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Selective Reporting on Poll Numbers, Lies about WMDs, and Personal Attacks in the Philadelphia Inquirer June 26, 2006

Posted by papundit in Uncategorized.

Sometimes I’m surprised by how reporters will twist the facts to make a politically-motivated point. This article by Tom Ferrick in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Sunday is a great example (my comments inline):

To: Sen. Santorum

From: Your Campaign Advisory Group

Re: Tactics & Strategy

As you know, the election is just over four months away and our private tracking polls confirm recent public polls. You are trailing Robert P. Casey (RPC) by mid-double digits. (papundit: Ferrick uses poll numbers as a weapon here. He subtly implies that Santorum is desperate due to low-poll numbers and will need to use dirty tricks in order to win. Yet Ferrick conveniently omits that recent poll numbers show the gap between Santorum and Casey is closing rapidly. This would have weakened his case against Santorum. And there is evidence that the polling gap is closing. In fact, the Scranton Times-Tribune reported on Friday that “Latest poll evaporates Casey lead.” )

Clearly, something must be done to make up the deficit in the next 120 days, lest you suffer defeat in the General Election (GE).

How to catch up with RPC and win the GE? We suggest a two-pronged strategy.

One is to saturate the airwaves with commercials presenting the “Rick Santorum Story.” These will be sepia-tinted-family-oriented 30-second spots that remind voters that you are, at heart, a sweet guy. (papundit: Santorum’s support for life issues, his initiative for long-term care for the elderly, his work to end puppy mills, and his leading role with Senator Lieberman on the Senate anti-poverty agenda all show that he is “at heart, a sweet guy.”) 

They are designed to draw back into your tent defectors among independent voters and moderate Republicans who, for some reason, consider you a “hairy-knuckled, mean-spirited, right-wing troglodyte,” as one target voter put it in our focus groups. (papundit: Who considers Santorum a “mean-spirited, right-wing troglodyte”? Is it the same group of completely un-mean-spirited people who have tried to turn his last-name into a disgusting word about fecal matter through an organized internet google-bombing campaign because they disagree with his position on gay marriage? Or perhaps Ferrick is referring to the abortion-rights advocates who revile Santorum for his pro-life stance? Wouldn’t these same voter groups also dislike Casey for his pro-life views as well?) 

These TV spots have tested well in the same focus groups. We call this the “Cuddles Initiative.” (papundit: Ferrick shows some bitterness and sarcasm here. Santorum has come from behind in previous elections, and one past victory was partially attributed to how well Santorum polled with married women voters who saw him as a family-man.)

Your recent statements against Hepatitis B can go a long way toward lessening concerns among these voters that you are – again quoting our focus group – a “heartless, harsh, judgmental twit.”

Why not Skippy?

It is also essential that you continue your attacks on RPC. Referring to him, in the diminutive, as “Bobby” is crucial.

Our opposition research has yet to turn up the “smoking gun” we can employ against RPC.(papundit: Really? What about Casey’s record of skipping work? Or the fact that he supports amnesty for illegal immigrants?)

But there are obvious avenues of attack. For instance, an exhaustive search of the record has uncovered no public statements by RPC on Hepatitis B. Accordingly, we are preparing a radio ad. Partial text:

“Hepatitis B is a disease that afflicts many Asian Americans and African Americans. Rick Santorum is against Hepatitis B. Yet Bobby Casey remains silent. What have you got to hide, Bobby? Why won’t you condemn this life-threatening disease…?”

However, these actions alone will not defeat RPC in the GE.

The other portion of our two-pronged strategy calls for you to rally your conservative base. Disheartened by the war, disillusioned with President Bush’s administration, your core constituency is in danger of staying home on election day. (papundit: Of course, Ferrick doesn’t admit that a core Democratic constituency is in danger of staying home on election day due to Casey‘s pro-life position. He saw no need to be even-handed in this editorial.) 

They need to be energized with heavy doses of high-protein, red-meat issue mongering. We call this portion the “Cleaver Initiative.”

Your recent visit to Geno’s Steaks to stand behind Joe Vento’s neo-Know Nothing initiative against immigrants is a good first step. (papundit: To compare Joe Vento and Rick Santorum to the anti-Catholic and violent Know Nothing party is particularly despicable. Joe Vento simply asked that customers at his business speak English when ordering. Rick Santorum does not support amnesty for illegal immigrants. This is in no way comparable with the nativist violence of the Know Nothing party, which attacked churches and discriminated against Catholics.) Though, as your campaign advisers, we were dismayed that you failed to use the line we had crafted for you to quip:

No hablo

“Spanish? We don’t speak no stinkin’ Spanish!”

It would have drawn a laugh and made the point.

Your efforts to tack to the right may be impeded by the fact that you don’t have much room left.

Your assertion last week that there are, in fact, WMDs in Iraq, while false, cements your standing among Warrior Conservatives, who feared the president was going defeat-monkey on them. (papundit: See my previous post on the unfounded accusation that Santorum was lying about WMDs in Iraq.) 

But what of the Moralist Conservatives? Your creds are high, but they need a feeding, lest some be tempted to defect to RPC.

Abortion is a no-gainer, but we do see an opening with homophobia. (papundit: Note how Ferrick claims abortion is a no-gainer. Both Santorum and Casey are pro-life, but only Santorum can be counted on to vote for a pro-life Supreme Court nominee. Casey claimed that he would have voted for Alito, but his supporters in the Democratic leadership have assured party activists that Casey would be a consistent vote for judicial filibusters. The exact quotation was: Everyone was assured that Casey was going to hang tough with us on reproductive rights and judges,” says a Democratic leadership staffer.” Casey can’t have it both ways.Either Casey is pro-life and will oppose a judicial filibuster or he has falsely claimed he will stand with the abortion-rights wings of the Democratic Party to block pro-life candidates. Does Ferrick really think pro-lifers are dumb enough to vote for a “pro-life” candidate who will cooperate in Democratic efforts to block pro-life judges from getting an up-or-down vote?)

We propose that you offer a constitutional amendment to ban gay dating on “slippery slope” grounds, namely that it could lead to gay engagement and gay marriage.

The news release would have you say: “We need to nip this in the bud on a national level before we are confronted with a wave of gay engagement showers and gay bridal registries.”

Among moderates/independents, you could take a softer line, saying: “I’m just trying to prevent a tragic epidemic of gay divorce.” (papundit: Ferrick shows his elitism with this argument. According to a recent ABC poll, 58% of Americans do not support gay marriage. To Ferrick, the only explanation for this belief is homophobia. He implies that 58% of Americans are bigots. By doing so, he ignores concerns about judicial activism or religious liberty. Instead, he trivializes the issue by talking about gay engagement showers.) 

These steps, we are convinced, will help you defeat RPC in the GE.

Otherwise, you will be DOA.



1. papundit - June 26, 2006

FYI: The Casey campaign liked this column so much that they posted it on their campaign website under “News.”

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