As the war for the
soul identity of the Republican party continues, one of its interesting fronts is very junior high school, when you think about it: Who campaigns for whom? This is how Republican electeds, particularly those with larger ambitions, build alliances and position themselves in relation to each other and the base, making clear that they stand with this theocrat or that business lobby. Some choices are dog whistles, others shout out their meaning. But it's worth paying attention to.
So, as Jed noted recently, the flood of visitors campaigning for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob "leadership does not require giving voters what they want" McDonnell is telling: Bobby Jindal, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, and now John McCain all want to be associated with hiding how conservative you are in order to win elections and with opposition to marital contraception.
Meg Whitman, on the other hand, not so much: She's apparently ducking a fundraiser for McDonnell. (It "fell through.")
In the special election for NY-23, where the liveliest debate is over who's more liberal, the Democrat or the Republican (see for instance here and here), Fred Thompson and the Club for Growth have gone third-party, endorsing the Conservative party candidate; Thompson included a fundraising pitch in the email announcing his endorsement, which also highlighted abortion as a key issue.
Shouting Joe Wilson has also thrown his hat into the featured campaign guest ring. When he did a fundraiser for ex-Rep. (and Club for Growth darling) Tim Walberg (MI-07), who is trying to recover the seat Mark Schauer took from him in 2008, Schauer's campaign issued this statement:
"By embracing his former colleague, Tim Walberg has made it clear that he embraces what is wrong with Washington and is not serious about fixing our broken health care system. If you are the company you keep, then Tim Walberg stands with Joe Wilson and the obstructionists."
Also keeping company with Joe Wilson recently was Rep. Roy Blunt, the candidate for Missouri Senate whose health care views also include thinking goverment never should have gotten into the health care business with Medicare and Medicaid.
Wilson's further travels will be among the most telling, since an appearance with him basically says "I stand with a guy known for nothing but falsehood and rudeness."
But really, I can't wait to see where Sarah Palin goes.