To win in 2016, PACs must go negative on Hillary starting in March
When Hillary formally clinches the nomination in February, she’ll have the luxury of watching the Republican field fighting it out, conceivably all the way to the Convention in July. This will be a critical period in the campaign. In 1996 and 2012, the Democrats used this time to fatally weaken Dole and Romney.
Dick Morris used the spring of 1996 to launch a massive negative ad campaign against Dole. The ads were cheap, since they were in states where no other political ads were being run. They were effective, especially since they were un-rebutted. And they were stealthy, since they were placed in tightly targeted cable TV buys. By the time Dole realized what was being done to him, it was too late. He entered the fall campaign as damaged goods and was never able to recover.
Obama used the same strategy against Romney. In the key swing states, such as Ohio, ads in the spring of 2012 excoriating Romney for predatory business practices at Bain Capital were so effective that the working-class whites whose votes Romney needed didn’t bother to turn out in November. Romney did not have the resources to counteract these attacks, and they doomed his candidacy.
Needless to say, Hillary is vulnerable to such attacks. No Republican candidate or affiliated super-PAC, now or in the foreseeable future, will be in a position to launch them. This is wet work, and the RNC won’t do it. As in 2004, with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, this job is best done by ad hoc PACs designed solely for this purpose. We can expect to see political entrepreneurs forming such organizations in the near future. If you want to influence this election, this is where you want to put your money, if you want a bang for your buck.
The subject matter of these ads will be limited only by the imagination and talent of those who make them. An ad showing Hillary consoling the parents of the Benghazi heroes, lying through her teeth about the video causing the tragedy, would be an obvious choice. An ad describing the chaos her Libya policy wreaked on that unfortunate country would work. And certainly the public needs to learn all about the family criminal enterprise known as the Clinton Foundation. It’s a target-rich environment.
I would add a reminder of days gone by. I’d have Paula Jones tell her story – directly to the American people. I’d have her describe working as a receptionist at a Little Rock hotel in 1991, when Arkansas state troopers asked her to accompany them to Governor Bill Clinton’s suite. There the governor dropped his trousers and asked her for oral sex. Three years later, she sued then President Clinton for sexual harassment, eventually agreeing to settle for a payment of $850,000 from him. During the course of the litigation, when questioned about a young White House intern from whom he was receiving oral sex in the Oval Office, Bill Clinton committed perjury. For this he was disbarred by the Arkansas Bar Association and impeached by the House of Representatives.
And then I’d have Paula talk about Hillary’s role as the chief enabler of this serial sexual predator. How she waged an actual war, against actual women, who had been abused by her husband and thus had to be discredited as trailer trash to protect his reputation and her political viability.
To the young women who know very little about Hillary, this story would be a revelation. Who was the “feminist” in this episode: the woman who almost took down a president for sexually harassing vulnerable young women, or the perp’s wife, his defender and accomplice?
Paula’s a stay-at-home mom now, and she’s perfectly willing to share her story. It’s a story many of the American people, especially Millennials, have not heard.
Let’s help her tell it.
Fritz Pettyjohn is a former Alaska state legislator and a co-founder of the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force. He blogs at ReaganProject.com.