Howard Wolfson, Strategic Communicator Floats Non-Sensical Denial Strategy on Palin the Pink Elephant
By letterhead | September 8, 2008
OK… this is not a political question. It’s a strategic communications question: Where the fuck is Hillary???
In a post on his blog for the New Republic (”The Flack”), Hillary’s former communications director Howard Wolfson sates that Hillary will not get into a “cat fight” with Palin. Huh?
He also states that Obama/Biden will make a mistake if they run against Palin instead of McCain. Double huh?
Haven’t the Dems learned anything since Gore and Kerry both tanked because they didn’t kick their opponent in the balls after getting whacked in the back of the head with a 2×4?
Let’s say this was a corporate control contest, and your opponent was behind for months and months. But then they added a new candidate to their slate of directors who is vocal and energetic (a hypocrite and dissembler to be sure, but also smooth and appealing to a big chunk of shareholders).
Suddenly it looks like you might lose.
Do you ignore the catalyst who just changed the game? Or do you turn her into an anchor who will sink your opponent’s ship?
Wolfson is completely wrong when he states that people are looking for a cat fight. What people want to see is Hillary fighting for what she believes in… which is pretty much everything Sarah Palin DOESN’T belive in.
Surprisingly, there are plenty of women voters who are quite content to replace Hillary with Palin, as if the two are interchangeable. The GOP has co-opted the “women in the White House” message and Hillary/Obama have let it go unchallenged.
All it would take from Hillary is one good punch on the issues to knock that misnomer into next week.
It doesn’t have to be a “cat fight” between two women… in fact the appropriate mesage is that this is NOT about gender. Hillary would be the ideal surrogate to take gender OFF the table, opening up McCain/Palin to a full-scale assault on the issues, where polls show the Dems to be more in step with voters.
One Good Punch
“If anything, Democrats should be talking about McCain-Bush, not McCain-Palin. Every day we are focused on Palin is a day we are not amplifying the Obama campaign’s message that Senator McCain simply represents four more years of President Bush.”
Here is where he’s wrong.
The McCain campaign has somehow been able to spin Sarah Palin as confirmation of McCain’s “maverick” status. They have used her to support the narrative that he will “shake things up.” And indeed she has “shaken things up.” So as the new “game changer” her presence on the ticket supports the notion that McCain can be an agent of change.
She has quickly become the proof in his pudding.
To ignore her would be a suicidal mistake. The Democrats need to neutralize that “game-changer” message ASAP… like yesterday. If they don’t attack that Palin spin — hard and fast — it will soon become an unassailable trope/meme whatever you want to call it.
Hillary should have made a major policy address the day after the GOP convention, nipping that little fantasy in the bud, rather then letting it gain momentum day after day, and now having the Dems squirming about what to do about it.
The Proper Linkage
The linkage has to be Bush-Cheney/McCain-Palin.
Dems have to play the “extremist” card, as well as the “politics of hate” card. They should also adopt the GOP’s signature posture of “patriotic umbrage” and turn it against McCain, for running a typical patrioticker-than-thou Bush-Cheney campaign.
Sarah Palin is, quite literally, the pink elephant in the room.
And the one person who could convincingly and QUICKLY rip all the stuffing out of the Palin-as-game-changer message would be Hillary. The fact that she hasn’t yet landed the fatal blow makes me wonder what she’s planning for 2012.
And Wolfson’s pedantic soft-shoe makes him look about as sensible and savvy as the photo above of the rabbit wearing a pancake on its head.