Opposition Research

As a political consultant, I cannot stress enough that you should do opposition research. You need to find out all of the dirt on your opponent in his personal and professional life. Granted, you most likely will never use the information, but you need to know it.

Of all the campaigns I have worked on, the least successful ones were those where no oppo research was done. In fact, in one campaign, my guy lost the primary only to have his opponent destroyed by a lefty who got hold of public records showing the Republican nominee had tried to pull favors for convicted felons while in a government job. Not good. Had my guy budgeted the resources, he would have used that to cruch the opponent.

Similarly, a good campaign will dig up all the dirt on the campaign’s candidate. You need to know what the other side can dig up and prepare a plan to counteract it. For example, if your guy use to whore around and drink a lot, you will want your guy to talk a lot about his “youthful inexperience” and how he “grew up and matured.” Sound familiar? Think GWB.

This is why I think Kerry should sue Cahill and Shrum for malpractice. Kerry built his campaign on his Vietnam service to, as others have said, contrast with Bush’s lack of Vietnam service. Kerry could have easily foreseen that other veterans, resentful of his post-Vietnam accusations, would come forward and attack. Yet, Kerry’s campaign seems to have no plan of counterattack or defense. They had to run to the media and have the media shield Kerry. When the shield collapsed, Kerry lobbed a few bombs toward Bush and the Swifties, but all were deflected as fast as Kerry kept changing stories.

The first rule of any campaign should be to have a written plan and have a contingency plan in the event of known possible (not just probable) attacks. Kerry’s campaign has clearly failed to either have that contingency plan or have a credible, easily implementable campaign contingency plan.

Good for the Republicans.

As the Note said yesterday, to paraphrase, if the Kerry campaign doesn’t have a plan to deal with 250 veterans, what will a Kerry administration look like. My guess — incompetent.

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Erick Erickson

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