Monday, August 11, 2008

Messaging While the Campaign Burns

OK, who put Democratic Common Sense Powder on Ben Chandler's oatmeal?

Buried at the bottom of a thumb-sucker column by Ryan Alessi claiming that Kentucky Democratic candidates can't win in a Democratic landslide year unless they find some kind of unspecified "message," we find this:

Chandler said the message for all Democrats running for Congress should be as simple as ”Time for a change“ — just like Lunsford has started to say, and just like the line Republican Ernie Fletcher used in 2003 to defeat Chandler in the governor's race.

”It's so basic,“ Chandler said. ”That's what the Democrats did in the 2006 election — they just talked about change and a new direction and they didn't really say much about anything else.“

What Ben Chandler forgot during that losing 2003 race for Governor, but has learned recently, is that Democratic candidates who stand up proudly for Democratic values (John Yarmuth) win elections, and those who follow republicans, chirping "me, too!" (Harold Ford) lose.

Unfortunately, we still have political writers like Alessi and the NYT's Matt Bai nattering on about how Democrats, in a year when people would rather chew off their own arms than vote for a republican, can't win unless they "develop a message and stick to it."

There's a good chance that all the Democratic Congressional challengers in Kentucky will lose this year, given that they are all down double-digits in the polls and out-financed by a factor of 10 - but if they do lose, it won't be because they don't have a "message."

The only message Democratic candidates - in Kentucky or anywhere - need this year is this one:

"I'm not the republican."

Cross-posted at Blue in the Bluegrass.