Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Negative Campaigns Require Quick, Aggressive Strategy of Deflection

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Negative Campaigns Require Quick, Aggressive Strategy of Deflection

Article excerpt

MICHAEL DUKAKIS, who was condemned in Republican TV ads as weak on defense, crime, and the environment in the 1988 presidential election, says his party is "getting a little smarter" about negative campaign tactics.

"You have to have a strategy," he says. But the answer is "not simply to throw mud at the other guy."

Mr. Dukakis, now teaching political science at Northeastern University, explains how Democrats recently handled President Bush's explosive charge that a Democratic civil rights bill required racial quotas:

"What you try to do is turn the other guy's negative campaign into a character issue about him. Bush gets on this quota thing. It's as phony as a $3 bill.... But Bush keeps saying it ... and it's strictly political. We all know that."

So United States Sen. Bill Bradley (D) of New Jersey "gets up on the floor of the Senate ... basically saying, 'Mr. President, stop it! You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You're the first president in modern times to use race for political purposes.

Other Democrats, including Senate majority leader George Mitchell, make similar criticisms, comparing Bush's tactics with the Willie Horton ads of the 1988 campaign Willie Quota implying this is racial politics.

Quickly, the White House backs away and Bush signs the bill.

During an interview at his university office, Dukakis also touched on these other topics:

* Current economic problems.

"There are only three things you can do to get out of a recession.

"One, continue benefits for unemployed workers so you don't, by cutting them off, further deflate the economy. Even Ronald Reagan understood that.

"Two, cut interest rates. It's not the most effective strategy because everybody knows that monetary policy works a lot better to restrain {an economy} than to revive a depressed economy.

"Three, get construction money into the economy, get construction workers back, prime the pump.

"Where does the money come from? Well, stop spending $150 billion on defense of Western Europe. Close a few of those bases over there. Bring the money home and get it in roads and bridges and get people back to work."

* International economic competition. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.