Fox News, of all places, has an interesting web post, “Senate Dems Unfurl New Electoral Strategy: Divide and Conquer GOP,” reporting on a new memo from The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. According to the unsigned Fox post, the memo urges Democratic campaign managers to “define their Republican opponents early and to highlight the differences between moderate voters and tea party-style conservatives.” The Fox post quotes from the memo:
Given the pressure Republican candidates feel from the extreme right in their party, there is a critical — yet time-sensitive — opportunity for Democratic candidates,” the DSCC wrote in the memo, which was obtained by FoxNews.com. “We have a finite window when Republican candidates will feel susceptible to the extremists in their party. Given the urgent nature of this dynamic, we suggest an aggressive effort to get your opponents on the record
The DSCC memo rolls out some provocative questions for Democratic candidates to ask their Republican opponents, including:
Do you believe that Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen? Do you think the 10th Amendment bars Congress from issuing regulations like minimum health care coverage standards? Do you think programs like Social Security and Medicare represent socialism and should never have been created in the first place? Do you think President Obama is a socialist? Do you think America should return to a gold standard?
Not sure the gold standard question will resonate all that much with swing voters, but forcing opponents to answer the other questions should help flush out the inner tea-bagger in GOP candidates, or even better, amplify divisions between Republican candidates in primaries and encourage flip-flops.
According to Fox, The GOP responded to the DSCC Memo with their own advisory to Republican Senate candidates, including a series of ‘have you stopped beating your wife’ type questions for their Democratic opponents:
Would you support a second so-called ‘stimulus’ bill, even though the first failed to create much-needed jobs? Or do you believe the unspent money should be returned to the taxpayers? Are you willing to hold open discussions to reach an agreement on bipartisan health care reform, or will you continue to support backroom deals — such as the Cornhusker Kickback — in order to ram an unpopular and costly government-run health care bill through Congress?
Do you support increasing the nation’s debt limit by yet another $2 trillion? Do you agree with the Obama administration that terrorists should be afforded the same rights as American citizens, tried in American courtrooms, and ultimately held on American soil?
Maybe it’s just my partisan tilt, but the Democratic questions are less predicated on dubious assumptions, and have more potential for eliciting answers that inflict serious damage.
The Fox post goes on to cite a Rasmussen survey indicating voters are more likely to support tea party candidates than Republicans. The ‘divide and conquer’ strategy outlined in the DSCC memo, in the wake of Scott Brown’s MA upset win, appears sound and promising — provided Democratic candidates get on it early and work it hard.