The right hand and the far-right hand

THE RIGHT HAND AND THE FAR-RIGHT HAND…. Sometimes, Republicans are so quick to go on the attack, they manage to trip over themselves.

Republicans denounced an e-mail message that Senator Barack Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, sent to supporters on Friday that used the fiscal crisis as fodder for a fund-raising appeal and accused Senator John McCain of lying.

“With Wall Street in crisis and families struggling, Barack offered a solid plan to strengthen the middle class, including tax cuts for nearly all Americans,” Mr. Plouffe wrote in the message. “John McCain continued the same old politics — lying about Barack’s plan and offering more of the same George Bush policies, including more tax breaks for Big Oil and no solutions for working families.”

Alex Conant, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, called the fund-raising plea “the definition of political opportunism.”

That’s not completely unreasonable criticism; fundraising off of a crisis does come across as a little tacky. But this is a case in which the right hand didn’t know what the far-right hand was doing.

At the exact same time the RNC was slamming the Obama campaign for using the Wall Street crisis to raise money, the McCain campaign was using the Wall Street crisis to raise money. In emails sent to McCain donors, the campaign explained, “The American economy is in a crisis. It is in a crisis,” and promoted headlines such as, “McCain Promises to ‘Clean Up Wall Street.'” The McCain campaign email also connected the solicitation to a recent TV ad, which begins, “When our economy’s in crisis, a big government casts a big shadow on us all. Obama and his liberal Congressional allies want a massive government, billions in spending increases, wasteful pork.”

What was that line about “the definition of political opportunism”?