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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Effectively running a campaign?

Lori Sturdevant talks about Becky Lourey's campaign for governor. She finds the candidate "polishing a belated position paper on education, calling for more school time, fewer costly school regulations, and more stable state school funding." Lourey, being the challenger, wants this campaign to be about "issues", like many pie-in-the-sky Democrats.

Yes, campaigns should be about issues. However, spending time writing a position paper? The way to electoral success is not in writing doctoral dissertations. Nobody but the hardcore activists are going to read any of her position papers. They will not have a significant impact at all on her electoral chances. And yet, this is where she is spending her time.

Eventually, I think that Democrats will learn that running as the professor from Gilligan's Island is not the way to win elections, at least not at the present time. The long-term strategy for bettering this country should be to smack the media back into line and get rid of the anti-intellectualism that is rampant among Americans. But that's not going to happen until the right people gain power first, and they aren't going to do it by assuming that the average voter wants to read ten position papers before determining who to vote for.


At 2:45 PM, September 10, 2006, Anonymous Chris said...

Rudy Perpich allegedly told Paul Wellstone around 1989 or 1990, back when he had started running for the Senate, something like, "I know you're a professor and you're gonna want to crank out issues papers and all this stuff. Don't. When I ran for governor in 1982, my entire campaign was 'Perpich = Jobs.' Just keep it simple."

Also, I highly doubt that most of Lourey's supporters bother to read her stuff. They just like the idea of all these papers out there because it makes them feel smart for supporting her.

The main reason anyone supports anyone is because of tribalism. Why were so many liberals supporting DLC governor of Vermont Howard Dean for president? As far as issues go, Iraq and civil unions. But another big part was that the region, rhetoric, and certain cultural cues Dean gave off matched those of a lot of Democratic activists. It wasn't complicated. The idea that people were sitting down and poring through all the coma-inducing papers all 10 candidates were putting out doesn't seem very likely to me.

At 7:46 PM, September 10, 2006, Blogger ImpeccableLiberalCredentials said...

Minnesota is a little different - while Lori Sturtevan was seemingly critical of the Education position paper, its announcement at the state capitol caused a day of mentions on MPR and caused Hatch to get off of his own message and discuss education for a day. MPR listeners are likely prinmary voters. Party activists in Minnesot are more likely to read positions if they are clearly defined and made available online, which is why the more wonkish Edwards and Kucinich were more loved in Minnesota than Dean ever was. Minnesota voters are also more populist and progressive.

Hatch is triangulated and coasting on the image of having money in the bank and being a statewide office holder.

Becky is leading! Becky is winning! and the Sturtevant article was cautiously optimistic. Suitably offstandish. Like the Hatch endorsement (necessary from the POV pollwatching pundits) at the Duluth News Tribune endorsed Hatch, after grudging about this debate no show, and then went on to mention, even praise Becky...


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