Politico reports on what Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction would have described as "a moment of clarity."
Former Republican National Committee Chairman Haley Barbour said on Friday that “stupid” and “offensive” comments made by one candidate can have a negative affect on others in the same political party.
“The comments they made were stupid comments, offensive comments and in today’s world when a candidate in one state says something, the negative effect of that can spill over to other candidates,” Barbour, the former GOP governor of Mississippi, said on CBS’s “CBS This Morning.”
Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, himself no stranger to the occasional brush with gaffe-induced controversy, is referring to 2012 candidates such as Missouri's Todd Akin and Indiana's Richard Mourdock–both of whom turned eminently winnable races for the GOP into defeats on the strength of their own verbal diarrhea.
Here in Colorado, as we've discussed many times, 2010 GOP Senate nominee Ken Buck, after defeating the more electable Jane Norton in a bitter primary, went on to narrowly lose a race that Republicans arguably should have won, in a GOP wave year, after numerous highly controversial statements about abortion and gays became his story.
The fact is, Gov. Barbour is absolutely right–Republicans in high profile races who verbally disqualify themselves can do tremendous damage. Not just in their own races, but to the party's brand as a whole, resulting in demonstrable impacts on totally unrelated races and far-flung locations.
And we'll take it a step further: it works the other way, too, although on an obviously smaller scale. Whenever, for example, Colorado Sen. Greg Brophy earns press for his latest sexist insult against Sandra Fluke, or an ailing fellow Senator, he also pollutes the Republican brand up the line with anyone who sees that news story. Voters in Colorado in 2012 went to the polls in many cases not knowing who their representative even was–but more did know who ex-Colorado House Speaker Frank McNulty was, and they knew the story of the civil unions debacle in the House last May. And based on the results, we'd say they knew which House candidates not to vote for.
We've warned for years now that Republicans cannot write off the embarrassments in their party, at any level of elected office, as the harmless inevitable consequences of safe seats. They are not harmless. The lesson of Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, as with local embarrassment factories like Brophy and former Sen. Dave Schultheis, is that they do far greater damage to fellow Republicans than the political harm they cause themselves.