Bad News Times Two

Bad timing continues to infect the campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). As the former front-runner braces for another quarter of disappointing fundraising and all the inevitable political metaphors of life-support and death vigils that accompany bad news for him these days, he was blindsided by the Supreme Court. Besides an immigration signing ceremony, the last thing the McCain campaign needed this week was another spotlight on the campaign finance reform law that he championed and that is anathema to the very people he now so badly needs.

The ruling, which will once again permit last-minute advertising by interest groups that use names of candidates, isn't good news for any candidate but hits McCain twice. He offered muted response to the decision to undo part of his legislative baby, expressing disappointment but pointing out that at least the court didn't unravel the most important ban on raising soft money through party political action committees (PACs). Mitt Romney took the chance to pounce again, saying the ruling confirms that "McCain-Feingold was a poorly crafted bill." I will remind readers that I noted in a previous post that a search through the Boston Globe will always turn up the Romney flip-flops and the fact that his early pre-presidential career is full of support for fundraising reform: spending limits for congressional campaigns, abolishment of PACs. Remember, those are limits so harsh they didn’t make it into the 2002 law.

Fred Thompson was also an early McCain-Feingold champion. If he pounces like Romney, will McCain fight back?