You’ve got to love the Cagle campaign. Seriously. While I have my doubts about parts of their strategy and am not wedded to the Cagle campaign, they have just employed one of my favorites, which I call the “Tie In and Defend.”
The trick is very simple, but it takes some thinking to be able to deploy when the moment presents itself. First, you find a party popular with your base that is getting beaten up, though more frequently than not, the beat up is under the radar or minimal. Then you tie the party popular to your opponent to contrast the party popular with your opponent. Then you defend the party popular highlighting the problems of your opponent with the attack in question. Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both used this trick. Clinton’s was very famous in 1992.
At that time, more than a few liberal interest groups were attacking Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush on the economy — saying that the economic trouble was the result of Reagan’s tax cut. Clinton leapt to Reagan’s defense saying that the groups should leave Reagan out of it, after all it was Bush who had been in charge for four years and seen unemployment skyrocket. A lot of undecided Reagan Democrats would would be inclined to vote Republican, but for the unsure footing of Bush’s less than conservative campaign, got it in their heads that Clinton couldn’t be that bad a guy and went back into the Democrat fold.
So, by now you are scratching your head. What does this have to do with Cagle?
Well, read it and weep from a press release I just got:
In a statement today, Senator and Lt. Governor candidate Casey Cagle blasted the liberal group Campaign to Defend the Constitution for accusing Focus on the Family leader Dr. James Dobson of supporting casino gambling.
The print and television attack campaign attempts to tie Dobson to casino lobbyists Ralph Reed and Jack Abramoff, despite the lack of any evidence to support those claims.
“These ads are designed to use the deceitful actions of a few individuals to smear the entire pro-family movement and Dr. Dobson — who has devoted his whole life to building stronger families and living what he believes. There is no proof whatsoever of illegal or unethical behavior by Dr. Dobson or Focus on the Family. To attempt to tie Dr. Dobson to the Ralph Reed-Jack Abramoff scandal is disgraceful and just plain wrong,” said Cagle.
“Liberals are now using the Reed-Abramoff scandal to mount a frontal assault on the entire pro-family movement, and I am personally outraged by it and will fight it at every turn. I strongly support Dr. Dobson’s efforts to set the record straight and seek any and all appropriate legal remedies,” Cagle continued.
Bring the very popular James Dobson into the Reed mess, only to compare and contrast with Reed and ardently defend Dobson. I didn’t even know Dobson was being so disparaged and I keep up with him on a daily basis.
Very well done.