When we last left Common Sense Issues, they were still calling millions of people in key primary states, giving them the lowdown on how John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Mitt Romney fell short on key conservative issues (and how Mike Huckabee passed with flying colors). But even after their robo-voiced push polls spread the word about McCain’s support for “medical experiments on unborn babies” or his role in passing “the most restrictive assault on free speech ever passed in America,” Huckabee was beaten in state after state after Super Tuesday.
The group stopped making calls after Huckabee’s defeat in Virginia. All in all, state totals provided by the group add up to more than 11.5 million phone calls during the primary in the 11 states. The group also ran a couple TV ads against Mitt Romney and a radio ad in Virginia.
With Huckabee virtually eliminated from contention, it’s time for the group’s next act. They’ve started up a site called convinceus.org, where they’ve posted an “open letter” to John McCain, from “Common Sense Conservative American Citizens Wanting to Trust You.”
In the letter, the group lays out eight issues that it says it needs McCain’s “assurance” on. They range from a pledge that he would support amendments outlawing abortion and gay marriage, to signing “the No New Taxes pledge,” to a promise that he’d support gutting the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law “to protect citizensâ free speech.” And then there’s the kicker: he must publicly offer to have Mike Huckabee as his running mate.
Patrick Davis, the group’s executive director, said that the letter did not amount to a commitment that Common Sense Issues itself would work on McCain’s behalf. Rather, the letter was written on behalf of “conservatives around the country” who are looking for “John McCain to convince them that he can be trusted on conservative issues.” Without such assurances, Davis says, conservatives might just stay home this November.Davis stressed that this was a “goodwill gesture. It’s our hope that John McCain will see this as an opportunity and not a threat. We’re sincere in our offering to help him be elected.”
As for what Common Sense might be up to this election, Davis said he doesn’t know, but that “if we see an opportunity to raise our issues in an election environment, we’ll do it.”
The group’s website currently only features a slickly produced and vague, unobjectionable web ad (“there is a common thread binding us as one”) with gentle piano strains. But there’s also a dead link to what will be its list of “priority states” come November.
Given how active the group was in the 2006 election (and that Davis was formerly the political director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee), you can expect to hear more from them in the summer and fall.