Democrats have worked overtime attempting to paint Tea Party-backed candidates as politically extreme, personally nutty, or both. But in most cases it doesn't appear to be working, and it's even backfired in Kentucky's Senate race, a Newsweek writer admitted yesterday.
Indeed, in the Bluegrass State, the smear ads Jack Conway (D-Ky.) ran against Rand Paul regarding an allegation of a hazing incident from Paul's college days has boosted his lead in the polls, Newsweek's Ben Adler noted in an election eve The Gaggle blog post, drawing a conclusion for Democrats for the presidential contest two years from now:
Perhaps the lesson for liberals here, which may also apply to the gaffe-prone Sharron Angle's likely success in Nevada, is that pointing out your opponents' flaws is insufficient in a time of economic woe, no matter how big those flaws may be. A more effective approach, per James Carville and Stan Greenberg, might be making a compelling case that you have a viable plan to improve the economy and your opponent does not. Republican neophytes with far-right-wing views and high negative ratings are poised to win across the country. (Joe Miller in Alaska is another example.) President Obama's team would be wise to consider which strategies worked, and which didn't, if he faces Sarah Palin in two years.