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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Fake meltdowns

The Hatch campaign in a "meltdown"? Come on. It's nice to see that media outlets are spreading the official Republican spin on things, but it's a bit ridiculous.

The issue here is that the candidates are suffering from a condition that seems to hit DFLers running in Minnesota: acting like it is the first time they have run for office.

Dutcher has held office before, so she should know better. She could have handled things far better than she did during that interview. Ignorance is hardly a barrier to winning office; if it were, the leader of our country would be President Gore. All you have to do is admit ignorance, say you will study it, apologize for not knowing, and move on. Maybe throw in a self-effacing comment, a joke, or use some jujitsu and turn it around to the opponent. Had she done this, the story would have died in a day.

Of course, Hatch compounded the problem by getting mad. There are simple rules for when to get mad. When it is your fault, do not get mad. Laugh it off. If you make a mistake, and then you get mad at those around you, it certainly doesn't look good. If you dropped a glass jar at the grocery store, would you yell at the cashier? Only if you want to look like a jerk.

On the other hand, when somebody unfairly attacks you (Swiftboating, calling you a terrorist, etc.) then you get mad at whoever is doing it. If you don't respond and let people walk all over you, then you look weak. Anger in these situations is appropriate. If somebody throws a glass bottle at you in a grocery store, saying "Thank you sir may I have another" or ignoring it makes you look a bit daft.

These are simple rules. They should be familiar to people who have run for office before. Amnesia in the last days of a campaign doesn't seem to be all that unusual, though. Maybe flash cards would help?


At 9:41 PM, November 04, 2006, Blogger Scott said...

Hatch calls 'em like he seems 'em. I don't think he is entirely wrong, whether the reporter was a whore or a hack. I blog about the "whore" incident at www.moderateliberal.com

At 2:06 AM, November 05, 2006, Anonymous Chris said...

Sure, the media are the ones lynching Hatch.

But Hatch was the one who made it easy and gave them the rope.

First off, he attacked a reporter, which brings out the pack instincts in the press corps. As with the CoC, the press is just another constituency group: They want to feel like you're one of them. And the press thinks of itself as a kool klub. The Republicans think of themselves as a kool klub. The Democrats have a collective inferiority complex, and seems comprised of multiple factions which for 18 months out of every election cycle, are more focused on feuding and purging and narrowing the party rather than expanding it. Which party generally gets better coverage?

I think that's one reason why Mark Kennedy has been getting pretty abysmal coverage, because Kennedy and his staff treat reporters with utter contempt. They blow the press off, they badmouth them regularly on AM 1280; look at the way Kennedy browbeat Eric Black when Black questioned him about Iraq, look at the way Kennedy's camp throws juvenile insults at the Strib whenever it publishes a poll. You act shitty to reporters, you get shitty coverage back. In an ideal world, people would get good or bad coverage for the right reasons. But we don't live there.

Secondly, Paul Wellstone got news in the days before the plane crash that some shadowy group in favor of estate tax repeal was gonna unload a bunch of money into the state to defeat him. Wellstone responded to it in speeches with a litany to the effect of, "We don't know who these people are, but they're not Minnesota farmers, they're not Minnesota small business owners, they're not Minnesota [etc.], and they're not the state of Minnesota!" [Applause. Cheering.] Hatch responded to it by speculating at length on who exactly was behind the group and he came off kind of darkly, like a conspiracy theorist. That doesn't mean Hatch is wrong about anything he said, by the way. They were both fighting back, but one method is more effective than the other.

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