Four Blago Scandal Rules for the GOP

President-elect Obama has given a number of different versions of his transition team's dealings with Governor Rod Blagojevich. His chief of staff is reported to have been on twenty-one different taped calls with Blago.

But some Republicans don't want the party to be making political hay over this. Directly at issue is a Republican National Committee (RNC) ad entitled "Questions Remain." The ad is a campaign-style grainy attack spot on the president-elect's past association with Blago and his lack of complete disclosure regarding what contacts his transition team had with Blago. Sen. John McCain, the former GOP nominee, said he didn't care for it. Newt Gingrich is the latest and most extreme of the shushers. In a letter on Tuesday he wrote to RNC Chairman Mike Duncan:

I was saddened to learn that at a time of national trial, when a president-elect is preparing to take office in the midst of the worst financial crisis in over seventy years, that the Republican National Committee is engaged in the sort of negative, attack politics that the voters rejected in the 2006 and 2008 election cycles.

The recent web advertisement, "Questions Remain," is a destructive distraction. Clearly, we should insist that all taped communications regarding the Senate seat should be made public. However, that should be a matter of public policy, not an excuse for political attack.

In a time when America is facing real challenges, Republicans should be working to help the incoming president succeed in meeting them, regardless of his Party.

From now until the inaugural, Republicans should be offering to help the president-elect prepare to take office.

We see, then, two extreme options for Republicans in dealing with the Blago scandal -- attack mode or complete subservience and silence. But a middle ground might be in order.

The RNC overshot, in part one might deduce, because the current Chairman, Mike Duncan, is trying to prove his media bona fides while running for another term as head of the RNC. The result was a super-charged negative hit piece. While accurate, it was so heavy-handed as to make clear that (at least some) Republicans were out to wound the new administration before it ever began.