The NRCC Problem

Yesterday I vented about the NRCC pulling money from Michelle Bachmann’s race. A friend at the NRCC emailed me and pointed out that the NRCC is legally not allowed to talk to or coordinate with the Bachmann campaign for independent expenditures. It has to be an independent decision. And Tom Cole did not order the expenditures yanked.

There is, in fact, a separate office from the NRCC where the independent expenditures people make the call themselves. And they did.

So let’s look at this from a different angle without the invective hurled at Tom Cole — dispassionately if you will.

The independent expenditure department looks at polling and finds Michelle Bachmann comfortably in the lead. They also find she has more than ten million dollars on hand with two weeks go to. They make the rational decision to shift their funding elsewhere. That does, in fact, make a lot of sense.

But now add these data points:

(1) Bachmann is in a terrible local and national news cycle relating to her comments on Hardball.

(2) Her opponent is raising millions of dollars from the far left by recycling Bachmann’s comments and pushing the idea that Bachmann is now vulnerable.

(3) The local media is echoing the challenger’s message of vulnerability.

(4) Pulling NRCC funding, though rationale because of cash on hand plus polling, does nothing but further drive the story that even the national Republicans are rebuking her.

In fact, add these four data points to the above paragraph and stories like this one and the narrative they form are wholly predictable. And the challenger’s wave of fundraising continues.

The independent expenditures folks did not need to talk to the Bachmann campaign about any of this. They could have read the local paper. Hell, they could have read the local papers in Washington, D.C. and predicted what would happen.

So why continue the anti-Bachmann reporting in the press by yanking those ads when they did?