A round of hemlock for everybody

“Republicans, they thirst for death,” says the banner, which may or may not (I say “may”) trace back to the title of this sidebar piece by Gerard Van der Leun. In any given campaign, the Democrat will enjoy at least one distinct advantage: he’s not employing GOP campaign strategists, here pilloried by Robert Stacy McCain:

Suppose that you are a correspondent who is following around a candidate at considerable expense to your news organization. Your bosses expect that you’re going to provide them with actual news, and hopefully something exclusive. Instead, you go to three events a day at which the candidate gives the same basic stump speech over and over. There’s never a press conference, never a minute of unscripted access to the candidate, and the campaign staffers are under orders never to tell you anything useful in terms of actual news that might distract from the pre-approved Message of the Day.

This is called “staying on message,” and it doesn’t work for the GOP, which hasn’t in years had anything resembling a unified message other than “Taxes bad!” The Democrats don’t have this problem, since they’ve long since adopted Slade’s advice: “See chameleon lying there in the sun, all things to everyone, run, runaway.” And away they run with the election.

How many times have I explained to my friends — many of whom are in fact Republican operatives — why this approach doesn’t work? Hundreds. Yet the same Ziegler-style policy continues to be Standard Operating Procedure, because you will never meet a Republican operative who doesn’t consider himself an authoritative expert on media relations, and they will heed no advice from actual journalists.

Take another sip, Romneybots.

Bill Quick, meanwhile, thinks it’s not a function of GOP gormlessness at all:

Republicans didn’t alienate the press corps. The (mostly) left-wing press corps hates Republicans, and ever since the Kennedy era, has done everything in its power to destroy Republican candidacies when and wherever it covers them. This sort of thinking is akin to a similar malady that far too many Republicans do believe in — that if they can just get the left to like them a little, they can get the left to compromise on principle with them. Then they are shocked when the left says, “You know, you’re kinda likeable, but this is business, sorry,” and then hands them their heads. Again.

Cut to Charlie Brown about to place-kick faceplant.


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