In any campaign in which I have input my advice is to preempt the negatives.
If a candidate has something that can be attacked, it is better to frame the issue oneself than to allow one’s opponent to do so.
And, if one is too timid to follow that advice, then one should be ready to immediately reply.
When the first Personal PAC television hit ads attacking 2010 GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady were put up the week of the Family PAC Cruise in Chicago, I suggested to Bill that he should reply in kind.
Point out how radical Pat Quinn’s policy on abortion was.
But, no, Brady took the pinata approach.
“Hit me again.
“Oh, I like it.
“It feels so good.
“Please inflict more damage.”
That seemed to be the reaction of Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady on the abortion issue in 2010.
When I made my suggestion, Bill told me his poll results had gone up right after the TV ads were run.
And, he probably was following the advice of highly paid Establishment Republican consultants who advise just ignoring the abortion issue except to tell Pro-Lifers that one is Pro-Life.
That’s the standard line, both nationally and from state GOP leaders.
But, the Personal PAC beat went on, pounding out its “he’s an extremist” message and, cumulatively, I believe their ads and mailings were the reason that Brady lost his quest to be Illinois Governor.
In other words, the advice from the “experts” wasn’t so expert.
David McSweeney’s campaign handlers knew attacks on abortion from Personal PAC were coming.
After all, Terry Cosgrove encouraged Dee Beaubien to run. She’s an activist in their network.
And abortion is THE motivating issue for Dee Beaubien’s candidacy.
The only surprise was that Mike Madigan’s money financed abortion hit pieces before Personal PAC opened its pocketbook.
We are now over three weeks later and there has been no reply form the McSweeney camp.
On September 30th, a second abortion attack came from Madigan’s Illinois Democratic Party.
On the back of it–in big type–was the message,
“David McSweeney isn’t a doctor, but he wants to play one in Springfield.”
Then, four days later, comes a third Democratic Party post card, the first Personal PAC mailing, TV ads, plus radio spots aimed at their interpretation of McSweeney’s abortion position.
OK. The chance to frame the issue has been missed.
All that is left is a counterattack.
Candidate Tom Morrison put something out on abortion in his successful fight to beat Suzi Bassi in the Palatine-area Republican primary election two years ago.
Something like his comparison piece might help McSweeney, but I doubt it will turn the tide of public opinion on McSweeney’s abortion position as defined by the Democratic Party and Personal PAC.
McSweeney will definitely be playing defense on this issue he failed to inoculate himself on for the rest of the election.
Will he be able to pull off the fall election?
If he doesn’t take this on this abortion issue head on, even in this Republican district I have my doubts.