Iowa Caucus Shows that Negative is the Way to Go

Image: Reuters

Just when you thought 2012 couldn’t get any better, it’s Iowa caucus day. As MSNBC’s First Read blog notes, turnout is everything in these political matters. And the candidates are doing everything they can to make sure the votes come in, like physically transporting people to polling sites so they can cast their votes.

The Ron Paul and Rick Perry campaigns are providing voters with transportation, and Mitt Romney’s camp is providing transportation “for special circumstances.”

But before voters can get to the polling locations, the candidates, unfortunately for them, had a few more days to make their cases.

Rick Santorum, who’s doing well in Iowa, was asked a question about outside influence on the U.S. economy (“We’ve got so much foreign influence in this country now,” CBS quotes the dumb question. “Where do we go from here?”)  Perhaps Santorum could’ve said, “We need to hide. Under our beds, behind the curtains, roll up in little balls like armadillos, maybe dig holes, jump in, and then cover ourselves in the dug up dirt until the rest of the world just goes away.”

Instead, he said that the government wants to hand out entitlements and he doesn’t want to give black people other people’s money. Oh what? Besides everything offensive about that, it’s not even an answer to the question. Even more outlandish, people in the audience are like, “Yep.” Oh what?

Despite having a history of problems in the state, Politico gives Mitt Romney credit for staying on message and, in that way, seeming more like a viable candidate. And whether he wins today or not, he moves on to friendly territory.

“While other candidates have been engulfed in dramas petty and significant, swung wildly off message and altered their focus, Romney has, from the campaign’s launch, stuck hard to his message of being an economic fixer who is serious enough to be elected.”

Rick Perry defended his campaign staff against allegations of internal tensions  during an interview with Politico’s Mike Allen, which is fine, but this interview plays like an SNL skit because he was so childishly abrupt in his response.

Michelle Bachmann, in last place, trotted out her family on CNN this morning and then called a question about her stance on homosexuality “bizarre.”

Ron Paul told his supporters to hush.

And Newt Gingrich said he won’t win in Iowa, then said his people told him he shouldn’t say that. What do you think of that media strategy PR pros? And he called Romney a liar.

The one thing that seems to show actual success is negative ads. Gingrich attributed his pending defeat to the stream of attack ads against him. Research shows that 45 percent of all advertising during the month of December directed negative criticism at Gingrich.

MSNBC goes on to say that Iowa is only the beginning, “setting the parameters” for campaigning moving forward. So we’ll find out just how far being negative will get you.