I just saw this post from TPM Muckraker involving an honest, but tricky mailer from the DCCC to get conservatives to pick long-shot Republican Don Richardson as the write-in candidate to replace Tom DeLay instead of the GOP’s hand-selected dope; and I’ve got to say that me likey. Me likey a lot.
The whole ad is about how Richardson is “too conservative for Texas” and highlights many rightwing agenda items that are likely to please conservative voters in DeLay’s old district. And thus, they will be more likely to think that Richardson is the candidate they’ve been programmed to choose, rather than the one they’re supposed to pick. And sure, the main Republican in that race is whining about it, but that’s all the more evidence that it was a good idea. If Republicans aren’t whining, then we’re not doing it right.
And the main reason why this is such a good move is because it plays total jujitsu on the Republicans, by using their own tactics against them. Specifically, that they’ve trained their supporters to automatically reject whatever the Democrats want, and so having the DCCC’s name on it only helps. And the GOP does this all the time, of insisting that GOP sheep should vote for someone because of the Dems who oppose them. They’ll even use names like Ted Kennedy and Howard Dean as bogeymen to corral their sheep. And so there’s no reason that we shouldn’t be doing the same thing.
And yet there’s absolutely nothing dishonest about it, and if anything, this would serve to help Don Richardson. And sure, it could be argued that this is undermining democracy by tricking Republicans into voting for the wrong person. But if the only thing that makes these people vote for a particular candidate is that they saw a mailer from the opposition telling them to not vote for him, then I’m not so sure how democracy is being served anyway.
And this is in contrast to what happened in the 2000 election, when people knew who they wanted to vote for, but Republicans thought they should be denied that right because they were “too stupid” to mark their ballots properly. Ballots shouldn’t be a hurdle against democracy, but not knowing who you’re electing certainly should be. As things stand, the rubberstamp congress we’ve got is largely due to the rubberstamp that Republicans used when electing whichever mindless dope the party could get an R after the name of.
And what I like the most is to see this kind of stuff from the DCCC. It’s to be expected to see some individual candidate understand the dynamics of their particular race and take advantage of it, but it’s all the better to see national Democrats understanding how these things work and using it to their advantage. Too often, they’re just on the receiving end of this kind of stuff and keep trying to go with the straight-forward approach on everything. Now, I’m not a particularly deceptive guy and prefer to do things in a straight-forward manner, but when you’re up against the deceptive cheats that we are, it’s pretty damn stupid to continue to walk into every ambush with our eyes shut and our guns in our holsters.
And I like it all the more that they can do so without being dishonest or personal. This is the way that you win elections: By using your opponent’s strengths and your weaknesses to your best advantage. The Democratic Party is a total poison pill to most conservatives, so it just makes sense to use it.
Oh, and I absolutely loved their latest TV ad. Very strong.