13 October 2006

Going Negative

The Knowles campaign - as was expected - has started "going negative." Two press releases this afternoon make that clear.

The first from the Knowles campaign itself points out Sarah Palin's position on subsistence:

“I know that a huge majority of Alaskans support a rural priority and they deserve the chance to express their will. Sarah Palin doesn’t believe in it.”
(I can't find the press release online. You'll have to trust me.)

When I read the press release, I thought to myself, "Gee, that's not news to me. Sarah told us that on Touchstone last week." Then I read the Knowles' campaign second e-mail, providing numerous Palin quotations, and realized a huge number of those quotations came from the very call-in show I hosted with Sarah Palin. For instance,
"I'm pro-subsistence for all Alaskans... And we don't need to amend our constitution to allow for that. We don't have to amend ANILCA, either."
(That is an accurate quotation from the show and not taken out of context either.)

I don't know who fed the Knowles campaign the Sarah quotations because it certainly wasn't us and we didn't share our tape with anyone.

The second prong of the negative attack came from the Alaska Democratic Party, arguing Palin was bad for Southeast because she wants to move the capital, which she really doesn't. The press releases quotes her as saying she's for "keeping the star on the map" but "it's up to the Legislature where the Legislature meets."

I say this is "going negative" because it can be argued that there's nothing negative about pointing out what the other candidates say or do and then contrasting that with one's own position. In fact, isn't that what campaigning is all about?

One question I have is the timing. Why Friday afternoon (and this is clearly a co-ordinated attack) when people are heading out for the weekend? Perhaps to give reporters enough time to do their research and roll out an article for the Sunday papers?

Also, why pick subsistence? Isn't that an issue that will play mostly to rural Alaskans? And aren't rural Alaskans already heavily Democratic? Does the Knowles campaign sense weakness in its base?

The most interesting question is why the Knowles campaign is rolling this out now. Clearly, there's some frustration, I'd imagine, with their inability to point out Sarah Palin's lack of knowledge on some important issues and "get anything to stick" while she continues her merry way around the state promising "positive change" that will "unite Alaskans" but not providing many specifics.

They say that no one likes going negative but that it works. Will it work here?

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