In 1986 I was managing a State Senate primary race in Upstate New York. My strategy was to attack early and often. Two weeks into the campaign I received a call from a member of then Senator Al D’Amato’s staff. I was told that negative campaigns do not work in New York. Only positive campaigns win amongst the GOP party members.This coming from a man whose boss ran one of the most vicious and negative campaigns in American political history. D’Amato defeated Jacob Javitts the incumbent GOP senator by basically travelling all over New York and declaring that Jake was a dying old man. He also more then subtlety attacked the fact that Javitts was Jewish.
My candidate chose to believe the D’Amato people and stopped me from going negative. Our opponent had no such scruples. Even though we out spent him and were better organized his non stop attacks, and my candidate’s refusal to counterattack killed us. We lost. My candidate’s belief that right would prevail went down in flames like countless other campaigns have done over the years.In 1994 the GOP took majority control of the US House and Senate. We did because Newt Gingrich led a vicious attack on the Democrats. If something went wrong it was because of the Democrats. It did not matter if it was true or not he said it. That constant barrage finally brought the Democrats down.We might hate Howard Dean but he has attacked the GOP night and day. He had slandered, libeled and defamed us and he did not care. He wanted to win. The Democrats broke every “gentleman’s agreement” ever struck in American politics. They personally attacked the GOP, President Bush, and anything that even remotely smacked of being Republican. They called us liars, frauds, cheats, crooks, and everything and anything else they could think of to destroy us.For the first time in the history of American politics the word “liar” was used by elected politicians openly and loudly. They blocked legislation, they proposed nothing and cared about nothing but attacking. We went into a shell and became defensive. Plus some of our old allies abandoned us.After retaking the House and the Senate they have maintained campaign mode. They attack. It means nothing that they are the worse congress in memory. They don’t care. They attack. With their numbers in the tank what does Nancy Pelosi do? She goes even further in crossing the line and attacking President Bush personally. Something no sitting Speaker of the House has ever done before.The RNC Chairman has to stop defending and start attacking. The only Republicans that seem to have the stomach for fighting are Roy Blount, Bobby Jindal, and Sarah Palin. The press is never going to back us. We will never be able to craft an argument that will persuade The New York Times, NBC, or CBS to give us a fair hearing.If the Democrats win it all this Fall this site and every other vehicle open to conservatives and the GOP will be legislated and forced out of existence. Never underestimate the ability of Democrats and liberals to toss aside their “values” to destroy their opponents. They want it all and they will get it if we don’t develop some stones and start fighting.