I just read the coverage here and in the Dispatch over Lee Fisher’s aborted attempt to seek the endorsement of the Ohio Democratic Party Executive Committee.? And I am utterly amazed at the complete inability of the Fisher campaign to turn lemons in lemonade.
As Anastasia noted in the comments yesterday, the letter that Fisher sent to the Ohio Democratic Party was condescending and boastful at a time in which Fisher needed to show some humility and grace.? Fisher needs to watch some movies set in feudal Japan or China.? Then he’d learn how people conduct a political “face saving” ceremony properly.? You don’t get drunk on sake, accidentally piss all over the emperor’s bed, and then apologize by talking about how big your penis is.
And as if the Fisher’s campaign is deliberating engaging on a strategy on “how can we make this primary as competitive as we can against Brunner despite all the competitive advantages we have”, Lee Fisher’s campaign spokesman goes out of his way to insult our intelligence and worth to the campaign.
Fisher campaign spokesman John Collins said Fisher’s decision was not based on Brunner’s opposition, and that Fisher’s previous letter was merely a procedural move to preserve the option of seeking the party endorsement.
Yes, of course, Lee Fisher just happen to send a letter the ODP Executive Committee less than a week before the only scheduled meeting of the Committee before the primary election because he wanted to preserve the option of seeking a party endorsement, something that he just randomly decided over the weekend that he no longer wanted to preserve.
Maybe Lee Fisher’s campaign spokesman could then explain why the Fisher campaign refused to comment at all, to either the media or to any progressive blog, to even just confirm that they’ve sent such a letter.? Maybe he could cite me what language in that letter suggests anything other than an unequivocal request that the Executive Committee endorse Fisher.? Show us the letter where Lee said he just wanted to preserve the right he just days later waives forever.
On the same day that Fisher himself tells the Executive Committee he’s withdrawing his request for an endorsement (again, no mention in the SECOND letter that he was just “preserving” the option) “for the sake of party unity,” Fisher’s spokesman John Collins then spits in the face of the grassroots Democrats by publicly denying the 70,000 emails against Fisher’s endorsement request had nothing to do with the decision.
Having first spit in our face by even trying to push the endorsement, Fisher’s campaign then spits in our face by denying our opposition had anything to do with Fisher backing off.? This is not a tactic found in “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”?? Nor is it a smart tactic days away from early voting when you are not polling a significant lead in a head-to-head primary matchup.
The last Quinnpiac poll, the only publicly released poll on the Senate primary head-to-head, shows Fisher with a nine-point lead, but not even breaking 30% among registered Democratic voters against Brunner.
Lee Fisher has spent MILLIONS and been campaigning virtually non-stop for over a year to get a few weeks from the primary with nearly half of registered Democrats still undecided in the race.? That is an unprecedented case of campaign malpractice I’ve ever seen or imagined.? The fact that this is not included in every media observation of this race is journalistic malpractice.? Despite the endorsement of the Governor, the support of much of the Ohio Democratic Party power structure and its institutional allies, the Senate Majority Leader, the open support of the DSCC, and millions of dollars more than his primary opponent, the polling in this race is not much different than it was from Day One… both candidates are polling under 30– and near half the Democratic electorate is still up for grabs.
Lee Fisher is polling worse than Joel Hyatt was during the 1994 contested Democratic primary against Mary Boyle.? Hyatt, a political newcomer, was already polling near forty percent and only had half the number of undecideds as Fisher, a well-known and experienced statewide candidate, is risking.? Brunner is still very much in this ballgame because Lee Fisher cannot close the deal.
That is what made Lee’s politically tone deaf attempt to get the ODP endorsement so maddening … for Lee’s supporters!? Right when he needs to be closing the deal and ensuring that he does so without creating a major rift in the party he’d have to heal before concentrating on the general election, Lee panicked over polling and considered the nuclear option and engaging in intra-party brinkmanship.? He blinked and caved to Brunner and the grassroots.
The more Fisher’s campaign struggles against the perception; the more they reinforce it. Fisher didn’t drop his endorsement request for altruistic reasons; he did it because someone showed him that the political calculus lead to the inescapable conclusion that the political prize of an ODP endorsement wasn’t worth the political price.
After spending much of the last few months publicly signaling that he was looking past Brunner and the primary, last week’s aborted attempt by Fisher stuck out like a sore thumb.? Fisher’s sudden and noisy reversal and the conflicted messaging coming out of the campaign in the process, shows a campaign that’s in panic.
Back in January, I and Tim wrote that the fact that the ODP Executive Committee had made no movement to endorse prior to the filing deadline meant that it “suggested one is likely never to occur.”? Last week, Anthony at Ohio Daily Blog mischaracterized what I wrote in January by claiming I said that there would never be any attempt by the Fisher campaign to seek an endorsement later.? Instead, what I actually wrote back in January was that any post-filing attempt for an endorsement would be met by more resistance within the Executive Committee itself that would render any attempt highly unlikely to succeed.? And that’s precisely what happened.? Despite likely having the votes (most of the people in the Executive Committee are folks who have a long history with Lee Fisher), both the major donor base and the grassroots base objected on the grounds that it was nonsense to issue an endorsement this late in the game.
A lot of Fisher supporters also have told me in the past year, especially since the 2Q FEC reports, that I’m absolutely crazy to believe that Jennifer Brunner is going to overcome Lee Fisher’s advantages. And, to be completely honest, Tim has had to privately talk me down a number of times over the past few months over my own concerns, but I’ve notice that those Fisher folks don’t seem to think I’m crazy anymore.? The bravado and swagger is gone.? And there is a real sense of nervousness, panic, and foreboding sense of impending doom.
But, if I were a Fisher supporter, I wouldn’t worry.? After all, nobody reads blogs.
Just ask Jennifer Garrison.