenter, god bless you.
Every political pundit, pretend or otherwise, from this blog to the halls of Kansas academia, have said the same thing regarding the "clean campaign pledge" Jim Ryun offered up to Lynn Jenkins: She would have had to have been a fool to sign it, and Ryun was a strategic genius for presenting it because, now, if Lynn ever does do the only thing she can do if she wants to win- bash Ryun over the head for being a horrible congressman- he'll "oh poor me" her all the way to the ballot box and a win in the primary.
To some of us who have been 'round the political playground in Kansas for while, this tactic from Mr. Ryun was eerily familiar- and a piece in the Topeka Capital-Journal on Sunday reminded us all why: Jim Ryun pulled the exact same shenanigans to save his political career in his very first campaign for office in 1996.
Ryun should have been a shoe-in in 1996- he was famous and all, and he was running against a Topeka attorney of whom no one had ever heard. But, John Freiden, Ryun's opponent in that first race, slammed away at Ryun for being what we all now agree he is: A man simply too radical and too out-of-touch to represent this district in Congress.
Ryun had offered Freiden the same clean campaign pledge he has now offered Jenkins, and Freiden rejected it for the exact same reason Jenkins did: The underdog can't give away the only trick they have when they're going up against the big cheese.
[Chris] Wilson, founder of the polling firm Wilson Research Service, said the 1996 Ryun campaign knew the pledge was a disadvantage to Freiden and that it would be foolish for him to sign. If Freiden joined in, Wilson said, the absence of meaningful TV ads would have made it impossible for him to gain traction among voters.Good thing Frieden realized it, too, because harping away on Jim Ryun for being a loony nearly won him a seat in Congress. On that same coin, ignoring that pledge is also what lost him is seat in Congress, but only because Jim Ryun decided to ignore it, too.
Why on Earth did Ryun do that? He looked around, saw that he was losing, and tossed his own "clean campaign" pledge out the window, and slammed Frieden ceaselessly for hurting poor little Jimmy's feelings and calling him out for what he really is: A radical.
But, if there's one thing we call know now, Jim Ryun is really, really good at playing the victim, and the minute his pledge to wage a clean campaign was in his way, he went negative and he went negative hard to bash his message of victimhood home.
It all comes down to exactly the worst kind of politics of convenience, the very worst kind of "these are my values..until they aren't" politics, and a quality you wouldn't expect from a good Christan: A willingness to stand up in front of people and lie through his teeth. He was perfectly happy to stay positive as long as he was in control of the message and winning- the minute he wasn't....well, you get the picture.
Freiden said Ryun and independent political groups struck in the final week of the campaign, starting with criticism of his dismissal of the pledge. Other Kansas political candidates surrendered airtime they had purchased to give Ryun and his advocates opportunity to consume all of the political oxygen, he said.
That move was accompanied by a telephone appeal in which callers claimed, among other things, that Freiden's position on abortion was responsible for "killing babies."
"You could see it going away," Freiden said. "He won with pure negative campaigning. That's how he pulled it off."
Fast forward to 2008 and we find a telling quote:
"We're fully prepared to run a positive campaign, but we will defend ourselves against false and negative attacks," said Kyle Robertson, Ryun's campaign manager.They'll defend themselves against false attacks & negative ones, too. Of course they should defend themselves from false accusations- no one can begrudge them that. But even take a negative tone against them, even for an instance say "Jim Ryun wasn't a good congressman because of X-Y-Z" they're going to come after you like a bat out of hell. Not because you lied, no siree Bob, but because you dared to say something not nice.
It's stunning Ryun and his campaign are as arrogant as they are, trying to flim-flam the voters into feeling sorry for them. But, in the end, our guess is Ryun is going to be able to moan and groan as loud as he wants that he's getting picked on...but, this time around, the voters just aren't going ot care.
The kicked you out for a reason, my man...and you just don't get it.