Bolling’s Best Strategy – A Guaranteed Winner

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    ( – promoted by lowkell)

    by Paul Goldman

    The following lays out a sure-winning strategy for Bill Bolling. I guarantee it will work — but admittedly, there is an asterisk which will be revealed at the end of this column. But again, it will work and the asterisk will explain why.

    But first, let me reveal the dirty little secret of the 2013 race right now, one that I find most amusing given all the Democrats and others who are encouraging Bolling to run, playing on his ego, building him up as the “moderate” choice in a three way race, saying he can win. Their motive is transparent: they actually believe all Bolling could achieve is anti-Cuccinelli status in terms of being the spoiler.

    Why is their motive so transparent? Simple: The only way for Bolling to win would be for the McAuliffe campaign to totally collapse. Should Bolling actually ever mount a serious campaign with a chance of winning, it would require Terry to run third!

    Do the math. Cuccinelli has the anti-abortion base of the GOP. By backing McDonnell’s record tax increase in an election year, Bolling has sacrificed any credibility with the Republican anti-tax base. The business base of the party is leery of Cuccinelli but they have more money than votes. Meaning: Cuccinelli has most of the GOP base locked up on ideological grounds.

    He basically has 30-35% locked in a three-way race unless something unexpected happens. In large measure, this is now a personal base as well. They are very pro-Cuccinelli. Further meaning: There is no way Bolling can get into the race with a reasonable expectation of shaking any useful number of these voters loose from the K-Man. If Bolling is going to have any chance of winning, he has to shake the McAuliffe political tree and get voters to fall off.

    Sure, Cuccinelli could screw up, “stuff happens.” But to the extent that voters will vote on the issues, Cuccinelli has a very powerful message – if he can overcome his considerable image problems – for the core, GOP voters. This is why Bolling has been going left since he began his public courtship of himself as the new “moderate” choice in the Virginia. Precisely why Democrats don’t see this as Bolling in effect claiming that Terry is a “liberal” beats me.

    Think logically. If Bolling says the public needs a “moderate” choice, then by definition, he is saying Ken is the conservative and Terry the liberal. Otherwise: Why is a third, allegedly moderate choice, missing? Okay, maybe you try and explain the differences with other words. You try conservative ideologue, moderate pragmatic, Democratic partisan, or some three-way parlor game. But the bottom line if you aren’t careful: people make it simple, they say conservative, moderate, liberal. That’s the risk.

    The point being: All those in the media or Democrats creating this Frankenstein “Moderate” are taking a bigger chance than they might realize. They assume the Bolling guidance system will eventually just lock on its anti-Cuccinelli source code.

    Statistical logic admittedly says Billy Boy takes more from Cuccinelli than McAuliffe in the end. But right now, my gut instinct says to wait for more evidence, that maybe the conventional wisdom is wrong. But this is for another column. Today, we take Bill Boy at his word: He will run to win, assuming he runs.

    What then, would be a winning strategy for Bill Bolling even though the polls right now say he has no chance of winning?

    Like they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. So let me lay out the sure winning strategy for Bill Bolling from now, through the Republican Party Nominating Convention, past the Democratic Party primaries, to July 4th when the LG can announced his independence from the partisan politics, to the July 15th finance report. So it is, 7 steps full of months and months of yada, yada, yada.

    “Step by Step”, the original hit song from the 1960’s, Eddie Rabbit had a hit version a decade later, the New Kids on The Block had their own version: and now, rappin’Billy Bolling, the Rodney Dangerfield of GOP politics, the new gubernatorial candidate on the block, gets his own version.

    First Step: Lt. Governor Bolling has already promised to announced his intentions on March 14. So Billy Boy has got to do just that. The winning strategy says he holds a press conference, and shows some real fake emotion by getting choked up in discussing all the people who wrote him, called him and begged him and promised to name the next child of their next mistress after him if he will run for Governor and save the Commonwealth. The LG should not  bash Ken or Terry, he should stay on the high road, unusual for him, but heck, he is the New Bolling, like the New Nixon. Besides, the press stories will state the anti-Cuccinelli and anti-McAuliffe case anyway. Rather, Bolling just says that this outpouring of support is so humbling, it has made he and his family really appreciate the goodness of Virginians. Because these good people need a Governor worthy of them, he and his family have agreed he has to let the petition process go forward. If he finds the people want a people’s candidate, then he will heed the call.

    Accordingly, he will not ask for any money to fund the process of gathering signatures. He will use the money already in his campaign accounts. He is therefore, today, instructing his team to launch the biggest signature gathering drive in the state’s history.

    He is going to set a goal of 40,000 valid signatures, far more than anyone has ever gotten in the history of the state. He says this will be hard, probably impossible, but it is up to the people. I am at their service.

    Second Step: The date for filing the required 10,000 petitions is June 11, as the polls close on the Democratic primary. Thus, he will have roughly 3 months. Terry has to have his petitions filed by late March [thanks to Abby Easter for telling me about the new date]so there is no way Terry can do 40000 given the time frame. Cuccinelli is being nominated by Convention; there is no signature requirement although I suppose there could be a voluntarily collection of signatures. In this roughly 90 day period, Bolling therefore can tour the state, in total control of his petition signing destiny. He can be all things to all people, a non-ideological figure, asking people to give themselves a third choice, for the good of the Commonwealth.  

    Third step: Bolling lowballs his next funding raising report due April 15th. He wants to look like a loser, like someone who doesn’t have the money to be credible.

    Fourth Step: After a three-month effort, the Bolling campaign files signature petitions. But UNLIKE EVERY OTHER CANDIDATE, THEY DON’T ANNOUNCE THE NUMBER of SIGNATURES. They keep it secret, they keep everyone guessing: Did they get enough?

    Fifth step: Roughly 10 days later, the State Board of Election will announce whether Bolling qualified for the ballot. At which point Bolling can reveal his record breaking number of petitions. That’s right: He can easily get 50,000 if he merely pays for enough signature gathers, this is not hard, it is a guarantee. But WOW: Billy Boy evens beats the 40K number; heck there really is a groundswell for “Twinkie,” his nickname for those days as a super conservative GOP Senator (sorry for bringing that stuff up, bad manners, we are talking about the new “moderate.”)  

    Sixth Step: On the Fourth of July weekend, Bolling announces for governor, the new Thomas Jefferson. Some things are self-evident, such as Bolling the “moderate” being propelled into the race by a ground swell of swell people who are tired of the left and right, they want middle guys like Bolling, even better that he is a reformed political sinner.  

    Seventh Step: On July 15, the date of the next required financial filing, Bolling reports enough money to “beat expectations” again, having smartly lowered them months earlier. This will not be hard if he has played down his expectations enough, given that the press wants him to appear competitive, to get in those debates, to be the Cuccinelli-killer.

    But you say: “Paul, this only gets him down the road 4 months from now.” That’s true. But as Brad Pitt points out in the terrific movie Moneyball, “winning is a process, its a process, a process.” After July 15, Dollar Bill will admittedly have to raise the level of his game Big Time. He is paying folks a lot of money to do that, or will be if he runs. That’s their problem. Right now, Billy Boy needs a free press strategy to “keep hope alive” as Reverend Jessie Jackson would say.

    Most importantly for Bolling, he has to keep alive the myth that he is running to win without attacking Terry. Because once he starts doing that in earnest, those praising his conversion will start to wonder whether their Frankenstein is off the leash.

    Let’s be honest: there isn’t a Democrat or Democratic-leaning newspaper editorial board who takes the Bolling conversion seriously. They only tolerate it because it is seen as hurting Cuccinelli, which in turn helps McAuliffe. That’s 200-proof politics, so I am the last guy to complaint about it. But if need be, I will be the first person to say it is a lot riskier than folks apparently think.

    Bolling could just as easily turn on McAuliffe as he turned on Cuccinelli if he thought it was in his political interest. If Bolling runs, he is burning all his bridges to the GOP and the conservative side of things. In 1828, Vice-President John C. Calhoun jumped sides – amazing – but in return got to be the VEEP on Jackson’s ticket!

    So yeah, if Bolling were joining Terry’s ticket as some fusion type thing ala New York City politics back in the day, I could see his play. But volunteering to be the point man on a patrol, the head dude out there in the jungle and be the target for the Viet Cong: ain’t no way. Bolling ain’t no hero: he is a political henchman, Richie Rich, not St. Thomas More.

    Bolling is “jumping the shark” for the wrong reasons: and he is just liable to bite the new hand feeding him as he was the old hand. But we do 200-proof here: so we give Billy Boy a sure winner of a seven step process to maximize the myth as of July 15.

    • demomatic

      Wait, I thought McAuliffe was running to the middle-

      Can he do that if Bolling has already staked out the turf?

      Cuccinelli is all set to run as a conservative, to the right-

      Is there enough room for two moderates in this election? Or would a Bolling moderate-middle message leave McAuliffe able to run to the left- There’s a lot of progressive advocates out there that are tired of another Business-As-Usual Democrat-

      Then again, McAuliffe has already staked his image on a moderate-biz-friendly Democrat. Is it already too late to swing left?

      I’m in the camp that a Bolling run would be equally detrimental for both McAuliffe and Cuccinelli. By running as an independent he polarizes each of them, and McAuliffe seems less prepared to go left than Cuccinelli is to go right.

      Democrats for Bolling anyone? The PR push for just that may be around the corner . . .