Politics is an ugly business. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. But the U.S. Senate primary in Virginia has taken on a far darker turn that it ever should have.
From the beginning Jamie Radtke’s strategy has been to run as the anti-George Allen. We’ve told  her  repeatedly  that  we didn’t think that strategy would work , that she should build the case for why she should be senator rather than why George Allen should not.
She didn’t listen, and in the latest poll  from Public Policy Polling she trails Allen by some 63%. In fact, combined Radtke, Marshall and Jackson don’t reach 15%. The poll says, “Allen’s overall favorability with primary voters is 65/17, so there really just isn’t much desire there for an alternative to him.”
Yet even with this information, Radtke has not changed her strategy.
Tom at Virginia Right!  compiled video excerpts from the Virginia Beach debate. He noted that Jamie Radtke spent nearly a fourth of her time attacking George Allen. Her attacks were often met by groans from the audience.
Brian Kirwin put it this way : Bottom Line – Radtke lost the crowd, and it was obvious, and the viewers, to whom she came off shrill and answerless, but to the press, she was the focus point, and if that was the goal, then she scored.
And just on cue, who reacted gleefully? The Kaine campaign and the DNC.
Still not convinced that this is a failing strategy, this week Radtke doubled down with a $10,000 media buy once again attacking George Allen as the reason Obamacare passed. Never mind that on the night George Allen lost in 2006, he was one of six Republican senators to go down in defeat, including Rick Santorum who lost Pennsylvania by nearly 18 points. And in 2008, seven more GOP senate seats were lost. One of those was also in Virginia where Jim Gilmore (not to mention Bob Marshall who lost to Gilmore) lost to Mark Warner. Still Radtke says that Obamacare is singly George Allen’s fault. That’s stretching it just a bit. Don’t you think?
All of this has been to the delight of the Democrats. When Radtke’s ad started airing this week, we could have told you who would be the first blog to have picked it up. Over at Blue Virginia (links are yours for the getting) Lowell said:
Look, she’s a total right-wing nutjob, but as far as her (true) criticisms of George Allen are concerned, all I have to say is, “Go Jamie Radtke!!!” LOL
Some other media outlets are picking up the story giving Radtke more earned media than she could buy. Notable among them The Washington Post, who loves to hate them some George Allen.
Despite all the twitter noise and the outside of the Commonwealth Tea Party buzz that’s been generated, only the politically naive would think that George Allen doesn’t win the primary. ** I should note that Bearing Drift has yet to make an endorsement in this race, and this is my opinion, not that of Bearing Drift **
So what happens then on June 13? Will the other Senate candidates, including Jamie Radtke, unite in support of George Allen?
Perhaps it is his theological training that makes Bishop Jackson more adept at reading the handwriting on the wall. But in recent appearances, he’s begun to signal that he knows how the primary results will play out on June 12. More to the point he’s been stressing that all of the candidates are friends and need to be united on the morning of June 13. Jackson has frequently said that he’ll bring an axe to federal spending. But he’s also said that, come June 13, he’ll pass that axe on to the winner.
While it’s generally dangerous to assume anything where Bob Marshall is concerned, it’s probably safe to say that he’ll be a team player as well. No word from David McCormick, who didn’t qualify for the ballot, but former candidate and now Bearing Drift contributor Tim Donner has endorsed George Allen.
In his endorsement, Donner said : “From his unambiguous opposition to Obamacare to his strong stand on the critical issue of energy independence to his legacy as a governor that was perhaps the most consequential in recent history, Gov. Allen has demonstrated through experience and judgment that he is more than capable of carrying the fight to the leftists seeking to assume control of every area of our lives.”
Forgive me for speculating that if Jamie Radtke had an axe, she’d be burying it in the back of her competitors. Reality is, how could she backtrack on all that she’s blamed George Allen for? How does she issue a statement that says “I know George is the antichrist, but Tim Kaine is really bad?”
Sure it happens all the time. Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have all endorsed Mitt Romney and have had to eat some of their words. But none of them made their failed campaigns exclusively about being “Not Mitt Romney.” But after all she’s said, once she loses, how can Jamie Radtke go gentle into that good night?
Thing is, I don’t think she’s going to. Radtke has said that people asked for a fighter and she intends to fight. That’s great, when you pick the right fight. But the cynic in me thinks that Radtke really is savvy enough to know that she’s going to lose, and that once she loses she hopes that Allen does as well. Because that will fit into the Tea Party narrative that establishment Republicans were to blame for the losses of Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, and now Jamie Radtke.
I seriously hope I’m wrong and that in her inevitable concession speech on the evening of June 12, Jamie Radtke swallows her pride and endorses George Allen.
The Kaine campaign and the DNC will be logged into Twitter, just in case.