Elections are the talk of the internets today; but since it’s too late for new messages and polls haven’t closed yet, everything before about 8:00 p.m. EDT tonight is really just mindless chatter.
Water cooler talk this morning seems to center around the Republican chances for taking the Senate, and that inevitably turns to the campaign of Christine O’Donnell in Delaware – and you really can’t have that discussion without talking about the now-famous “I’m not a witch” ad:
Despite the criticism and ridicule O’Donnell received for this ad, the message was pretty appropriate. With national Democrats and media outlets lambasting her past television appearances and outspoken commentary on morality issues, O’Donnell was in danger of being defined by the environment not only as an extreme candidate, but as a truly bizarre person. So she targeted the infamous clip that was circulating where she talks about her dalliances with witchcraft and tried to shift focus on the “real issues” of the campaign.
The problem wasn’t in this message, but in her very serious, isn’t-this-election-just-the-most-important-thing-in-human-history tone. Michael Steele did a pretty good job of this in his 2006 bid for a Maryland Senate seat:
The line from Steele’s ad that had everyone talking? “By the way, I love puppies.” It’s silly, but positive (and certainly not defensive, like “I’m not a witch”). Steele went up to Delaware to help O’Donnell campaign, but maybe he should have had a discussion about diffusing negative ads.
Watch the clip: Race was actually brought into the discussion as part of a viewer question, which Steele answered honestly – and, to be fair, correctly.
Maybe Steele should have been a little clearer on the fact that he was speaking broadly about the fact that, although we have come pretty far in this country, black people still get the crap end of the stick more than they should. He did bring it up as a bipartisan issue.
But his out-of-context quote has been framed to sound like an excuse and repeated over and over. Any person who wrote a headline – or worse, a story – that implied that Steele was hiding behind race for the recent RNC scandal is either a political hack or a bad journalist. (And ABC’s own site, which claimed Steele “played the race card today,” is no better.)