Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Why the Democrats aren’t catching on.

Because you can’t beat something with nothing. It’s that simple.

I understand that this is politics. I understand that Mitch Daniels is the incumbent. I understand that Democrats must give people a reason to vote differently than they did in 2004.

But “I hate Mitch Daniels” isn’t enough.

It reminds me of the first lesson I learned from the first candidate I ever worked for. State Representative P. Eric Turner taught me that the most dangerous (and most easy) trap for candidates and campaigns to walk into was what I call the “echo chamber” trap. You fall into this trap easily because, in general, people tell candidates what they want to hear.

He told a story about his first State Rep campaign- as a Democrat (for those of you who don’t know, Turner was one of those folks won over to the Repubs by Reagan). He stood outside the most Republican precinct in the district on Election Day shaking hands. Nearly everyone was telling him that they supported him and were voting for him. He told me how he remembered thinking that he must be winning big if even the Republicans were voting for him in large numbers. At 6PM, however, he learned that he lost the precinct, earning only a small percentage of the vote.

Lesson: When you are a candidate, people tell you what they think you want to hear.

That’s the Indiana Democrat Party’s problem. They hate Mitch Daniels and share their hate with each other. Therefore they think everyone hates Mitch Daniels. It’s been their tune since he was elected. Party Chairman Dan Parker seems only to stick his head out of party headquarters when criticizing Governor Daniels. Communications Director Jen Wagner does the same through the Party’s blog, Taking Down Words.

Now I understand that some people have a beef with Mitch. I’ve disagreed with him from time to time. But the Democrats are wrong if they think that Indiana shares their hate for all things green.

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