Dems: Run More On Character And Values, Focusing Less On Issues?
Jill Lawrence runs an excellent analysis in USA Today about the difficulty Democrats have every four years in running campaigns that focus on character, and their collective inability (except for Bill Clinton) to counterattack and slug it out when necessary. Lawrence notes that every four years Democrats ignore what Republicans know:
-Attack ads work;
-Perceived character does matter more than policy positions;
-Failure to counterpunch quickly and hard is lethal;
-Voters donít know when an attack against you is an outright lie;
-Define your own version of character before your opponent does.
Presidential choices are very personal to many voters, and based not so much on policy choices but on how comfortable the voter feels about that candidate. If the Democrats donít make the case why voters should not be comfortable about the GOPís values and character, then donít assume that through the Corporate Media and divine guidance that voters will find this out themselves.
In other words, running the Tier Two campaign against Bush and pointing out his lies and character flaws while Kerry sold himself through the positive Tier One effort was the way to go all along, as well as launching a thermonuclear war against the Swifties and the White House at the first sign of attack was critical. Please note that we here at the Left Coaster laid out this Tier One/Tier Two strategy to define Bush and his character flaws as far back as February 13, 2004. Yet the campaign didn't do any of it until the Clinton guys came aboard in the midst of the Swifties firefight six months later.
We already know that voters will vote against their economic self interest if they are pandered to through appeals on character and values. That doesn't make voters stupid, just not fully informed. Until you can show voters that the GOP's values and the character of their candidates run contrary to voters' own values, arguments about policy may have little resonance.
Itís a great piece. Give it a read.