Saturday, September 20, 2008

Why the McCain Campaign Would Love for You to Donate to Planned Parenthood

John McCain would love for you to donate to Planned Parenthood. Well, kind of; only if you’re doing it because you’re a Barak Obama supporter. The scheme going around now of donating and having your thank you card sent to the McCain campaign office is clever, but it’s exactly what the Obama campaign would ask you not to do, if they could do so without opening the Senator up to accusations that he no longer supports Planned Parenthood.

This is a serious campaign, and Senator Obama says he would love to focus on the issues. These kinds of acts of petulance distract from a campaign’s message. Public opinion is a difficult thing to manage; that’s why smart people get paid of lot of money to steer it. Depending on whether the Planned Parenthood scheme takes off, and how big it could become, any or all of the following could take place.

First, it highlights a group of Barak Obama supporters who are acting immaturely in the
Senator’s name and cause. That’s a distraction the Obama campaign would rather not have to address, and the campaign would really rather avoid having to scold another group of supporters – they’ve had to do a lot of that.

Second, the Obama campaign would prefer to be the recipient of the $10 that the scheme recommends people donate. Because the scheme is primarily designed to embarrass John McCain rather than highlight the value of Barak Obama or even Planned Parenthood, the Obama campaign would be a wiser spender of those dollars, and probably use them more effectively to beat the Arizona senator in November.

Third, you’re giving the McCain campaign another tire pressure issue: “Obama would have you believe that money fixes American families, and that a liberal group knows how to run your family better than you do. This is another liberal elitist falsehood. Strong families are those that built on love and values and faith, not abortion clinic propaganda and condoms.” This leads us to:

Forth, talk about energizing the conservative base. While Barak Obama and his folowers may support Planned Parenthood, the voters that Sarah Palin has brought out do not, and the more you bate them, the more fervent they will be, and more enthusiasm will be generated for the Republican ticket. This leads us to:

Fifth, electoral math. Planned Parenthood had to pay $50,000 for violating Minnesota’s parent notification law in 2005. Currently, Senator Obama leads Senator McCain by 4% in that state, this down from 18% in July. A dispute similar to this one is still in process in Indiana, where McCain’s lead has halved in the last month. Not that this sort of thing guarantees a slide for Senator Obama in either of these two states, but they’re both battleground states, and you don’t want to bate the local conservatives.

Again, this scheme would have to get pretty big to be a catalyst to trigger any of these responses. But if even one of them does occur, chances are it will create more trouble than advantage.

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