About a week ago we posted a story in the Past Week summary about a “smear campaign” coming from a Downing Street official against Conservative leader David Cameron (See: The Past Week: April 5-April 11, 2009 (”President Panytwaist”; A Split Among Progressives over War Spending Plan?; Smear Campaign in Britain; “Sageism”).
According to the piece quoted at the time:
Damian McBride, the PM’s ex-political press officer, quit after the messages were picked up by a Westminster blog.
In them, Mr McBride made obscene and unfounded claims about the personal lives of party leader David Cameron and shadow chancellor George Osborne.
Well, there are some new developments for Labour as a result of this episode.
4:59am Sunday 19th April 2009© Press Association 2009
Labour is facing new allegations about the “Smeargate” affair as polls revealed how much the row has damaged Gordon Brown’s re-election hopes – with support for the party plummeting.
At the same time, polls showed support for Labour slumping dramatically in the wake of the affair, allowing the Tories to extend their lead to up to 19 percentage points.
They showed that trust in the Government had been damaged by the smears disclosures, which have engulfed Labour since they appeared last weekend.
The latest claims were made in the News of the World, which said it had obtained an email proving that Mr Collins chaired a crucial meeting on December 1.
It was also attended by Charlie Whelan, Mr Brown’s former spin chief and the political director of the Unite trade union, whose Westminster offices were used for the meeting.
This saga going on in the UK brings a question to mind: with all the Chicago-machine hardball being played in Washington these days, not to mention during the primaries, the Presidential campaign and before that, during the Bush Administration…don’t you wonder why this sort of thing doesn’t get any rise out of the electorate here?
Nothing seems to offend people these days unless it’s taxes and bailouts…but in terms of the “politics of personal destruction,” apparently nobody bats an eye anymore here in the U.S.
I don’t know if all began during the Clinton era, but wouldn’t it be a real sea change if smear tactics used here could actually deflate politicians like Obama (who poked around sealed divorce records in Illinois, for example while running for Senate) with the same effectiveness that it seems to have in the UK? And wouldn’t you like to see the “spin chiefs” like Karl Rove and David Axelrod get a good comeuppance?
Filed under: Current Politics | Tagged: "politics of personal destruction", Bush Administration, Chicago-machine hadball politics, Clinton Adminstration, Damian McBride, David Axelrod, Downing Street, former spin chief Charlie Whelan, Karl Rove, Prime Minster Gordon Brown, Shadow Chancellor George Osborne, Smeargate, UK Conservative leader David Cameron, UK Labour Party, UK Tories, Unite trade union | 6 Comments »