(1) No Democrat wins a statewide race in Georgia by lashing himself to the national party; & (2) Forgetting what brung you to the dance.
I have just wagered $50 on Chambliss to win the Dec. 2 runoff election.
I emailed my friend:
If you lose your $50 wager, I am good for half of it, and winnings need not be shared. I would not bet my wife, kids and grandkids on the outcome, but I would bet my own life. Good column.
Bill Shipp's weekend column has my identical thoughts about the ads that were run by and for Martin following the rather close general election:
A look back at the four-week runoff campaign shows that it mattered less what Chambliss did than what Martin did to himself. Leading up to Nov. 4, Martin ran an effective advertising campaign that repeatedly reminded Georgians of the troubles brought on by what he called "Saxby Economics," and also reminded them that he opposed the $700 billion Bush administration bailout of Wall Street, which Chambliss supported.
Strangely, once the runoff started, Martin seemed to forget everything that got him there. Instead of sticking with his effective economic message and contrasting his opposition to the bailout with Chambliss' support, he and the Washington crew who took over his campaign decided that tying Martin closely to President-elect Barack Obama was the way to go.
While they seemed to argue that Martin would help Obama on economic matters and Chambliss would obstruct him, all that voters figured out was that Martin was touting his desire to be a rubber stamp for Obama (who, by the way, lost Georgia this year, a fact the Martin operation ignored).
While it is understandable that national operatives who made a drive-through runoff appearance in the Peach State would fail to understand the campaign's circumstance, Martin has been in Georgia politics long enough to know that since Lyndon Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, no Democrat has won a statewide race by lashing himself to his national party. Georgia is changing, and likely now moving in the Democrats' direction, but it still is a conservative place that has shown no interest in electing U.S. senators who promise to do national Democrats' bidding.
It was clear from the two candidates' competing ads that one of the campaigns had made a serious strategic error. On television you would see an ad from Chambliss or any of a number of conservative groups saying Martin would go to Washington to be a rubber stamp for Obama and Democratic congressional leaders. In the next commercial break, there would be Martin, using his own money to run an ad saying he was going to go to Washington to be a rubber stamp for Obama and Democratic congressional leaders.
Even a rudimentary knowledge of Georgia's political history made it obvious which side was miscalculating, and the results of the runoff voting confirm it.
It was obvious as soon as the statistics from early voting were available that Martin's strategy of announcing to the world his loyalty to the new president was not only failing to generate elevated turnout by Democrats, but was in fact spurring angry and frightened Republicans to vote in their last chance to "stop Obama." Martin kept right on going, however, and even appeared at the Capitol on runoff eve with three controversial Atlanta rappers (one of whom currently is serving a sentence on federal weapons charges) to drive home his point.