IF A TREE FALLS IN THE GOP FOREST AND IT DOESN'T HELP FOX'S PREFERRED CANDIDATE, DOES IT MAKE A SOUND?
Zandar thinks this has to hurt Ron Paul:
Appearing on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" Friday, the presidential hopeful took a swipe at his GOP rivals telling the crowd that Michele Bachmann "hates Muslims."
When asked by host Jay Leno what he thought of his rivals, Paul shook his head, slowed his voice and said, "she doesn't like Muslims, she hates them, she wants to go get 'em" -- in reference to the comments Bachmann has made on the campaign trail over her willingness to attack Iran over its suspected nuclear program....
As Zandar says, " hating Muslims is a requirement for winning the GOP primaries. That revelation won't hurt Bachmann one iota.... I'm betting however that Paul pointing out this 'unfortunate' fact about Bachmann is going to hurt him."
Sounds right -- but I'd add two qualifications. First, what will probably hurt Paul the most is accusing Bachmann of hating -- it doesn't really matter the object of the alleged hate. I'm not saying right-wingers don't hate -- far from it. But right-wingers, especially of the conservative-Christian variety, will always tell you that they don't hate anybody -- they just hate certain deeds (wearing a headscarf, having gay sex), but they love, love, love the people whose behavior distresses them so. They're such loving Christian people -- unlike those atheistic hippie socialist haters! So this will be seen as simply rude and unfair.
However, there's the question of whether the right-wing noise machine will play this up or downplay it. Um, what do you think? The GOP establishment desperately needs Ron Paul to beat Newt Gingrich in Iowa, which will pop Newt's bubble, then set up Paul to fail after New Hampshire as the race heads to some Southern states. So I'm predicting this won't get wall-to-wall coverage on the right -- just the opposite. It would become Topic A, on the other hand, if it helped Mitt.
However, it will be deployed starting in South Carolina, if Paul lasts that long -- it will be deployed with a vengeance, as will the rest of Paul's less-than-jingoistic foreign policy pronouncements. So if you're one of those folks who still think he can win Iowa, finish strong in New Hampshire, and gain enough momentum to win the nomination, forget it -- his chances of doing that just went from infinitesimal to none. But the party bigs and Fox News will, I assume, hope no one pays too much attention to that until after Iowa, at least.