In the latest Rasmussen poll Rand Paul is ahead of Jack Conway by 5 points. But this is down from last month where Paul was ahead 11 points. A poll conducted by Bennett, Petts and Normington for the DSCC has Conway up by 2. Real Clear Politics scores the race for Paul, but only by 3. What is happening?
I’ve been writing about this for a long time now. Rand Paul has learned to enjoy the windfall benefits of high profile press appearances and the somewhat unexplainable advantages of running an unorthodox campaign. More importantly he is riding the crest of a wave of anti-liberal sentiment. But now he is in the red zone where the ground game gets tougher, bloodier and the field is too short for long developing pass routes. This is where traditional politics kicks in and kicks butt.
No doubt Rand Paul represents the feelings of Kentuckians better than Jack Conway. Conway is a liberal, who would vote the liberal agenda of Barack Obama.
Conway supports abortion. He supported the very “Cap and Trade” legislation that Obama vowed would bankrupt coal and drive home utility rates higher. Conway favors the socialist program of Obamacare, destined to reduce the quality of health care for every American in years to come, just as it has in other countries which have tried it.
Conway would continue the kind of earmark spending that has lead our nation to the brink of bankruptcy, destroyed jobs and thrust millions of Americans into foreclosure. He is one of the “privileged class”, a limousine liberal who acts like the typical politician pandering his way to a high paying government job, a position of power and the benefits of a corrupt system of government, all the while pretending to care about the little guy.
Now, in the last few days of the campaign, sensing that he is about to be discovered for what he really is, meaning out of step with the mood of Kentuckians, Conway set fire to the dumpster. Why? As a diversion, a “red herring” , an attempt to turn this race away from the issues which matter most to America (where Rand Paul wins big) and to attract everybody’s attention with lights, and sirens and a gathering crowd to watch and smell as garbage burns. And it’s working, as it always has.
Chris Matthews, who lamblasted Conway on his program, said Conway’s actions are like a basketball coach telling a player in the last few minutes of a losing game to commit an intentional foul. He needed to stop the clock, to stop the momentum of his opposition and to give his team a chance to get back in the game, and its working, as it always has.
Now is the time when coaching makes the difference. Conway’s coaches will likely continue to roll out one negative ad after another. Why? Because winning an election involves three components: 1. Positives, 2. Negatives, and 3. Control.
Are Conway’s tactics going to drive up his positives? Hardly, in fact the coverage of his below the belt blows have hurt him.
Are Conway’s tactics going to drive up Rand Paul’s negatives? Sure, to some degree, because as all consultants on both sides of the aisle secretly titter among themselves, voters are stupid, they are like sheep, easily herded and predictable.
Are Conway’s tactics going to control the debate? Answer this for yourself. What have we all been talking about now for nearly a week? The Obama agenda, runaway spending, job killing legislation, giving America a chance to take our country back from the progressives? Or Aqua Buddah?
And in heavily democratic counties, places where unions control votes, rural areas where few if any watch FoxNews, CNN, MSNBC, read blogs or even make use of computers, what sound bite is more easily digested, a well thought out discussion of solving the fiscal problems of the nation by controlling the size of the federal bureaucracy, or an allegation that your opponent mocked Christianity?
Conway has knocked Paul off message. He is controlling the line of scrimmage. Sure he’s gouging eyes, biting ears and commiting fouls. Sure he doesn’t deserve to win, especially by these tactics, but my earlier prediction was as much advice as anything else.
In the closing days of a tough, and now to the candidates, long and exhausting political campaign, the struggle for victory becomes a bloodsport.
The only war ever won from the air was won at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But even with the use of nuclear weapons, that war was not won without the bloody battles of Guam, Wake Island, Corregidor, Midway, The Coral Sea, Guadalcanal and Bataan.
And yes, Sarah Palin came to Kentucky and told Rand Paul that he was likely to get advice from a lot of people, but to stay true to his principles, since most of the advice would be coming from those who has lost elections. And she was right. As with her own loss there are lessons to be learned.
Rand needs to get control of this thing immediately, or, as his poor poll numbers are beginning to show, he is headed for the “Principled Losers Hall Of Fame.”