(Mark Noonan) – Danny Tarkanian has done a bad thing, in my view. The other day, I received a “push poll” from his campaign. For a political junkie like me, it was an interesting thing – I’ve never been “push polled” before.
For those who are unaware of the practice, a “push poll” is a poll you do – usually through a third party, but this one was clearly ID’s as a Tarkanian effort – to make people dislike your opponent.
The questions run along the lines of, “do you oppose clubbing baby seals to death? Did you know that Candidate A is a baby seal clubbing instructor? Now that you know that Candidate A is worse than Hitler, are you more likely to vote for Candidate B?”
I imagine that this sort of polling has been around since about an hour after Bell invented the phone. Attempting to win by making your opponent odious is an old political trick, and its nauseating and shouldn’t be done. In fact, it is a prime example of the very political machine we’re trying to oust in 2010.
So, why is Danny Tarkanian doing it? I can only guess that he’s hired himself some old-line political operatives to manage his campaign and they’ve advised him that this is the thing to do. But here’s the kicker – tactics like this are only done by operatives who think that the people are too stupid to figure it out. It is an attempt to win by bamboozling rather than winning the electorate.
I think that Tarkanian is heading down a very wrong path here.
In 2010, the people are not about to be bamboozled. Reid hopes they can be because that is his only hope of re-election – but this is not the time for a Republican to attempt it.
First off, because it will play in to Reid’s hands. He’s looking for a lie-fest in which smear faces off with smear: Reid will have more money and thus will be able to put out more smears against his opponent than the opponent will be able to put out about Reid.
Secondly, its not in keeping with the demand for real change in politics – doing such a thing can cost the GOP TEA Party support, and could thus hand the seat back to Reid by default.
I think I am on firm ground when I state that the Republican and conservative rank-and-file don’t want to hear how lousy the other guy is. We want to hear from the candidates what they think makes them the best pick.
Don’t tell us what is wrong with Lowden, Tarkanian, Angle or whomever – tell us what is right with you. Put out the message about yourself, and then we’ll let you know in June who gets the honor of facing off against Harry Reid. And everyone who loses better darn well line up firmly behind the winner – though, of course, getting such a line up will be impossible if the candidates spend the next five months ripping each other to shreds rather than working for grass roots support.
The politics of the past is dead politics. It is the politics which gave us Harry Reid. If we use that sort of politics, we’ll either get Harry Reid, or a slightly modified clone of Reid. We in the rank and file must be alert to what is happening – and must decide, now, that anyone who fights using Reid’s tactics won’t get our support in the primary.
Let’s make November 2nd the day we take out the trash – not the day we replace trash with garbage.
(Mr. Noonan co-publishes Blogs for Victory)