Campaign 2008: Empty Gestures Edition


– Gov. Mitt Romney, who leaves his job in about 48 hours, is managing to keep his coif up even as he's pulled away kicking and screaming.

Romney may refuse to move ahead on automatic pay raises for lawmakers unless they vote next week on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages, a top administration official said yesterday.

The state's 200 House and Senate members are entitled to a raise on Jan. 1, but it is up to the governor to decide the exact amount and give final approval. Romney could act on the pay raises before he leaves office on Jan. 4, or leave the responsibility to Governor-elect Deval Patrick.

Patrick is a liberal Democrat (the first Dem governor of the Bay State since Mike Dukakis' tiny shadow left Beacon Hill) who supports gay marriage and pay raises in equal measure. Romney fan Kathryn Jean Lopez thinks this will turn the tide for marriage ban boosters; I think white evangelicals are even less impressed by blackmail than they are by Mormonism.

UPDATE: It looks like the blackmail/bribe ploy worked out. The Constitutional Convention voted against the ban 132-61, but because there were more than 50 "no" votes it gets to survive to the next Constitutional Convention.

– John Edwards is calling out Sen. John McCain and looking handsome doing it.

"I actually believe that this idea of surging troops, and escalating the war, what Senator McCain has been talking about, what I would call now the McCain doctrine it's …"

"McCain doctrine?" interrupted host George Stephanopoulos.

"McCain doctrine," Edwards responded. "He's been the most prominent spokesperson for this for some time."

If the trend-happiest pundits are right, and making liberal bloggers ooh and aah is going to prove vital for 2008, stuff like this may prove more important for Edwards than actual substance. (It's at least a more winning gesture than Hillary Clinton's ill-advised buddying up to McCain.)