Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Why newspaper peeps don't do political consulting...

Jason Embry who I pick on a lot but is honestly one of the fairest Texas political journalists out there today... an equal opportunity kind of guy... did a chat today and then tweeted about how nobody showed up... self deprecating always works... (link)

This comment caught my eye...

[Comment From Kenny Powers: ]
White is still running positive bio spots with only a few weeks left...do you think that means he has stalled in internal polling?

Jason Embry:
If your polling isn't going well, that's when you usually go negative. I expect White's own ads to go negative on Perry soon. Steve Mostyn, of course, has been going negative on Perry for months.

If your polling isn't going well, that's when you usually go negative?

Sez who?

That may be the common wisdom spouted by a bunch of editorialists, but there are countless examples out there of candidates "going negative" whether they are down, up, tied, or sideways. Obama went relentlessly negative against McCain despite being way up in the polls... Rick went negative against Kay even right at the end when he surged to a big lead in most polls. Reagan went negative against Mondale despite being up so far in the polls Mondale only won one state in the end.

You don't "go negative" because you don't like what this week's polls are saying. In fact you don't do anything like that to respond to polls. That is amateurish... any well run campaign will have a plan for negative ads many months before they run them... when they actually air all just depends on money in the bank. Quick... name a contested campaign that didn't do negative ads...

A campaign that flops around aimlessly responding to polls is a losing campaign.

The point of the Kenny Powers question was that Bill White is still desperately trying to define himself... talking about being the son of school teachers and all of that garbage... he should have transitioned into ideas long ago...

This is not Rick's campaign's first rodeo. I can't imagine they saw some liberal PPP poll and thought... oh man... let's write scripts for three negative ads against Bill White... and spend probably several days honing them... and then put them on television... I bet at least some of these ads have been in the tape deck ready to go for weeks... notice how they kind of look similar to the ones they did in the primary but also look similar to the YouTube videos they put out against Bill White already...

For Jason Embry... here is a football analogy... imagine if the Texans (Rick) were up by two touchdowns in the 4th quarter... the momentum was going their way. The game is not even as close as the score. Sure the refs (the media) were making just atrociously, criminally bad calls and favoring the Redskins (Bill White), but everything was basically in hand... and then the Texans just start pounding the ball down the throats of the Redskins.

Imagine if after a field goal by the Redskins, with 8 or 9 minutes left in the game, the Texans were still up by a couple touchdowns... and announcers started saying, "wow, it is really not going well for the Texans... which explains why they are running the ball right now..."

Imagine how dumb and poorly informed that would sound...

What else would the Texans be doing?

Of course they should be running the ball down the throats of the Redskins in the 4th quarter...

Of course Rick should be running negative ads against Bill White with 3 weeks to go before early voting...

What else would he be doing?

Political commentators need to get it out of their heads that negative ads "mean" something... they just don't. Everyone does them. Everyone will do them for years to come. Obama will do them in 2012. The incumbent Republican president will do them in 2016. They run on television because they work.

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Hey now, campaign characters. Be nice. I know a lot of you on both sides, so I don't want any overly foul language, personal attacks on anyone other than the candidates themselves, or other party fouls. I will moderate the heck out of you if you start breaking the bounds of civility.