BY: B. Keith Plunkett @Keithplunkett
A few days ago I challenged those on both sides of the Mississippi Republican divide to start focusing on conservative solutions as a way to move forward. It would seem some want no part of it. The gutter is a comfortable place for those who don’t care to, or can’t, discuss and debate good policy.
Just hours after my commentary was published, an anonymous email was passed around calling me everything but a child of God. It then hit RedState.com. The assertions the muckraker made were mostly false or half-truths. All were personal attacks that proved my original point.
Conservatives will win by raising the dialogue, not by playing gutter politics.(Tweet this)
I won’t answer every ridiculous assertion made. But, I would like to clarify a couple of things that were made that I think may help further explain my original point.
- I worked as a policy advisor and consultant to Chris McDaniel the entire campaign. Discussions of demotions and the like are silliness. The way this business has always worked in my experience is by adding people as you go along and by moving people into different roles to cover all the bases. That’s how campaigns are managed. Were there disagreements? It was a campaign for U.S. Senate; of course there were disagreements. But, policy is what Chris wanted me doing, and policy is what I did.
- I have worked in politics in Mississippi for a little over 10-years. I have worked on 12-campaigns during that time in some capacity or another. I have lost two. One of those is the McDaniel Campaign (provided the appeal doesn’t work out), the other is the 2011 Lt. Governors race which I joined in the last two months. In that race, I was brought in to run communications. We instituted an aggressive message based on a vision for solutions to policy questions. Many of which have been debated or have become law since. It depends on what polling one looks at, but a conservative estimate is that the messaging in that race helped move us roughly 25 points in just 6-weeks. 3 more weeks added to the end of that election calendar and Billy Hewes would likely be Lt. Governor today. Incidentally, in that campaign as well as few others the opposition was the same team that worked for Cochran in the Mississippi Senate primary. In a state senate runoff later that year we were up against some of the the same last minute attacks. The candidate stuck to the strategy, and we won.
Good messaging and strategic planning work.
I know there are many hurt feelings in Mississippi among those who supported Chris McDaniel right now. And, he is continuing to fight the fight with an upcoming hearing in the Mississippi Supreme Court. I hope he proves his case.
But, I also hope we begin talking again about a winning message of conservative policy, and about how to attract people to the cause. That has been my focus for years before the Mississippi Senate race. It will be a focus in the future.
Demographic data clearly shows Conservatives problem in Mississippi that we must address. Within ten years time the voters that lean Democrat will outnumber conservatives and those who lean Republican. We can either take that seriously and address it while we have a window of opportunity, or we can play divisive games.
The way to address the problem we face is with a vision for the future, not by living in the past. If we aren’t successful there won’t be a conservative statewide elected official in office in 10-years in Mississippi. It’s that simple.
The first rule of communications is to ‘know your audience’.
I don’t know much about how politics is played outside of Mississippi and the South, but I do know Mississippians. Voters in communities across this state reject personal attacks for the sake of personal attacks. They don’t mind a little rough and tumble. But it has to have a reason based in something other than the playground antics of who is in whose ‘club’. (Tweet this)
I left grade school a long time ago.
Regardless of whether someone is Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Liberal, McDaniel or Cochran; anyone putting their eggs in that basket is going to watch them all get broken.
Those who wish to play in the gutter can get as dirty as they want. I’m sure they will continue to sling a little mud on the rest of us. But, I don’t plan on joining them there.
I think my friends, family and neighbors in Mississippi deserve better. And my Mama and Daddy certainly taught me better.
I believe in Conservatism. That is my focus. Solutions based on policy that works for communities and puts people in control is my focus. I think it should be a greater focus by everyone who has that passion.
If you don’t believe that, then that’s okay. But, don’t demand that I sit still and wallow in the muck. It isn’t going to happen. (Tweet this).
About Keith: Keith Plunkett has worked on communications and policy issues with a range of public officials from aldermen to Congressmen, and a variety of businesses, government agencies and non-profits. He serves or has served as a board member of several non-profit, civic and political organizations. Contact him by going to HorizonMediaMarketing.com or follow him on Twitter @Keithplunkett