Silly Season is upon us

I think I can now say with great confidence that the 2008 election cycle has officially entered into the Silly Season stage of proceedings.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) questions Sen. Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaLGBTQ advocates slam Buttigieg for past history with Salvation Army Jayapal pushes back on Gaetz's questioning of impeachment witness donations to Democrats Gaetz clashes with Stanford professor: 'It makes you look mean' MORE’s (D-Ill.) 3 a.m. national security credentials, but in the same breath suggests that he would be just an excellent vice presidential choice for her.

Then there is the Clinton camp’s newfound disdain for so-called “caucus delegates” and creative formulation of a whole new way of subtracting them from the overall numbers so that her “primary delegates” count comes a little closer to Obama’s.

ADVERTISEMENT

Those are just two recent examples of the keep-a-straight-face-no-matter-what gene, which evidently must be nurtured if one is to be successful on the national political stage.

But despite those Hillaryisms, this week’s Silly Award must go to the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC).

Shortly after the Eliot Spitzer call-girl story broke, the NRCC sent out press releases highlighting House Democrats and Democratic candidates who received campaign cash from the beleaguered New York governor.

One press release read: “Will Eric Massa Return Spitzer’s Sleazy Money? Once Proud to Campaign with Eliot Spitzer, Massa lined His Campaign Coffers with the Governor’s Cash.”

The press release goes on to suggest that Massa, “ensnared in this heated story,” has been “running with the wrong crowd” and thus should give back the $2,000 that Spitzer donated to his campaign.

ADVERTISEMENT

For the record, Massa, a retired naval commander, is challenging two-term Rep. Randy Kuhl (R) in New York’s 29th district. Kuhl may not be the household name that Spitzer now is, but you might remember him for pulling a shotgun on his wife during a 1994 dinner party. Kuhl’s wife also said that he “hustled women.”

Divorce filings can be nasty documents, just like leaked federal documents dealing with prostitution rings, so the NRCC might want to rethink its Spitzer strategy.

The NRCC sent similar mailings blasting challenger Dan Maffei along with Reps. John Hall (D-N.Y.), Michael Arcuri (D-N.Y.), and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandHarris posts video asking baby if she'll run for president one day Warren hits Bloomberg, Steyer: They have 'been allowed to buy their way' into 2020 race Supreme Court poised to hear first major gun case in a decade MORE (D-N.Y.) for taking tainted Spitzer money. I am sure all their Republican opponents have been briefed and are fully prepared to withstand any new scrutiny coming their way based on the NRCC’s new ethical criteria for holding office.

And lest anyone charge the NRCC with hypocrisy, I am also sure it has its researchers working overtime, scouring Federal Election Commission reports to make sure that no Don Sherwood, David VitterDavid Bruce VitterRed-state governor races put both parties on edge Louisiana Republicans score big legislative wins Trump calls on Republicans to vote out Democratic Louisiana governor amid GOP infighting MORE, Bob Ney, Duke Cunningham, Ken Calvert or Larry Craig money has ever “lined the coffers” of any of its own members or challengers.

As I write, no charges have been filed and Spitzer is still New York’s governor. So the honchos at the NRCC might want to slip into that Republican yoga position, take several deep breaths, and repeat “glass houses” over and over again.

Don’t get me wrong: I am not defending Spitzer and I have no idea whether politicians should return his donations. And yes, I do have my own serious questions for the governor.

Questions about his budget priorities, his choice of women, his mode for transporting them, his judgment in carrying so much cash on the streets of D.C., and how he could regularly dole out $4,000 a night for “entertainment” expenses based on his $179,000 annual salary.

I have no idea if Spitzer will hold onto his job, but if he steps down he could whip together one of those cheesy, money-making infomercials extolling his financial-management prowess.

There is a goldmine to be had for the first “scandalized” politician who can create an infomercial explaining how he is able to get his wife to stand on the same stage with him for his “Jimmy Swaggart moment.” I have always been dumbfounded by that. McGreevey. Vitter. Craig. Spitzer. It always seems to be the same drill.

Talking about Spitzer and Hillary — Sen. Clinton must be fit to be tied. Not only does she likely lose the alleged Client No. 9 as a coveted superdelegate. But you might remember that the once-vaunted Clinton shield of inevitability had its first serious chink knocked out of it when the candidate fumbled her answer to a debate question in Philadelphia about Spitzer’s plan to give illegal immigrants driver’s licenses.

Believe it or not, that was back in October — long before Team Clinton figured it needed to take Obama seriously, and back when it considered the Iowa caucuses to be ground zero for the most serious form of thoughtful democracy anywhere in the country.

On second thought, maybe Silly Season kicked in earlier than I realized.

You can reach Jim Mills at jmills@thehill.com.