FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Bring Out The Gimp!
Nobody in their right mind would vote for (fill in the blank). Gray Davis, Patrick Leahy, or Claire McCaskill pretty much fit that description. All three are (or were) useless intestinal parasites on the bowels of state. But what if they ran for re-election against The Gimp? Or at least an opponent who held held delusional beliefs in something called a “legitimate rape.” This is what Senator McCaskill and the Democrats have accomplished in the State of Missouri by spending $1.5Million to help nominate their GOP opponent Todd Akin.
In real life, even I’d poll well against the Gimp. The zipper across the mouth of his leather mask gives him an advantage Joe Biden and Todd Akin both lack. Other than that; he’s not your ideal candidate. So how does a useless rotter of an incumbent go about getting the other side to nominate the poor guy who never made further than a bit part in Pulp Fiction? In the sad cases of Davis, Leahy and MacCaskill, the magical elixir was money and organization – lots of it.
During the 1998 Vermont GOP Primary, Senator Leahy’s backers sensed an opportunity. A semi-retired Dairy Farmer had recently acted in a film entitled “Man With a Plan” about a farmer who runs as outsider and makes it to Congress. Vermont has an open primary system which the Dems gamed by pushing Fred Tuttle on to the GOP as a nominee. This enabled Senator Leahy to run against an opponent who 1) endorsed him for re-election, 2) appeared with him at campaign stops and reiterated the endorsement, and 3) vowed to spend no more than $16 on his campaign. Leahy managed to win a squeaker. He remains in Washington and remains exactly what Dick Cheney said he is.
The Democrats also successfully executed the Bring out the Gimp Strategy when unpopular California Governor, Gray Davis was prepping to run for his second term in 2002. When local media started referring to Davis as “Governor Lowbeam” for how he handled being swindled by The Enron Corporation on electrical power, he was an incumbent in serious trouble.
Yet Davis had a pretty awesome ace in the hole. He had spent his early years as governor furiously raising money and had $27Million in the bank. He used this money when he saw himself polling well behind GOP candidate Richard Riordan. Davis helped select his electoral victim the way the Harlem Globetrotters go out of their way to schedule games against The Washington Generals. CNN described Davis’ GOP Primary advertising strategy below.
He was helped by Davis, who spent more than $10 million on an ad campaign targeting Riordan, a move the former mayor blasted as an effort by the governor to handpick the weaker candidate for the general election.
As we all know, it worked. Davis was re-elected by 7% despite the fact he was heartily detested. In state without a recall initiative, he would have served four more years. He didn’t have to be likeable. He just had to be more likeable than The Gimp.
Thus, in the wake of Missouri GOP Senate Nominee, Todd Akin’s disastrous “legitimate rape” gaffe, I’m not shocked in the slightest to learn that Claire McCaskill had a guiding hand in Mr. Akin’s success. The Washington Examiner describes the $1.5 Million advertising strategy that the Democrats employed in the Missouri GOP Primary below.
There’s a reason why Democrats spent over $1.5 million trying to help Akin win his three-way primary. He was the most conservative candidate in the field — and the most unpredictable one. He shook up his campaign staff late last year. He recently released a head-scratching and jumbled campaign ad. And Democrats have already launched a microsite highlighting his controversial statements that won’t play well with moderates. (“America has got the equivalent of the stage III cancer of socialism because the federal government is tampering in all kinds of stuff it has no business tampering in,” Akin once said.)
So Claire McCaskill has invested wisely in the less intelligent members of the GOP electorate. Maybe she should send them a flower basket or thank them in a tangible way by voting like less of a Left-Keynesian the next time a healthcare overhaul comes before the Senate. She won’t. She has no reason to. As long as she can buy the GOP Primary and select her own opponents at will, she’s like Don King arranging the Tyson vs. McNeely Title Bout.
So what do we all learn from this fiasco? To me, the lesson here is bloody well obvious. If the Dems are buying advertisements to help a GOP contender it would behoove any thinking Conservative to figure out why. In this case, it’s obvious. Nothing could save the odious and unpopular Claire McCaskill. She was the ultimate piece of plastic about to be chucked in the recycle bin. But that won’t happen with Todd Akin still in the race. When given The Gimp as an opponent the good voters of Missouri will hold their noses and vote for Claire Force One.