Saturday, November 21, 2015


The Wall Street Journal and Politico report that GOP forces are coming after Donald Trump. Oh, I bet he's just trembling in fear.

From the Politico story:
John Kasich has attacked Donald Trump relentlessly in debates and now his super PAC is planning to invest $2.5 million in the most aggressive takedown of the poll leader yet -- on behalf of an increasingly anxious GOP establishment.

The attack, according to a blueprint shared with POLITICO, will play out over the next two months on radio, TV, mail and online in New Hampshire. Strategists with the pro-Kasich group, called New Day for America, say the budget for the anti-Trump campaign is likely to grow.
Oh, wow -- John Kasich is planning to take Trump on! How can Trump possibly survive that onslaught?

Wait, it gets better. Do you know who the Kasich super PAC's adman is?
Fred Davis, the group’s colorful Hollywood-based ad-maker who is best-known for producing the “Demon Sheep” ad in the 2010 California Senate race, is working on a pair of anti-Trump TV ads.
Yup, possibly the worst political ad for a major-party candidate ever, in the service of Carly Fiorina's failed Senate campaign.

He's also the genius behind this 2010 ad:

The group’s first volley came Thursday, when it released an ad that pictured the billionaire side by side with President Barack Obama. “On the job training for president does not work,” says the ad, which invokes last week’s tragic Paris terrorist attacks. The group is currently spending about $600,000 to air the commercial, though David said more airtime is being purchased.
That would be this ad:

Wow, that's a real attack on Trump -- blink and you miss the split-second when he appears on the screen next to Obama. Following that, the ad has way too much Kasich. Yeah, I know it's a Kasich ad, but ... he's John Kasich. If you really want people to reconsider their support for Trump, you absolutely don't want to tell them their alternative is ... John Kasich.

The effort reported by the Journal has somewhat more promise:
The most concerted effort is Trump Card LLC, the self-styled guerrilla campaign being launched by Liz Mair, the former online communications director of the Republican National Committee....

Rick Wilson, a Republican media consultant, said in an interview that he is prepared to make ads for the new group.
Wilson made this ad, which ran in the 2014 midterms. I can see why voters might respond to it, though I have no idea if any voters actually did:

But this seems like a strategy for failure:
The group’s memo said it would be pitching opposition research to media in early-voting states, as well as radio and television ads and Web videos that attract media attention based on their “outrageousness and boundary-breaking or bizarre nature.”

One possible ad would link Mr. Trump’s views and style to his celebrity foe, Rosie O’Donnell, in hopes of provoking a reaction from Mr. Trump, according to the memo.
No. Trump is clearly impervious to opposition research. Early in his ascent, we learned about his evasion of military service in the Vietnam era and his apparent marital rape of his then-wife Ivana. Nothing stuck.

And you think you're going to get Trump by encouraging him to lash out at someone? That's playing to his strength. If you try to argue that he's actually like Rosie O'Donnell, he'll just lash out at her in an even uglier way -- to the delight of his fans, who despise her. And remember, his voters don't think such verbal assaults prove he's unfit to be president -- they think the assaults he's a brawler. They see Trump's beefs as evidence confirming his suitability to take on ISIS.

This might be somewhat effective:
Other possible tactics include fake pro-Trump ads that show him supporting socialized medicine, seizing property through eminent domain and taking other positions that stray from GOP orthodoxy; using a Trump impersonator to show him insulting people; and attacking his business record in “stark, nasty terms.”
If these ads look like pro-Trump ads, people might be momentarily fooled. But Trump's past support for positions the GOP regards as heretical hasn't hurt him yet, and probably never will.

To understand why, think about Ben Carson. He goes to a lot of trouble to describe himself as a former bad kid who was saved by Jesus. Conservatives Christians love the conversion narrative. Secular conservatives love conversion narratives, too -- remember, Saint Ronald Reagan was a convert to the GOP, a fact he loved to weaponize, to his admirers' delight:
"Mr. President, in talking about the continuing recession tonight, you have blamed mistakes of the past and you've blamed the Congress. Does any of the blame belong to you?" asked ABC White House Correspondent Sam Donaldson.

"Yes, because for many years I was a Democrat," replied Mr. Reagan.
Trump might stumble eventually, though I think he's a strong favorite to win the nomination. But if he does tumble, he'll be taken down by someone who out-demagogues him -- maybe Ted Cruz. He won't be undone by political hacks.


Charon04 said...

Kasich's head is always tilted forward. Osteoporosis, maybe?

Victor said...

Either that, or he's making it more obvious that all conservatives have their heads up their asses!

Unknown said...

Whatever, the consensus here is, I think, more broadly represented in the electorate: that Kasich has turned into an old man.

GOPers ain't about to waste attention, money or votes on someone who's lost that obligatory boot-blacked hair, balls-clanging vigor. I've felt more than once that the NYTimes 'sexpose' on Old Man McGetoffmylawn early in 2008 was a plant by the McCain campaign: Hey look, he not only dumped that first old sad sack for a rich skinny bint, he's dry humping the campaign press corp! Talk about Can Still Git It On!

I agree unreservedly with Steve M. that there's no one in the GOP ad-service class that's both up to coming up with something that could dump Trump from the hearts of the moronic Reagan-salivating bigoted chicken lemmings in the TeaPstered, Freedumbiest Base, AND is currently available to any of the lesser monied contestants. Neither Cruz nor Rubio would hire any one of them. Jeb! might, but Jeb's dead. Carson could, but that massive burn rate's got zilch to do with building a GOTV operation or working for high-leverage delegates, and Trump - with a lot of msm help he didn't have to pay for beyond staging some pantomimes - has already choked out Ben's shot, to the extent he really ever wanted or had one.

I don't foresee EITHER Cruz or Rubio doing anything overtly public about Trump's lead in the polls. Anyone who's read any of many media pieces portraying Rubio's time in the Florida state legislature knows that's not his way: he works the system from the inside, starting with teaming up with the refs, then compromising his potential opposition.

I've maintained that a big chunk of Cruz's advantage comes from him not actually having to win this cycle. Cruz can afford to lose this primary, do his impression of Nixon 1964-8 in 'selflessly working for fellow GOPers & to improve the party' (Cruz would just take over the RNC, as Walker somehow did with installing his butler Reince Priebus.), trust to the general electorate to choose HRC, spend the next 3 years promoting re-enactment of the same disasters the Congressional GOP has visited on the country since 2010, then waltz into the next cycle as the guy whose Turn It Is ... AND the first-ever Hispanic president. That long-term plan REQUIRES Cruz forego bashing fellow GOPers, in public or directly at least (which he's already said, REPEATEDLY, in invoking Dutch's Rule).

If Cruz wins it this cycle, it'll be because a confluence of events, each of which isn't really impossible or all that remote, some of which might even be probable, but that in coincidence are unlikely.

Cruz can't & won't even try to beat Trump on the trail. He'll certainly work to beat or at least materially suppress Rubio's advantages in the GOP insider game, and he's got the brains & money & organizational capacity to put a serious dent in Rubio's in-party status (Cruz is the biggest beneficiary of exactly how awful Jeb! has been at this, because old rich white guys who would otherwise head to Bush are splitting between Cruz & Rubio, even then I think in Cruz' favor.).

A dent may be all Cruz needs against Rubio, because whatever happens with Trump will happen regardless anything Cruz does, or the GOP establishment so long as it remains divided. Cruz needs to beat Rubio - which he's already doing - then with Trump it's que sera sera.

Victor said...

That line about Reince being Walker's butler is one for the commenting Hall Of Fame!

Professor Chaos said...

After producing the demon sheep ad, I can't believe this guy would ever get hired by anyone again.