As is their wont, the Politico draws first blood on the Herman Cain campaign, with a thinly-sourced hit piece.
Or did they?
The timing helps Cain a bit; the New York Times’ similarly-premature hit piece in early 2008 did little to derail John McCain, and many on the right had said that if George W. Bush had come clean with his drunk-driving arrest early, it would never have been used against him as an October surprise. Obama’s early admission that he once smoked and snorted dope made him bulletproof against those charges.
Does that mean that the charges against Cain are true? I have no idea; but does it matter? It’s the attack that counts, how much blood it draws, and how poorly it makes the candidate look, particularly amongst low-information voters. Once this story starts making the rounds later in the AM, beginning on the morning shows, the focus will be much more on how the Cain campaign responds; no one will remember the initial story.
Which is why, as a first effort at fighting back, the response on Sunday night by Cain’s spokesman was flat-out awful — five minutes and 28 seconds of pure dissembling that did nothing to stop his employer’s potential hemorrhaging. You might not like this analogy, but the Clinton campaign’s swift and brutal response in ’92 to his myriad bimbo eruptions should be the model for any presidential candidate, particularly on the right. As his Democrat successor in the White House likes to say, get in their faces and punch back twice as hard. Question the assumptions of the MSM; put them on the defensive. When the MSM complains, mention the public’s lack of trust in the media, and previous efforts by candidates that the media were in the tank for, and tell them, “We modeled our efforts on the rapid responses to scurrilous attacks by the Clinton and Obama campaigns. We all saw what happened to John Kerry when he didn’t fight back against being attacked. Of course we’re looking out for our candidate. If you were in our shoes, wouldn’t you?”
As this Newbusters headline states, “Politico’s Roger Simon: Being Racist Helps in Republican Primaries;” he might as well have talking about his own publication. The boys on the Journolist, or whatever it’s known as today, that self-described “non-official campaign” to aid the president, play for keeps. (Several members of the Politico were amongst its ranks in 2008.) So does the rest of the MSM. When will presidential candidates on the right finally learn that lesson, and run their campaigns accordingly?