Chapman’s News & Ideas The Spectacle of a Political Committee Pulling its Campaign Spots

The very public decision of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to pulls its TV ads in Kentucky in support of Democrat Alice Lundergran Grimes’ campaign–because they now expect her to lose–is an example of the increasingly callous abuse of parties and candidates by pollsters and consultants. It stimulates the “horse race” coverage of elections and demoralizes the party faithful. And the cynical spectacle is not only limited to Kentucky.

Publicly pulling a fund-raising group’s financial support is also a cruel trick to play on candidates. Various political operatives help persuade a candidate to run, then feel no embarrassment later for undercutting the candidate publicly in the often-crucial weeks of a campaign. The candidate not only loses monetary backing, but he or she also is damaged by the “loser” label applied in the media by erstwhile friends.

Alice Lundergran Grimes is a good example. She is no match for the experience and political acumen of Sen. Mitch McConnell, whom she seeks to replace. But she also seems to have a surplus of humility in the presence of campaign consultants who no doubt have told her not to mention whom she voted for in the presidential races of 2008 and 2012. Several other candidates on the Democratic ticket nationally are taking the same strange stand and you can almost hear their advisors insisting that such a position is necessary in a country where President Obama is increasingly unpopular. Surely someone with common sense–including the candidates themselves–would have figured out that the ploy would backfire and that voters would decide that someone who refused to answer such an obvious question is not ready for the big time.

So taking such bad advice hurts the candidate. Then the fundraising pros take the money away–because the candidate is weaker now.

So it goes with the “middlemen” of politics, the consultants, professional fund raisers and pollsters. They won’t risk their own careers in a race for office, but are all too willing to mistreat those who do.