In a race42008.com post titled Western Wats Speaks Some More … , the intrepid Justin Hart attempts to diffuse the push-poll scandal issue:

  • … In many cases [insists Hart's source at Western Wats] they have no idea who the end client is. (this way they don’t taint the data one way or the other)
  • [Hart's source]indicated that he would love nothing more than a political entity to force their hand on this and reveal the client. But his hands are tied.
  • [Hart's source] believes that if the script is ever made available that the reaction will be “Is this all? that’s not a big deal” … etc.

Yes. Only the Romneys botched their response to the issue by cynically attempting to blame the intended victim of the smear, Sen. John McCain. See:

Romney denounces decorated war veteran Sen. John McCain on issue of recently-reported push polls—no, we’re not joking—we may be laughing merrily at Romney’s oafish opportunism, but we’re not joking

This blithering-idiot level mistake resulted in a grass-roots backlash so fierce that Team Romney can neither control nor even contain it:

… “But a far more conspiratorial take is gaining steam in the blogosphere,” writes Sam Stein for HuffPo in a release titled Could Romney Be Behind the Anti-Mormon N.H. Phone Calls?

The theory is that Romney’s campaign orchestrated the scheme, in hopes that the fallout would taint GOP rivals as character assassins.

On its face it seems preposterous. But commentators, online columnists, and political blogs are giving it increasing credence. And the idea is being talked about among insiders and higher-ups.

For starters, they note, the company behind the phone calls, Western Wats, is based in Orem, Utah, and its former executive, Ron Lindorf, is the founder of the BYU School of Business; meaning the anti-Mormon calls were, suspiciously, coming from a company with strong connections to the Mormon community. In addition, Western Wats’ past client list includes several high-profile Romney supporters. The company has worked for Allan Bense, the Florida House Speaker who chairs Romney’s Florida Statewide Steering Committee, and has made calls for Michigan State Representative Gary Newell, who serves on Romney’s Michigan Leadership Team.

Then, they say, there is the money. A review of campaign finance data reveals that Hugh Black, a programmer at Western Wats has donated $500 to the Romney campaign, while Jeffrey Welch, a business manager, offered up $500 of his own. Amanda Earnshaw, a dialer (the job title is often emphasized by others) maxed out with $2,300. And Neil Hahl, who is currently on the board of American Capital Strategies, which acquired Western Wats in 2005, gave $4,600, half of which was returned.

Asked about these reports, Kevin Madden Romney’s spokesperson responded: “Citizens have a right to donate, but we would reject outright any insinuation that these [calls] are tied to this campaign.”

Comment: Way to repeat the charge, Kevin. Shades of Nixon’s (in)famous “I am not a crook!”—or Pres. Clinton’s (in)famous “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Monica Lewinski.” Are you sure you’re not a mole for a rival campaign, Kevin? Back to Stein:

Even so, some sites have noted, there are direct personal relationships between Romney and Western Wats. Teena Lindrof, the sister-in-law to the founder and chairman of the company, is reportedly a friend and supporter of the former Massachusetts governor. And back in 2002, when Western Wats was seeking reimbursements from a customer service assessment agent, it was represented by Honigman, Miller, Schwartz and Cohn LLP, the firm of G. Scott Romney, Mitt’s brother … etc.

So an event that should have, or could have been a non-event—or an event that could have redounded to Romney’s credit since he was—perhaps, we suppose—one of the intended victims of the smear—has boomeranged back on Romney, and not because of anyone else but Romney. The same boomerang effect occurred when Romney-flunkie and famous dirty-trickster Paul Weyrich tried to smear the National Right to Life Committee:

Harris: “[Romney] should understand that despite their campaign’s every effort, groups like the National Right to Life Committee’s PAC (NLRC-PAC) cannot be bought”—the Romneys get taught another painful lesson in what it means to go negative when your own negatives are astronomically high

Memo to the political primitives of Team Romney: Are you beginning to detect a pattern, you super-geniuses? Dudes!—wake up!—your negatives are too high—and your candidate is too icy-cold—to support a negative message!

Has their ever been a more fabulously funded yet totally-completely inept campaign? Do we really want this man to be our president?—we mean, really?

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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