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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

2005 Virginia Governor, who is running Kaine's campaign?

Posted by Bob Brigham

"Democrat" Tim Kaine's campaign for Governor of Virginia is self-destructing. It is ugly, Kaine appears to be going out of his way to embarrass himself and the Democratic Party.

Last week, Kaine gave an interview lecturing Democrats on religion by employing a self-hating strategy of trying to build himself up by attacking fellow Democrats.

It failed miserably.

When I say failed miserably, I mean failing in every quantifiable manner. So let us look at this academically:

Professor George Lakoff has this to say about swing voters:

Fallacy: Progressives can gain more voters by moving to the Right.

There is a myth that voters are lined up in a left-to-right line, and that to gain the support of swing voters, you must move to the center. When progressives move to the right, they lose in two ways, setting up a self-defeating double-whammy:

1. Moving to the right alienates your progressive base.

2. It actually helps conservatives because it activates their model in swing voters.

Notice that conservatives do not gain more voters by moving to the Left. What they do is stick to their strict ideology to activate their model in swing voters by being clear and consistent in policies and messages framed in terms of conservative values.

Moral: Voters are not on a left-to-right line. Stick with your ideals, frame what you believe effectively, and say what you believe. Say it well, strongly, and with moral conviction.

Kaine has provided the textbook example.

1. Moving to the right alienates your progressive base.

I covered this yesterday on my post about the backlash documented by Chris Bowers and the Gadflyer. The Kaine campaigned excelled at proving this rule. It appears they are going out of their way to keep Democrats from supporting the campaign.

2. It actually helps conservatives because it activates their model in swing voters.

Now that Kaine has begun activating the GOP model in Swing Voters, Jerry Kilgore is piling on:

Kaine said Kilgore had questioned the authenticity of his religious beliefs. Kilgore said he was misquoted, that he was discussing Kaine's professed opposition to the death penalty.

The latest dustup in the campaign between the Democrat and Republican flared after the Washington Examiner, a daily newspaper in the Washington area, quoted Kilgore as saying in an interview Friday that Kaine never mentioned his faith in connection with the death penalty until Kaine's opposition to capital punishment became politically unpopular.

Not only did Kaine activate the conservative model in the minds of Swing Voters, but he came off as an opportunist in the process. And if that wasn't enough harm for one week, here's Kaine's spin:

Kaine likened the criticism to a "jihad," a religious holy war, but later backed away from that analogy.

Textbook indeed.

Posted at 06:22 PM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | Technorati


It looks like we've been Buzzflashed, thanks for coming, feel free to talk about the races of interest in 2005 and 2006.

Posted by: Bob Brigham [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 29, 2005 09:09 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

P.S. I love the BuzzFlash headline, "Meet the latest sell-out Democrat. Virginia gubernatorial candidate Tim Kaine."

Posted by: Bob Brigham [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 29, 2005 09:11 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Wow. You sound awfully pleased with yourself for someone who just trashed the best hope for a Democratic governor of 7 million Virginians.

Posted by: redsoxkangaroo [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 30, 2005 12:21 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I didn't trash anything, I quoted a $10 textbook (unread by the fools running Kaine's campaign), I quoted the blogosphere, I quoted the local press and I connected the dots.

Yes, Kaine is trashed right now. Because he trashed himself. He actually used the word "jihad"???

But thanks redsoxkangaroo, your comments have ensured that I will be writing on this race often. Let's hope Kaine stops making an ass of himself.

Posted by: Bob Brigham [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 30, 2005 12:46 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Just an observation: who needs another Democrat like Lieberman or Miller? And this guy, Kaine, sounds like he is cut from the same cloth as those two.

I'm sick of "republican lite" Democrats. They do the party no good and only help prop up uber-conservatives who love to point to these losers as being "bi-partisan"--which is nothing but nonsense.

dubya claimed the same bi-partisanship cooperation while governor of Texas. Little reported was the conservative bent of the so-called Democrats he "reached across the aisle" to work with. And thanks in part to those "in name only Dems" who weakened the party, we in Texas are burdened with a wacko legislature designed by toxic Tom Delay.

Keep on going after the pretenders! If these guys want to behave like Republicans, let them run as Republicans and leave the way open for real Democrats--if there are any to find.

Posted by: ruocalz [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 30, 2005 01:36 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I made this comment on a different post on MyDD, but think it bears repeating here:

"Whatever you think of the specifics of Kaine's comments, it's clear that he's trying to address the problem with the "Respects faith" number here.

"His criticism of John Kerry on this has a lot of people upset with him, but I think he's essentially trying to make the case that rather than calling Republicans liars for characterizing Dems as unfriently to religion, Dems are going to get farther in the long run by showing more respect for faith.

"It may be more effective to show the lie is a lie by exhibiting the behavior that proves it's a lie than by calling the person who tells the lie a liar."

I'd also like to point out that Kaine made his comments in a liberal journal, in front of a liberal audience - basically for an audience of Dems. He's trying to change the way Democrats are perceived by religious people by asking Dems to show more respect for religion.

I personally don't think Dems by and large disrespect religion - but it's clear from the statistics in the MyDD post that the perception that they do is hurting the party. At the ballot box, it doesn't functionally matter much whether Dems actually respect religion if they're unable to communicate that respect to people.

Kaine is basically just offering some pointed advice on how to change the perception - and doing so because he thinks it will help the party. I don't think that Catholic Kaine, if he really thought Dems didn't respect religion, would call himself a Democrat.

I also think you're being colossally unfair to Kaine, saying that his campaign is "self destructing" because he got a couple of negative posts on blogs. What's worse, you're handing ammunition to his Republican opponent.

You compound your error by repeating the Kilgore lie that Kaine came lately to religion, and that he is insincere. Why you repeat that lie, I don't quite understand. Kaine's campaign sent out an email today that quoted him talking about his faith publicly seven years ago, while he was mayor of heavily Democratic Richmond.

Furthermore, you discuss "backlash documented by Chris Bowers and Gadflyer". Gadflyer documents no backlash - it argues vigorously against Kaine's comments, but describes no evidence of any backlash anywhere else. Bowers' post (which led to heated but productive discussion) documented only the backlash in the Gadflyer article. What's more, many commenters on Bowers' post defended Kaine and expressed sympathy for his frustration with some Democrats. Your characterization here does not do justice to the breadth of the discussion on MyDD.

You also claim to have some insight into Kaine's motivation for his comments, claiming that he is trying to "build himself up" by knocking other Democrats. I refer you in this instance to David NYC's criticism of my comments (which I accept and will endeavor to heed from here forward):

"I believe it is inappropriate to even be discussing someone's intentions (in most cases, this one included). You have plenty of fodder on the merits - there is no need to engage in mind-reading about a person's intentions. Moreover, if you are accusing someone of having base intentions (as indeed you did), such accusations cannot be made without evidence. Speculation about what a person thinks does not qualify. Just because a person's intentions "seem clear" to you does not mean you have adduced evidence of them."

If that criticism of my posting is valid, and I am willing to accept that it is, then it is certainly valid criticism of your post as well.

Posted by: redsoxkangaroo [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 30, 2005 02:17 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Sorry, the MyDD post to which I refer is here.

Posted by: redsoxkangaroo [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 30, 2005 02:37 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Bob, your "self-destructing" comment does seem to be over the top. I'm trying to parse the basis for it. As best I can tell, these are your points:

1) Kaine should not have criticized other Democrats.

This point is well-taken. The point that this was in a liberal journal, in response to the question "what are national Democrats doing wrong?" should also be well-taken.

After this is where you start to lose me.

2) Kaine has begun activating the GOP Model in swing voters.

How has he done this? By making comments to the American Prospect? I doubt many swing voters read the American Prospect or have any idea what he said.

Or did he "move to the right" by emphasizing his faith? If this is the rule, we're going to be putting our candidates in an awfully confined box, considering many Democrats (and, by inference, our candidates) are people of faith.

The fact that Kilgore labelled him an opportunist for talking about faith does not mean that you, I, or anyone else has to accept it. That's a predictable attack from a Republican opponent (and one that could well backfire, because questioning another's faith is classless). If Democrats can no longer mention their faith, because they are scared that Republicans will accuse them of doing it for political reasons, that doesn't sound like a winning attitude to me.

The use of the term "jihad" may have been intemperate, but that was after-the-fact. So I have to ask, exactly what behavior of Kaine's are you labelling as "movement to the right" that has alienated swing voters?

Posted by: Steve M [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 30, 2005 12:39 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment