Written By D.
When I first started out in politics I worked for a GOP County Chairman. The Chairman and his sidekick assistant taught me just about everything I needed to know about politics. It was a first rate education that no poli-sci degree can hope to match.
They had a few simple sacred rules that you had to follow. There was one rule in particular that rang true for me throughout my career and which I have shared with every candidate I have ever worked with; The Pandering Rule; “Never risk losing the votes you have by going after the votes you can never get.”
It is a simple truth. When McCain got the nomination for Pres, I really didn’t want to vote for him, although I did. He would have been my last choice on any list. My GOP County Chairman would have recognized him as destined to lose because he pandered to voters who would never vote for him and sacrificed his base voters assuming that they would vote for him … just because he was the party candidate. If the powerful County Chairmen system had still existed as it did back then, McCain would have never got the nomination.
You see, I don’t think we lost because the campaign was particularly bad. We lost because McCain violated one of the sacred rules of politics and then tried to package it as “Maverick.” Yes, he did throw the base a bone in the form of Sarah Palin, but she was not the top of the ticket and could not cover for his past transgressions against the party. The trouble was compounded when she was gagged by the campaign because they really didn’t want her to express her conservative views. But for McCain to expect the GOP base to support him, despite his many years of flying in our faces, while chumming it up with the Democrats, was unrealistic. There were enough votes out there to pull it off, but they just didn’t want to come out and vote for him. I don’t think I have ever heard so many Republicans say they could not bring themselves to vote for their party nominee.
Political Parties have always had their ups and downs, sometimes through situations we cannot control. In this election, we had the added burden of the economic downturn. But another rule my County Chairman taught me was; “It is good to do a self exam after every election, win or lose. Find out what you did right and what you did wrong and next time, make it better.”
We don’t need to bash ourselves or others around us. We are a political party not a self-flagellating mea culpa religious order. My County Chairman would have thought this a waste of time; after all, bashing is the job of your opponents. He believed that you should always act like a winner and talk it up, even if you don’t really believe it. It is akin to “never let them see you sweat.” That is what I did during the election and I don’t regret it.
By the way, yesterday in Georgia, Sarah Palin would have scored big points with my County Chairman. She demonstrated a lot of class and a true understanding of party unity by saying nice things about John McCain. Palin didn’t have to do that and it certainly didn’t earn much applause. If my County Chairman were still around, I know he would say, “Watch that one, she’s going places.” This election year, choosing Palin is the main thing the campaign got right. Now it is up to the party and rejecting a gift like Palin would be very foolish.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Written By D.