The campaign strategy of staying out of sight

From a piece about Harry Reid’s difficult re-election campaign:

Reid has what some political strategists refer to as an “Al Gore problem.” It is widely believed that Gore would have won the 2000 campaign if he would have just stayed out of public view for the last two weeks of the campaign. But every time Gore would emerge into the spotlight, George W. Bush’s numbers would improve.

For an incumbent (or in Gore’s case, quasi-incumbent) who is not well-liked, visibility is the enemy.

via Today’s Power Play: Reid Withers in the Spotlight |

Would that more candidates would try that strategy of not making public appearances!  I suppose it would only work for incumbents, but still, not being visible would make many politicians more likable.  In the early days of our republic, presidential candidates would make a point of not campaigning, allowing their surrogates to do that for them.  It was considered undignified to appear in public asking people for their votes.  And it is undignified!

Can you think of other politicians, past or present, who might have “an Al Gore problem”?  I don’t want to bash them.  Let’s limit this to politicians who actually might be pretty good at their job, but simply don’t come across all that well.

Good, but not perfect, night for conservatives

In yesterday’s elections, two states that voted for Barack Obama elected Republican governors and Maine voters repealed in a referendum that state’s previously passed approval of gay marriage. The only bright spot for Democrats was in New York, where they picked up a previously Republican congressional district, turning back a conservative insurgent who drove the Republican out of the race.

What do the Republican victories mean? It isn’t necessary to see them as a repudiation of President Obama for these elections to have big political consequences.

Virginia’s Republican landslide will put the blue dog Southern Democrats on notice that their constituencies may turn against them very quickly if they perceive them as too liberal. This can only have an inhibiting effect on their support for controversial liberal proposals, such as health care reform.

The Republican win in New Jersey shows that even liberal Democrats in an overwhelmingly liberal Democratic state will not tolerate corruption, constantly rising taxes, and administrative ineptness and are capable of turning against the party and electing a Republican. This sends a message to Democrats that they can take nothing for granted, and it sends a message to both parties that they had better have competent candidates who can do a good job in the offices to which they are elected.