I’m not very optimistic about anybody being able to knock off Castle this year, but someone will be the Democratic nominee eventually and today seems like a good day to give out some unsolicited advice.
1) Castle is going to run as a Democrat. Don’t let him.
In a recent National Review article that catalogued the problems Republicans will face this year – the biggest problem is that Republicans suck and nobody likes them.
It’s almost impossible to exaggerate the Democratic advantage on domestic issues: If it’s an issue, they lead. According to Rasmussen, they lead as the party that people trust more to handle health care by 32 points, Social Security by 16 points, education by 13 points, and government ethics by 8 points. The Democratic lead extends even into traditional Republican territory. In a July Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, Democrats had a 25-point advantage over the GOP on cutting deficits, 16 points on controlling spending, 15 points on dealing with the economy, and 9 points on taxes.
(Please ignore the fact that the National Review regards “controlling spending” as a GOP strength.) Castle reads the National Review, so here is what you do – when he fails to put “Republican” on his signage or his web site call him out on it. When he forgets to mention that he is a Republican when speaking with voters, remind him of his party affiliation. When he tries to pass himself off as the Democrat is the race clobber him. Never refer to him as anything other than Delaware’s Republican in Congress.
2) Iraq is Mike Castle’s War.
Remind Mike that he voted with George Bush 93% of the time when it came to Iraq. He’ll try to say that he has “opposed” the President and you should welcome these claims because they are so easily refuted by a cursory look at his voting record. He’ll also try to say that we are seeing “progress” in Iraq and that we should stay the course in order to “support the troops.” Again, the National Review gives a glimpse into Castle’s predicament.
Republicans hope that progress in Iraq will bring about a dramatic improvement in the national political environment. We share that hope. But even if events in Iraq go well, we will have plenty of days of bad news. The public will continue to be impatient about our engagement there, and unhappy about how we got there in the first place. If Republicans are lucky, their national-security advantage will reassert itself. But it is unlikely to recover to its past size.
So find every Joe Biden Iraq quote you can get your hands on and just open a can of whoop ass on Castle with them. He’ll be in a big bind because you can’t be all peppy and optimistic about our “progress” in Iraq and a big Bush skeptic at the same time. Well, I mean you can but you can’t have any credibility when trying that.
3) Ignore the middle.
Don’t you dare try to cozy up with people who think you need to be “moderate” or a “centrist” and DON’T hold any views that require a paragraph to explain. Pro-Choice? Check. Pro-Impeachment? Check. Pro-environment? Check. Picture every statement printed in 72 point fonts. People who are dainty and like the dusty faux moderation of Castle will not be impressed by your “moderation” you’ll need to connect with and energize Democrats. Any “I” s that you pick up will be the folks who like moxie.
4) Don’t Spend Money
Money is not going to win or lose this thing. Beat on points one two and three in face-to-face meetings with voters. But make money an issue. Make a big point out of the fact that Castle is rich. He is disconnected from the problems that people who pay bills have. He is a trust fund baby. He has never had to take out a loan to buy a car. His rich, aloof, patrician ways got us into our current economic mess. By the time the election get here a lot of BOA middle managers in Pike Creek are going to be looking for work and they will be pissed about it. They should be hating on Mike Castle by the time you get done with him.