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Just trying to be helpful

negative campaigning flow chart

Every four years, sure as shit, the media yammers about whether the Dems should “go negative” because the Republicans always “go negative” and even though people say they don’t like it when politicians “go negative” it really does work. So sure enough the Dems “go negative” and it doesn’t work and the Republicans “go negative” and it does work and the talking heads declare that Democrats are just too doggone nice to pull off the whole “go negative” gambit.

You know, for the smartypants egghead academic party, y’all sure can be pinheads.

Lean closer; I will to tell you the secret. Shhhhh. Look at this simple two-stage flow chart. Us red state peasants pour rumors into it. If they fall out the bottom, we ignore them. If the come flying out the right side, we run with it. Simple as that.

And we apply it equally to our friends and our enemies. Most of us, for example, were persuaded that Larry Craig was tapdancing for anonymous sex in the D.C. airport bathroom (step one) and that, yes, on the whole this was unspeakably creepy and ick (step two). He flunked the flowchart; I don’t know anyone who sticks up for Larry “Widestance” Craig.

On the other hand, it’s obvious the Dems aren’t applying the same decision matrix. Take the whole Swiftboat thing. What do they say? That Kerry didn’t knock the charges down early enough, or that he didn’t knock them down hard enough — when the problem is that at least some of the accusations were factually and provably true…and materially important. How do you knock something like that down? (C’mon…you don’t have to be a student of naval history to know that three purple hearts in four months without needing a day in the infirmary can’t be right (step one) and for someone running as the Military Guy, this matters (step two).)

Or Rathergate. Dan Rather pissed his whole career down his leg trying to get to first base proving that Bush had an easier time of it in the National Guard because he was the son of a political bigshot. Dude. Duuude. Even if he had gotten past step one, this would fail step two. Of course the son of a bigshot is going to have an easier time of it; bureaucracies instinctively cover their butts that way — whether the bigshot’s son wants them to or not. (Al Gore got a journalist’s gig and, rumor has it, a full-time minder. I’m not shocked. Nor, honestly, all that disapproving).

Oh, I’m not saying every wild-ass rumor that ‘wingers latch onto is a winner. And left and right have fundamental disagreements about what passes step two. But you can bet your ass any issue that catches fire this Fall, John Q. Sixpack is going to believe it survived this flow chart first.

Exit question: if you spend a lot of your time hammering the prediction that your opponent will go negative and avoid the issues, isn’t that going negative and avoiding the issues?

Incoming! Thanks for the link, Gabe. Oh! And SarahW at the Protein Wisdom Pub (which, if you haven’t been paying attention, is where all those PW posters who are not JeffG went).

sock it to me

Comments


Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: August 21, 2008, 12:17 pm

First!!

Into the spam box that is.

 


Comment from XBradTC
Time: August 21, 2008, 12:28 pm

As to the exit question, the Dems are masters of the stealth negative attack, witness O!s prediction that the Republicans would make his race an issue. It was intended to make the Republicans look racist (negative attack) and make O! look like he wasn’t attacking. They do this quite often. All sides do to some extent, but it is a longstanding staple of the Dems.

AS to the flowchart, I find it interesting that several wingers have spent considerable time fisking some of the nuttier theories about Obama, actually rising to his defense in order to focus on the issues and traits that matter.

 


Pingback from Gabriel Malor
Time: August 21, 2008, 12:28 pm

[…] Weasel writes about negative campaigning and includes a nifty graphic for visual learners. Every four years, sure as shit, the media yammers […]

 


Comment from mesablue
Time: August 21, 2008, 12:42 pm

Obama is not a space alien?

 


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 21, 2008, 12:46 pm

It’s a passive-aggressive tactic, Brad. And it’s an oddly feminine way of carrying yourself. (I’ll say it because I can).

 


Comment from Ronsonic
Time: August 21, 2008, 12:52 pm

Nice try, but I think there’s still gonna be Dims in the back of the room asking for more explanation.

 


Comment from Purple Avenger
Time: August 21, 2008, 12:52 pm

Obama is not a space alien?

Who knew?

 


Comment from Gabriel
Time: August 21, 2008, 12:53 pm

I think there’s still gonna be Dims in the back of the room asking for more explanation.

But there’s a picture!

 


Pingback from Where the goalposts go, nobody knows
Time: August 21, 2008, 12:55 pm

[…] Sweasel has drawn up the secrets of Dem rumor traction fail, in a stoatagraph flow chart. the secret. Shhhhh. . . . Us red state peasants pour rumors into it. If they fall out the bottom, we ignore them. If the come flying out the right side, we run with it. Simple as that. Posted by SarahW @ 4:03 pm | Trackback Share This […]

 


Comment from mesablue
Time: August 21, 2008, 12:59 pm

S.Weasel is not a guy?

Oh wait, we already knew that. I think.

 


Comment from Scubafreak
Time: August 21, 2008, 1:01 pm

[…]Obama is not a space alien?[…]

Call MIB, that’s their baliwick…..

 


Comment from Leftard
Time: August 21, 2008, 1:07 pm

I don’t understand drawings unless they show Republicans with Hitler mustaches.

 


Comment from Allen
Time: August 21, 2008, 1:26 pm

This reminds me of a basic exchange I heard on the radio this morning.

Obama: You can’t question my patriotism.
McCain: You’re right, it’s your judgement I question.
Obama: You can’t do that, besides you’re out of touch because of all your houses.
McCain: You sure you want to get into the “house” thing?
Obama: He’s going negative!

The dems view of the negative attack goes something like this.

Say it => Say it matters => It works!

Then they’re surprised when it doesn’t or backfires.

 


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 21, 2008, 1:30 pm

Just so, Allen. We’re back to the tone-deafness thing from yesterday. The pundits are trying to persuade people in a language they don’t understand. They watch us as if they were anthropologists and mimic our hand movements and hooting sounds. They have no idea how wrong they get the language, or how creepy it sounds.

 


Comment from nick
Time: August 21, 2008, 1:41 pm

If the dems throw enough crap against the wall some of it sticks and the rest falls into the big catch all pot called the vile criminal Corrupt Republican Party Pot. They, then, use the CRPP to attack Repubs with and it doesn`t matter what`s true and what isn`t because it is a more generalized attack. For emphasis,however, they will throw a few of the contents of the CRPP at you and then run away like little girls not able to defend what they just said.

 


Comment from Allen
Time: August 21, 2008, 1:54 pm

The funniest thing is when they get mystified by the response. “That’s not what I meant, I meant, gobbledy gook, um, ah, um…” Yo dude you still don’t get it.

 


Comment from Jill
Time: August 21, 2008, 3:24 pm

I usually don’t discuss politics or religion with people I have not seen naked.

My theory is, if I know you well enough to see you naked, I know you well enough to discuss politics and/or religion.

🙂

But I’ll say this much as a card-carrying, registered Democrap: Barack Obama has spent an inordinate amount of time accusing the Republicans of making his race an issue. In reality, he’s the one who’s been making his race an issue.

I hate to be there when his tattoo-wearing fan club realizes that what they thought was experience was just a lot of political grandstanding.

 


Comment from Jill
Time: August 21, 2008, 3:27 pm

Wow…and now I have a craving for chocolate covered sunflower seeds…(off to forage)

 


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 21, 2008, 3:53 pm

I started this blog originally for the express purpose of talking religion and politics but, flake that I am, very seldom actually did so. Hence, I sometimes pick up readers whose religion or politics is very different from my own. I feel bad when I work myself up to a good lather and give it to ’em in the eye. Apologies, Jill.

I ran a sidebar graphic for a while that listed a bunch of positions, by way of truth in advertising. To give people fair warning. I’ve toyed with the idea of coming up with some kind of voluntary rating system to indicate a blog’s political bent, religious beliefs, tolerance for profanity and so on, but nothing elegant presents itself.

I know *I’d* like to know all those things before I settle down comfortably in someone’s comments.

 


Comment from Muslihoon
Time: August 21, 2008, 3:57 pm

There are good liberals out there. Some are duped by Obama, some not. Some subscribe to admirable ideals. I can tolerate good liberals. In fact, I like good liberals (as wrong as I think they may be).

And a good liberal, like a good conservative, can carry a political conversation without it becoming acrimonious.

Thank you for hanging around with us, Jill, from an ultra-conservative to a liberal.

 


Comment from Jill
Time: August 21, 2008, 4:14 pm

Sweaseltina, no apologies necessary!
Hell’s fire, we’re all entitled to our own opinions.
I like to think that educated adults can voice such and still be able to see the opposing viewpoint. You offer folks a place where they can do just that. Many kudos to you.

Musli, thanks very much, and thanks for laughing at my jokes, because as Confucius say, they not all gems.

🙂

Just a little info on me: I’m an elected official in my tiny little town. I chose to go into elected office because I think I can try to make a bit of a difference. Might not happen, but I can always try.

Someone said, you’re actually a true believer? (meaning that I believe that elected office, which is different from politics, is the way to make the world a little better)
I said, yeah, I guess I am.
They said, it usually doesn’t end well for true believers.
I said, well, story ain’t over yet, is it?

 


Comment from Pupster
Time: August 21, 2008, 4:22 pm

“I know *I’d* like to know all those things before I settle down comfortably in someone’s comments.”

Or, and I’m just spitballing here, naked pictures.

 


Comment from Stashiu3
Time: August 21, 2008, 4:37 pm

Since Jill discussed her politics with us, does that mean we get to see her naked? Have to say, I admire someone with principles.
😉

 


Comment from Jill
Time: August 21, 2008, 4:45 pm

No, but if you click on my name, you can see me in a bathing suit.

🙂

 


Comment from Allen
Time: August 21, 2008, 4:50 pm

Jill a dem? Gasp, I knew that anyway, don’t know how, just had a tingle up me leg. Speaking of which, can you ever imagine being on national TV and saying that? Now that was creepy.

Good on ya Jill, elected officials at the lower levels have to deal with the pragmatic, the nuts and bolts. Which in my experience is where most people are really affected by government.

 


Comment from Stashiu3
Time: August 21, 2008, 5:19 pm

No, but if you click on my name, you can see me in a bathing suit.

Ok, I’ll admit I fell for it followed your directions, lol. How many others checked out Jill in a bathing suit? Be honest now!

 


Comment from Pupster
Time: August 21, 2008, 5:22 pm

*raises hand sheepishly*

I thought it especially telling that Jill, a life-long Democrat, had a donkey floaty around her waist for her swimsuit shot.

 


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 21, 2008, 5:23 pm

Not so much apologizing for the opinion as luring people in with adorable baby bunnies and then the opinion. Like, “I came for Beatrix Potter; I didn’t bargan for Ayn Rand.”

My father ran unsuccessfully for a state office when I was a teenager. It was a real eye-opener. Once your name is recognizable, people lose all sense of decorum. I was writing a check or something, and the clerk saw my name and said, “you any relation to the Weasel running for office?” and I said, “yes, he’s my father.” And the guy goes, “well, your father is a bastard.”

Really? And what do you call someone who says a shitty thing like that to a fifteen year old girl?

 


Comment from Stashiu3
Time: August 21, 2008, 5:36 pm

Really? And what do you call someone who says a shitty thing like that to a fifteen year old girl?

Umm… “Fortunately, he married my mom and saved me from the same fate. Too bad your Dad didn’t do the same.”

 


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 21, 2008, 5:39 pm

I got my comeuppance. A couple of years later, I was writing a check, and the clerk said, “are you any relation to the Weasel of –”

I said, “yes, he’s my father.”

And she finished, “–Weasel’s Beauty Salon?”

Oh. Ummm…no. Is there one?

 


Comment from Scubafreak
Time: August 21, 2008, 5:54 pm

She got me too.

Jill, your punishment for your cruelty is to watch a man snort powdered wasabi 10 times back to back…..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c74JnI4ucsU

 


Comment from Allen
Time: August 21, 2008, 5:56 pm

That one made me laugh Weasel. I was at my first scientific conference 20 years ago and ran into an older gentleman. He asked, “are you such and such’s son.” Yes. “Well you can’t be too stupid then.”

I found out who he was and purt near soiled meself. “Dad, how do you know him?” Oh, we studied together in grad school. (blink, blink)

 


Pingback from PW Pub Gets Link!
Time: August 21, 2008, 6:11 pm

[…] From SWeasel.  Thanks! Posted by Dan Collins @ 10:11 pm | Trackback Share This […]

 


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: August 21, 2008, 6:41 pm

Political leanings?

A while back, someone accused me of being ‘to the Right of general Pinochet’.

Talk about damning with faint praise.

 


Comment from XBradTC
Time: August 21, 2008, 7:28 pm

I usually describe my political leanings as a little to the right of Atilla the Hun…

And yes, I peeked at Jill.

 


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 21, 2008, 8:26 pm

Oh! Before I trundle off, Christopher Taylor reminds us today is H.P. Lovecraft’s birthday.

I did not know that. Pity. I’ve been talking with a friend about putting together a Lovecraft walking tour of Providence. Today would’ve been an excellent debut…

 


Comment from Cthulhu
Time: August 21, 2008, 8:36 pm

Oh, yeah… umm… like, sorry, H.P. Umm.. Happy Birthday and stuff.

Would have got you a cake but, uh, you know how it is?

Damn hard wearing that Simon Cowell mask. Takes all teh energy I gots.

C. (hugs)

 


Comment from Jill
Time: August 21, 2008, 9:17 pm

Thanks for teh beeg smiles, guys. 🙂

I thought I was rather fetching in my demure one-piece with the donkey floaty.

Weasel, I kind of had the same thing happen to me once my name began to get known…crusty old guys would say “Are you Joe’s daughter?” “Yes, sir…I am.” “Your dad was a hell of a guy. We used to drink together.”

If I had a quarter for every crusty old guy that said he used to drink with my dad, it would seem my dad never did anything BUT drink. Kinda funny.

And Allen, you’re absolutely correct: government at the local level touches more people directly than any other branch. My constituents can contact me very easily – the higher you get, the more people you need to go through.

 


Comment from Old Grouch
Time: August 21, 2008, 9:18 pm

Gee Brad, that’s just what my sister says about me.

Except I think she’s intending to be serious.

 


Comment from Stashiu3
Time: August 21, 2008, 10:01 pm

I thought I was rather fetching in my demure one-piece with the donkey floaty.
Good thing you’re a Democrat… if you were a Republican, somebody would be charging you with posting child-porn for that. (That should get you some more hits stoaty!)

 


Pingback from The mustidae is on a roll. | Cold Fury
Time: August 21, 2008, 10:19 pm

[…] pie eyed balls-to-the-mufuggin-wall-ROLL, I […]

 


Comment from wendyworn
Time: August 21, 2008, 11:01 pm

Jill, I peeked too, but it was when you said you were an elected official. Before you teased the boys about the swimsuit.

 


Comment from LemurKing
Time: August 22, 2008, 12:46 am

Hey Cthulhu… I’ve decided I’m choosing the greater evil and voting for you this fall. Hopefully we can pencil you in.

As I read this posting of Weas’, I’m (1) catching up from a busy day and getting my mustelid fix, and (2) amazed at the fact that libs and conservetites can lie down next to each other w/o screaming blue epithets or trying to eat one another’s brains. Until the wasabi link. Great googley moogely Scubafreak, where in the HELL did you find that? I’m ultrasensitive to wasabi and my testes crawled into my ear canals trying to get away.

Cruel Wife and I have just laughed ourselves into the “I need to go find some Depends because I wet myself” zone.

 


Pingback from (the) Self-Loathing Crowd « Lemur King’s Folly
Time: August 22, 2008, 12:55 am

[…] Self-Loathing Crowd Update: A quick side-trip to a link provided by Scubafreak over at Weasel’s.  The guy has to be engaged in a certain amount of self-loathing shortly after snorting a line of […]

 


Comment from XBradTC
Time: August 22, 2008, 1:32 am

So my boss takes the office out to the Sushi joint for lunch and I order Mongolian BBQ. Everyone is razzing me for not eating sushi. I tell them I only eat fish the way God intended, out of a can with a mermaid on the label. They tease me and say I’m afraid of the wasabi. Uh, no.

I picked up the whole thing and swallowed it. They were aghast. Heh, 2 packs a day of Camels. I can’t taste anything…

 


Comment from Jill
Time: August 22, 2008, 10:22 am

Wendy, I have to admit that I get sentimental for those days in that picture, when my dad was young and strong and here, and summer smelled like sunshine and freshly laundered sheets hanging on the clothesline.

I lived on popsicles and hot dogs and my constant companions were a ginger tomcat and a black furry toy poodle. I jumped rope and rode my tricycle and slept on the wisteria vine-covered back porch at night when it got too hot.

It was perfect.

 


Comment from bad cat robot
Time: August 22, 2008, 12:00 pm

Ah, wasabi … I am never forgetting the day a bunch of us from work went out for sushi, including our Argentinian colleague. He did not know from sushi. He also did not know from wasabi. Thought it was a kind of mint sauce (hey, it’s green!), helped himself to a good dollop. Nearly had to scrape him off the ceiling …

 


Comment from Scubafreak
Time: August 22, 2008, 12:40 pm

Thats one of the perks of working on various helpdesks over the last 10 years, you start collecting the FREAKIEST stuff…..

 


Comment from Jill
Time: August 22, 2008, 1:12 pm

Horrendous resolution, but the audio is worth it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTrdhqsBZC4

 


Comment from Lemur King
Time: August 22, 2008, 1:39 pm

Thanks Jill!

Strangely I’m reminded of a co-op we had here years ago. He ate some pepper (scotch bonnet is my guess) on his carribean vacation and said “It was so bad, my TEETH were bleeding”.

 


Comment from Scubafreak
Time: August 22, 2008, 2:04 pm

Have you heard the latest archiological news?

After having dug to a depth of 10 feet last year, New York
scientists found traces of a copper-wire system dating back 100
years, and they came to the conclusion that their ancestors already
had a telephone network more than 100 years ago.

Not to be outdone by New Yorkers, in the weeks that followed,
California scientists dug to a depth of 20 feet, and shortly after,
headlines in the LA Times newspaper read: ‘ California archaeologists have found traces of 200 year old copper-wire systemand have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network a hundred years earlier than the New Yorkers.’

One week later, ‘The Redneck Rebel Gazette’ in Kentucky, reported
the following:
After digging as deep as 30 feet in a corn field, Bubba Ray Johnson, a self-taught archaeologist, reported that he found absolutely nothing.
Bubba has therefore concluded that 300 years ago, Kentucky had already gone wireless.

 


Comment from Allen
Time: August 22, 2008, 4:46 pm

LK, I understand you’re a fan of Neal Stephenson. I’ve been re-reading The System of the World. Found an appropriate line: “Roger, with his stoat-like instinct for dark, seething, infested places…”

Stoaty, that’s just what we need: dark, seething, internet places.

 


Comment from Scubafreak
Time: August 22, 2008, 5:01 pm

Allen: I thought they called them Porn Sites….

 


Pingback from No Runny Eggs » Blog Archive » The Morni…er, Afternoon Scramble – 8/22/2008
Time: August 22, 2008, 5:01 pm

[…] S. Weasel charts the effectiveness of negative campaigning. […]

 


Comment from Allen
Time: August 22, 2008, 5:16 pm

Scuba, porn? Pshaw… Here’s one that makes you kind of go hmmm, or WTF?

http://www.vampirerave.com/

Then there are always the troofer sites to wander around in.

Fire! Steel! Not meltses!

 


Comment from Scubafreak
Time: August 22, 2008, 6:22 pm

Allen: LOLOL

Gomez Addams – “Knives… Chains… Hooks… Red hot pokers…….”

Morticia Addams – “Later dear…..”

 


Comment from Michael Ramses
Time: January 23, 2009, 1:06 pm

All politics is negative. The whole point is to win. You win by making yourself look better than your opponent.

 


Pingback from Dreams | Moviegique
Time: October 10, 2015, 9:24 pm

[…] now she has a flow chart explaining the basics of negative attacks, an essay on the dangers of speaking “desperate […]

 

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