I don’t know why I have to write these, but the Dems seem to be caught flatfooted against a well coordinated avalanche of GOP sleaze. I want to state, before I continue, that I am not even remotely worried about the election. Obama will win and the Dems will control both houses of Congress. All the chaos the GOP is fomenting aside, the race is Obama’s to lose.
Still, with that said, sitting on your hands and responding to GOP attacks is not a good strategy in a post-media world. The GOP knows this and has been practicing it since 2000. Apparently, Dems haven’t caught on yet. So, forthwith, the ground rules for the rest of the 2008 campaign:
1. Lie with impunity. The bigger the lie, the more people will believe it. Lies are rewarded by the press, the corrections…not so much. So…John McCain wants to give illegal immigrants full immunity and make them all citizens (citing immigration policy). Sarah Palin want to turn America into a theocracy (citing her nutty church and beliefs). McCain/Palin want to close Social Security and Medicaid / Medicare (inference from statements). Sarah Palin sought to actively rebel against the United States (citing AIP). Etc.
2. Tell nasty truths. McCain shoved a woman in wheelchair. Collaborated with the North Vietnamese. Told tasteless joke about a political opponent’s child (Chelsea Clinton). Called his own wife the C-word! Run commercials showing footage of McCain saying the war in Iraq would be easy, contrasted with footage of him saying he never said it. This is leadership? The list for these two is endless.
3. All hands on deck. Where are the surrogates? I don’t hear Gore, Dean, the Clintons, various female governors and senators, Dodd, Richardson, etc., making news. Where is Hillary Clinton with this statement: “Frankly, I am shocked that Sarah Palin hasn’t given a press conference. The McCain/Palin ticket seems to be hiding behind gender to avoid answer legit questions about her qualifications to be president. This is not what my campaign was about.” These people should be out there every day, on message. If you have an off message thought, keep it to yourself.
4. Attack all the time. One after the other, without pause. Don’t let anyone catch their breath before moving on to the next fake outrage. One web video/commercial per day.
5. Stand up behind your attacks. Never apologize.
6. Respond vociferously. But only to suggest that the GOP is insulting voters or trying to shaft the little guy. Otherwise, completely ignore their attacks.
7. Get dirty. Through “unaffiliated” surrogates send out push polls, send out flyers, viral emails, etc., asking if people have heard about the Sarah Palin sex tape, John McCain’s affair with an aide, Sarah Palin’s satan worship, and so on.
8. Appeal to the heart, not the head. Use fear. Your social security will be gone, we’ll be at war in Iran and Pakistan and, possibly, Russia, and we’ll have a great depression on top of it all…if you elect McCain/Palin.
9. Get the VP to attack like a mad dog. Stop being friends with John McCain and talking about Hillary Clinton. Biden is making news for all the wrong reasons. Give him this memo and a bunch of talking points and just repeat them over and over again, which leads me to…
10. Repeat. Over and over again. Repetition sets the meme and once an idea takes hold it is difficult to dislodge. That’s why you must attack first and keep repeating. Sarah Palin won’t face the press. She’s unqualified. McCain is a warmonger. The GOP knows nothing about the economy. And all the rest listed above. Over and over again.
It’s politics, it’s dirty. And losing isn’t an option. Now get moving!