GOP Secretly channeled millions to Lieberman
The White House funneled millions of dollars through major Republican Party contributors to Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s primary campaign in a failed effort to ensure the support of the former Democrat for the Bush administration.As Ed Morrissey says:
A senior GOP source said the money was part of Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove's strategy to maintain a Republican majority in the Senate in November. The source said Mr. Rove, together with Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, directed leading pro-Bush contributors to donate millions of dollars to Mr. Lieberman's campaign for re-election in Connecticut in an attempt that he would be a "Republican-leaning" senator.
"Joe [Lieberman] took the money but said he would not play ball," the source said. "That doesn't mean that this was a wasted investment." ...
The source said that under Mr. Rove's direction, the GOP has abandoned its Senate candidate in Connecticut, Alan Schlesinger, who has dropped to about five percent in the polls. Mr. Schlesinger has failed to win the support of any national Republican and has virtually no contact with the White House.
First, let's take the story at face value. Assuming it's true, it would be incredibly damaging to both Lieberman and the White House. As Joe Gandelman notes in his TMV post, one can hardly shake the source of campaign contributions while taking the money. Lieberman could claim every day that millions of Republic dollars would have no influence on his politics, but who would believe him? If NARAL dumped a million dollars into Rick Santorum's campaign, would anyone believe that a deal had not been cut?The only point I disagree with Ed on is the importance of a Lieberman win to the White House, I'm sure they think it is very important and that they would do all they could to help him win. But if they are doing it why would they leak it through a conservative publication. I don't have an answer!
It would also prove embarrassing to the White House, although less so than Lieberman. In a year where the Republicans look to take a beating at the polls, why would the GOP sink so much money into a candidate with almost no dfference between him and his challenger, except on the war? That money could go elsewhere -- say, here in Minnesota or in Maryland -- where a real gain in a seat could take place.
In fact, this story makes almost no sense whatsoever. It comes to Insight, which is hardly a liberal publication, through a single source, which they claim as "senior" within the GOP. It offers no on-the-record sources or any data whatsoever to substantiate the allegation. The only source that does go on the record is Alan Schlesinger, the hapless and hopeless Republican candidate in the race against Lieberman and Lamont, who complains about his abandonment by the White House and national GOP.