Wednesday, January 18, 2012

GOP Presidential Candidates Prove They Aren't Cut Throat Like Obama

Barack Obama once told his supporters that if your opponent brings a knife to a fight, you bring a gun. He meant it. Obama won his two elective offices in Illinois prior to running for president by default. When he ran for the state sentate, he hired a team of lawyers to challenge the petitions filed by the long-time respected incumbent, Alice Palmer, and got her, along with every other primary opponent he faced, tossed from the primary election ballot for deficiencies in their petitions. As we now know, Obama's campaign forged its way onto the Indiana ballot. But for hundreds of forged signatures, he would have never made the Indiana ballot in 2008 and could well have lost the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton as a consequence of that misstep.

When Obama ran for the U.S. Senate, his political guru David Axelrod, former political editor for the Chicago Tribune, convinced his former employer to go to court to get the divorce records of a self-financed candidate polls showed winning the primary race. Damning, but unproven allegations by his ex-wife, contained in the documents sunk his campaign. Facing another self-financed attractive candidate in the general election, Axelrod got his newspaper buddies to unseal that opponent's divorce records containing unproven allegations made by his ex-wife, forcing him to leave the race when party leaders decided they didn't want to even make an attempt to defend the first-time candidate. Obama wound up facing a carpetbagger, loser candidate, Alan Keyes, who even the state GOP chairman refused to support.

It's quite a different story in Illinois today where the Republican presidential candidates faced tough filing requirements in order to make the ballot. Gathering enough signatures to get the candidate's name on the ballot is only half the battle. Each candidate must also field a slate of delegate candidates that run separately in each of the state's 18 congressional districts. The delegate slates in each district  must have a minimum of 600 signatures on their petitions to secure a spot on the ballot in every district statewide. Without the delegate candidates, it makes no difference how many votes a candidate receives in the popular vote. Only the winning delegates pledged to support a chosen candidate get to cast the votes that matter at the national nominating convention. Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich each filed petitions to field a full slate of delegate candidates in the 18 congressional districts. Rick Santorum only managed to file petitions for delegate slates in 14 of the districts, and of the 14, only 4 contained the minimum 600 petition signatures.

So the Republican sharks managing the opposing campaigns could smell the blood in the water. Would they go in for the kill? No. Each of the campaigns reached a pact not to challenge each other's candidate petitions. Santorum's campaign released the following statement:

Leadership from the Romney campaign (Dan Rutherford), Gingrich campaign (Bruce Hansen and Nick Provenzano), Paul campaign (Chris Younce) and Santorum campaign (Al Salvi and Jon Zahm) have agreed today to withdraw all petition challenges in Illinois against one another’s statewide and delegate petitions.

What is it they say? Nice guys finish last. Obama believes it and lives it.

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