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Wednesday, January 9, 2008
posted by Jon | 10:03 AM | permalink
Here’s my final analysis of Iowa and New Hampshire. It’s pretty simple, but then again, I’m a fairly simple guy.

Losing sucks.

In case you didn’t notice, I don’t do nuance.

The way I see this campaign, it’s a lot like a football game. There is very little time to reflect on the last play – successful or not – because once the whistle blows there’s only a few seconds before you have to get the next play off. Ready or not, that big, bad, ugly lineman across from you is going to come at you with everything he has. He’s not going to care about how you feel or whether or not you think the he cheap-shotted you on the last play.

I fully agree with Jason’s assessment of the campaign as it sits right now. There’s some serious realignment needing to be done at Team Mitt. As to how that shake up is done, I’ll leave that to Mitt. Turning organizations around on a dime is what he does best. If this inside tip reported in the Seattle Times is any indication, Mitt is already working that problem.

Were Mitt to ask me my opinion, and at this writing he hasn’t, I’d suggest this strategy – again borrowing heavily on yet another football analogy. What can I say? I write what I know.

This battle will be fought and won on perception. In the 1992 campaign, the Clinton machine ran one of the most successful spin operations in modern political history. The “War Room” ran on a 24/7 basis and was famous for responding to every single statement Bush 41 made – no matter how insignificant it was. The Carville/Begala model was directly responsible for Bill Clinton’s election because they owned the news cycle – therefore they owned the perception market.

Mitt needs a War Room. In the coming weeks he’ll be fighting a two-front war against McCain and Huckabee. Both of those guys are and will continue to be dependant on the MSM to get their message out. This is a reality brought on by their financial situation. They will therefore put themselves in as many public appearances as possible.

When defending against a team running an option offense, the generally accepted rule for defensive lineman is that the quarterback hits the ground on every play – regardless as to whether or not he has the ball. This same strategy can and must be used against McCain and Huckabee. Every speech they give, every statement they make, every off handed comment they give a passing waitress must be used against them at every opportunity.

In short, every time they take the stage they need to be worried about what the Mitt War Room is going to do with their words.
I’m not saying the Clinton model of personal destruction needs to be followed. If Iowa and New Hampshire taught us nothing it was that negative and/or comparison ads don’t work all that well. The Mitt War Room needs to be relentlessly positive in staking out Mitt’s territory and highlighting his strengths and accomplishments as opposed to the wishful rhetoric of his opponents.

Politics is a contact sport. Frankly, it’s time to start playing offense.
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Not likin' your comments but it did give me a good idea. Mitt is not bound by financial hardship like his opponents, he could get around MSM which clearly has an opposing agenda. He's got looks, so does the wife, they should go on a shopping spree, dress up in new duds, and play up the matinee image too. America can't RESIST celebrity, image, beautiful people. Less substance, more flash.

This is turning out to be a dumb post so I will stop myself.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 9, 2008 at 10:26 AM  

I think you can expect that Romney will remain the guy to attack at the next debate in South Carolina. Whether they go negative, or simply try and distinguish themselves from Mitt, I think that McCain, and to a lesser extent, Huckabee, will still see him as the prime target. McCain for Michigan, and Huckabee, to a lesser extent, South Carolina.

I would really like to see Fred Thompson go after Huckabee though.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 9, 2008 at 12:41 PM  

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