Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Best "Terrible" Campaign In History

How does a Republican beat a Democratic incumbent who can outspend him/her 4-1, in a deep blue state?

Even as they were announcing his unpredictable early victory last night, pundits were still being critical of the Christie campaign.

"Terrible, awful, not pretty, etc." is how many continue to described the campaign. Here's my question to the columnists, editorial boards and talking heads who have been so critical of the campaign for months: Compared to what previous campaign?

Doug Forrester's? Bret Schundler's? Christie Whitman's? Tom Kean Sr's first?, Jim McGreevey's first?

Here's a news flash news hounds: The purpose of campaigns is to win, not to give you good material to write about. I know I've not been alone in biting my tongue about this for months, though I have shouted at my computer screen and TV set several times.

You want an expert opinion...consult Joe Cryan, as quoted by Josh Margolin and Claire Heininger:
Christie also surprised Democrats by running a disciplined, organized race instead of reacting recklessly as they thought he would in the face of an advertising onslaught that accused him of being a back-slapping bully who liked handing out public contracts to cronies.

"He stuck to his strategy."

Margolin's and Heininger's piece is brilliant and insightful.

There's something I think that Josh and Claire missed, that I haven't seen anyone else write about, that worked so brilliantly in Christie's campaign.

By sticking to his strategy and refusing the yield to the demands of pundits and pollsters who demanded specifics, Christie caused the Corzine campaign to panic and use their negative research too soon. As Christie cruised through the summer, ignoring demands for specifics, with rising poll numbers, the pressure on Corzine to withdraw was rising. The assault of ads about the loan to a friend/employee, the driving record, deferred prosecution agreements (which was actually used up by the DGA during the primary) would have been more effective for Corzine if they had been released in September and October, instead of in August. By election day voters considered them unfair attacks, even though they were successful in bringing Christie's favorables down. The voters didn't care about the issues Christie was attacked on anymore. A reasonably uninformed Christie voter told me today, "I voted for him even though he didn't pay his taxes."

Christie often said, "this is a different kind of campaign." It was and it worked and it really doesn't matter what the pundits say about it.


Anonymous said...

hey, it is pretty terrible to blow a 10-plus point lead, and everyone agrees he wasted Kim, who should've appealed to the women to answer the mammogram fiasco,( my friend aptly observed he invoked her name more last night in his speech than at any time during the long campaign,) but what the hell, we'll take it, and just to see a change in the players down there warms the cockles of our hearts, the creeps!!

Anonymous said...

One still needs to review the entire campaign and learn from mistakes and continue to look at how things can be done better. Things can always be improved and made more efficient and effective.

Winning should not cloud over the fact that Corzine was his own worst enemy. Four days before the election, he reminded people about monetizing the Turnpike and Parkway by telling the NY Times he would "revisit" it in his next term.

Alas, poor Jon. He will (thank God!) never have that chance.

Anonymous said...

Well said. Things can always be done better, which is easy to see after the fact, but overall it was a solid campaign that stayed on message except for a few weeks of reaction to the mamo ads that got Chris off message, but he got back on it in time for election day.

Anonymous said...

Christie's campaign strategy worked like a TEA ! If Corzine stayed behind in the polls any longer O'man was looking for his replacement ,and now we learn that Corzine was very close to doing just that ,Christie knew he could win ,but only against Jon ...he played the D's like a fiddle they thought they had CC against the ropes ,but in the end we saw the true CC appear ,with a big assist from Lonegan ...who knows perhaps that was part of the plan as well .Dem's had no time to counter whatsoever

Anonymous said...

when will the Dems' big supporters ever get how little respect they have for them as people??..they promise them the moon every election, then dump them right after an election, and never produce anything to get them elevated to an American dream of self-sufficiency and pride?.. they are sick, and must be defeated, one by one!! if WE have to keep trying to wake them up, so be it!

Anonymous said...

Anyone who tries to spin this as a good campaign is only deluding themselves. Cristie won because Corzine was the most hated politician in NJ history, the economy imploded and Corzine put the final bullet in his own head at the end with the selling the toll roads again. Cristie's campaign deserves absolutely 0% credit.