"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Hulshof vs Steelman; Old School vs. New School?

June 17th, 2008 by jjjameson · No Comments

The Hulshof campaign — or, as some like to call it, the Second Coming of the Fred Thompson Campaign — is doing its best to respond to the Viagra vote, but not getting much traction. Which is not surprising. So far the Hulshof campaign has had trouble gaining traction in virtually every respect. The campaign has been playing follow-the-leader from week to week, struggling to keep up with what appears to be a creative and energetic Steelman camp that has its eyes on a prize.

In many ways, this primary is about the old school vs. the new school. The Hulshof campaign is full of old GOP names like Hancock and (Andy) Blunt. And it has made quite a bit of racket about the endorsements of officials like Kit Bond. The Steelman Campaign, on the other hand, is headed by younger operatives who have made their name in politics in the last half-decade or so (Roe and Harris). These younger operatives are eschewing the typical contemporary GOP playbook and opting for a playbook that looks more like Roger Stone and Lee Atwater. It is an anti-establishment campaign that depends on innovation rather than convention — like yesterday’s endorsement of ordinary citizens, for instance, and the use of a gun shop on her son’s birthday. A major part of the strategy apparently also involves the frequent use of negative ads to define Hulshof, a conventional tactic offset by the unconventional practice of deploying the ads quickly and cheaply.

And this New School approach seems to be working, in that Hulshof has been defined as a thoroughgoing Washington insider. The media and public perception appear to be lining up behind Steelman. In turn, the Hulshof campaign has tried a number of strategies to slow the growing perception that Steelman is mopping the floor with her opponent. First, the campaign lined up Kit Bond and the Missouri Chamber to endorse. That news didn’t make it out of the beltway. Then the campaign tried releasing an internal poll showing a massive lead over Steelman. But, as many Jeff City insiders noted, that particular pollster is considered unreliable by a number of experienced operatives. Word on the street is that Roy Blunt’s endorsement will be rolled out in the coming days, and we would not be surprised to see Matt Blunt endorse Kenny as well. But this seems to be analogous to using conventional war tactics during an unconventional war. It won’t work, and it will fuel the chatter that Hulshof’s side is out of ideas.

Steelman’s campaign may be proving that she really does have the “guts” she promotes in one of her ads. Hulshof, on the other hand, is living up to the Fed Thompson label. At the end of the day, ordinary Missourians must ask themselves if they would rather be led by someone who has the determination and innovation it takes to win a tough primary, or if they would rather be led by someone who is steered by tired politicos and always playing follow-the-leader. Which is exactly how the New School team framed the primary.

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Tags: Decision '08 · Jeff Roe · Rep. Kenny Hulshof · Sarah Steelman

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  • 1 bud // Jun 18, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Is that why Kenny is getting more supporters showing up to events, pulling in more money (bar the Steelman loan), and throughly out working the tramp

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