Thursday, April 12, 2018


CNN reports on the Republican National Committee's effort to spin the forthcoming James Comey memoir -- which doesn't seem very smart to me:
The battle plan against Comey, obtained by CNN, calls for branding the nation's former top law enforcement official as "Lyin' Comey" through a website, digital advertising and talking points to be sent to Republicans across the country before his memoir is released next week. The White House signed off on the plan, which is being overseen by the Republican National Committee.

"Comey is a liar and a leaker and his misconduct led both Republicans and Democrats to call for his firing," Republican chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement to CNN.
The RNC doesn't seem to understand which voters it's targeting or what will appeal to them. First, not only is "Lyin' Comey" this effort's brand, but the site is The phrase, obviously, is like something from a Trump tweet -- and even many Trump fans don't particularly like his tweeting, while people on the left and center find it appalling.

So right away this alienates all but the most rabid deplorables. However, the first thing you see on the home page is a rotating series of quotes from Democrats -- Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Hillary Clinton -- criticizing Comey.

So ... the site is aimed at Democrats? But the quoted Democrats seem to have been chosen not for the high level of respect they have among Democratic voters, or among non-Republican voters. These aren't the four most admired Dems in America. They seem to have been chosen because they're the Democrats most hated by Republicans.

And a second or two after you hit this page with quotes from Democrats, you get this pop-up:

So the site is aimed at Republicans? In that case, why rotate through a series of quotes from Democrats, especially Democrats who are particularly hated by Republicans?

Is it because you want Republicans telling Democrats at backyard barbecues that their politicians are hypocrites? Politically engaged Democrats already have complex feelings about Comey -- we think he reprehensibly helped sink Clinton's campaign, then we think he was canned by Trump for trying to do the responsible thing. So why should we care if Democrats attacked him once? None of those Democrats would deny it. We're all capable of having more than one thought about Comey at the same time. We disapprove of some of his actions and not others.

And what will voters in the middle think? They'll think that of course Democrats were angry at Comey when he hurt their candidate and of course we're not angry when he's targeting the other side. That's politics.

Comey has undoubtedly worked hard on an explanation of why he believes he did the right thing with respect to both Clinton and Trump. I'm sure he'll persuade a few people, especially people with no strong loyalties to either party.

This site? It won't persuade anyone. But at least the RNC can tell Trump it's trying.

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