Politics 101: It’s The Echo, Not The Shot

I have no candidate in the special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, so the advice I’m offering is free, and that’s probably exactly what it’s worth. Even worthless, though, it’s still qualitatively better advice than whoever thought it would be smart to try to tag Jon Ossoff with some semi-embarrassing video footage of him dressing up as Star Wars characters and singing. It was college, and as I have had to explain to more than a few candidates in my time of giving out political advice, “College don’t count.”

So there’s some cringeworthy footage of a shirtless college kid acting like a dork? And you want to spend $1 million boosting his name ID with it? Hey, NRCC, 2016 called and said it’s going to grab you by the p***y. How much would THAT be worth?  

The general idea here is not completely without merit -to jump out of the pack that is not Karen Handel, some currently unknown Republican candidate has to punch media darling Jon Ossoff right in the mouth. (Figuratively, of course.) Heck, it wouldn’t be a bad strategy for a Democrat to try, either, unless Ron Slotin is happy as an also-ran asterisk in the Democratic history book. Ossoff’s experience and residence are what we in the business call fair game. Does he live in the 6th district? No. And before you lecture me on the lack of any requirement that congressmen in Georgia actually reside in the districts they represent, remember that every time you say that about Jon Ossoff, you will be reminding the voters in 6th District that he does not live near them and he is not one of them. Think:

The effective political tactic is not about the accuracy or the fairness of the accusation, but about what it leaves in the public’s collective mind. It’s not the sound of the shot that lingers, but the echo.

So, you want to tag Jon Ossoff with something? He works for Al Jazeera.He produces documentaries about ISIS for Al Jazeera. What’s that you say? Al Jazeera is a legitimate news organization that broadcasts legitimate investigative journalism? Why that sounds like something that Jon Ossoff, the favorite child of every political reporter in Georgia, should be bragging about on his website. But guess what currently DOESN’T appear anywhere on ElectJon.com? That’s right, “Al Jazeera.”  

So if it’s important enough that he’s trying to hide it, do you think it might be worth mentioning to the voters of the 6th district? If he doesn’t want that information out there, there’s probably a good reason, and you’d think at least one of my fellow consultants for the dozen Republicans in that contest would know that.

Maybe there’s a good reason to make Ossoff the Democratic choice in the runoff. Maybe the rocket scientists at the NRCC WANT the media’s most-favored-candidate to make the runoff, so they can spring the Al Jazeera trap on him then. If that’s the plan, then there’s ZERO advantage in waiting. April 18 is a long way off, and let’s face it, Ossoff is preferable to at least a few of the other candidates in that race, party affiliation notwithstanding.

The Democratic operatives with bylines may be treating him like the second coming of John Kennedy, but Jon Ossoff is vulnerable to the first candidate is willing to be tough on him by using Democratic tactics. It was Lyndon Johnson who supposedly said, “I know it’s not true, I just want to hear the SOB deny it.” Well in this case, the accusation actually is true, and the political advantage will go to whoever makes Jon Ossoff explain it.

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J KaineScottNAtlantaNoway2016BenevolusTheresa Robertson Recent comment authors
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Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

Your advice has value Mike, but your remark reminded me of a Mark Twain quote, “He charged nothing for his preaching, and it was worth it too.”

xdog
xdog

I thought the ad was stupid too, but is getting Ossoff to deny he worked with ISIS any smarter?

I guess it would be crazy for a candidate who wants to build his name for a run-off with Handel to actually, you know, take a shot at Handel. Too direct or something.

Theresa Garcia Robertson
Theresa Garcia Robertson

Yes. Thank you.

Benevolus
Benevolus

Well if you can’t beat ’em on the merits, smear ’em with innuendo!

Win at all costs, that’s the only thing that matters, right?

Noway2016
Noway2016

Yeah, 100% correct! Like the Dem’s daily wailing about a non-existent Russia “scandal.”

Benevolus
Benevolus

It’s not really a bad thing, it just can be made to sound bad.
Again creating fear where none should exist.

Hopefully a decent campaign would have an effective rebuttal.

Noway2016
Noway2016

Andrew…can you slide that box of tissues over here?

Noway2016
Noway2016

Zzzzzzz…To quote Steve Perry, “Don’t Stop Believin'” It’s all you people have.

ScottNAtlanta
ScottNAtlanta

If he doesnt win outright on the first ballot, it will be pretty much moot. I dont think he will win in a runoff unless the other candidate really screws up.

J Kaine
J Kaine

The Ossoff attack ad is nothing but silly. It tells Democrats that Republicans are nervous about this guy; a great way to encourage Democrats to come out and vote in a special election where they typically don’t show. I noticed that the person behind the video was a former Karen Handel staffer. I wouldn’t put it past the Handel campaign that they are doing everything possible to ensure it’s a Handel-Ossoff runoff. By giving Ossoff more free media and attention, it will ensure that he will make it into the runoff. Handel lacks the support and fundraising to go head… Read more »

ScottNAtlanta
ScottNAtlanta

Now, if Ossoff wanted to run an ad, Charles Gaba (who is an expert on the exchanges) released district by district data as to how many people would lose coverage with RyanCare. For Georgia it would be just north of 350,000…for the 6th district, just north of 30,000 people will lose coverage. Now, there’s an ad in those numbers waiting to be made