Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Real Dems Of Genius

Someone named Doug Usher, who is the director of the research division for Purple Strategies, a "strategic communications firm," (I assume this is some sort of center-left think tank that tries to sell liberalism to insufficiently "blue" states) offers some unsolicited advice to Pres. Obama on a winning electoral strategy. Good for some laughs:
The best model isn't to be found at the presidential level. Indeed, it may come from a Democrat with whom few Democrats want to associate: former California Gov. Gray Davis. In fact, the sentence that began this article is adapted from a San Francisco Chronicle article the day after Mr. Davis's 2002 re-election, with the names changed. The parallels between his position going into his successful campaign and where Mr. Obama finds himself this year are striking....So how did Mr. Davis win in 2002? By using his fund-raising prowess to break all campaign-finance records in California political history, and by playing in the Republican field to knock out his strongest opponent. 
Mr. Davis raised money from the day he was elected in 1998, despite criticisms from politicos and the press. In 2002, his political team then isolated his biggest threat—the moderate Richard Riordan, the former mayor of Los Angeles—and spent millions on ads to defeat him in the Republican primary. 
This effort elevated businessman and former assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Simon, a far more conservative candidate whose positions were unpopular with Californians. Mr. Davis retained a significant financial advantage going into the general election: Even after spending $10 million during the primary, the governor's war chest was five times that of his rival. He never stopped attacking and continued raising money to the end. 
Mr. Davis won with less than a majority of the vote, following the most expensive election in the state's history. Turnout was low, and polls leading into the election indicated that one-third of Mr. Davis's supporters were voting against Mr. Simon, rather than in favor of the Democrat.
Usher goes on at great length to support his thesis without mentioning the most interesting thing about the 2002 California's governor's race: that Davis was recalled from office one year later in part because his election was seen as less-than-legitimate. Obama's welcome to try such a strategy - and there's no recall at the federal level, of course, only impeachment - but if he were to "win" in such a manner his base of support would be whisper-thin.

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