Death of a pork barrel salesman
Allahpundit doesn’t think the video will hurt J.D. Hayworth all that much – but only because there’s not much more damage that can be done to his campaign:
He’ll dip a few points in the polls and almost certainly lose to McCain in August, but reports of his political deathare, I suspect, greatly exaggerated. As for the fact that the self-styled tea-party candidate is caught on camera here encouraging federal handouts, I don’t see that as fatal either. Remember, according to that NYT poll of tea partiers back in April, 62 percent think the benefits of social security and Medicare outweigh the costs. They may hate government handouts in the abstract, and they may bristle at the prospect of diverting more taxpayer money to failing corporations in the form of bailouts, but when it comes to the working joe getting a little out of the system he’s been paying into his whole life, they seem reasonably serene. Exit question: On a scale from one to 10, how much damage is done here?
I think this compounds damage already done to Hayworth by the McCain camp. It may not be a ten, but it’s right up there in ditch territory. That’s not just because of what Hayworth is saying here – he rationalizes taking ‘free money’ from the government in the form of federal grants by saying it’s just a matter of getting back our tax dollars – but because he’s doing it in an infomercial. So that’s tacky and dishonest, especially coming from someone who wants a seat at the Tea Party.
Tea Partiers may be against government spending in the abstract, but in a lot of ways that just makes this whole affair more damaging to Hayworth. He’s just telling us that we can get a bunch of free money from the government, bootstraps and rugged individualism be damned. There’s no policy here to defend. He’s basically advocating pork barrel welfare, and this video drives home everything his critics have said about him. John McCain must be feeling extra smug today.