The War Room: 8

A Synopsis of The War Room by Warren Kinsella

Lesson Seven: Get the Facts and Numbers!

Kinsella recounts a McGuinty event where a 19-year shouted attacks criticizing the Liberal Party. Kinsella found out his name, corroborated by phoning the Conservative headquarters and emailed the kids resume to every body covering the event in the news media. All in 45 minutes. Should have been 35. The Conservatives planted the kid and were made to look stupid, dishonest and desperate by Kinsella.

Research is essential. Corroborating claims is essential. Thomas Jefferson had several mistresses all of them slaves. The opposition accused him of this but there was no proof. 200 years later the truth came out. Jefferson won the presidency anyway. The value of professional political consultants was the injection of large sums of cash not the system by aspiring politicians and advocacy groups. They needed people who could navigate the competitive media environment. Being factually accurate is tremendously important. You need quick opposition research and response. The need for speed in the CNN, NBC news cycle is paramount.

It is fair, in some cases, to probe a person’s personal life. Buchanan was a rank anti-European. Bush’s attack dogs found out he drives a Mercedes-Benz sedan, a European car. Pure hypocrisy. Opposition are always interested in missed votes in the US. Scanning for fibs, contradictions are effective. March 2008: Clinton claims she was shoot at in Bosnia. Campbell’s EH-101 copter flip-flop was a heightened by a Grit young liberal dressed as a chicken. Resume inflation is another area of research. Campbell went to the London School of Economics but never completed her thesis. Campbell had not paid back the money to attend the London School of Economics. In June 1993, Liberals flooded the Access to Information bureaucrats with demands for Campbell’s expense accounts. Someone sent a nasty affidavit’s about Campbell’s divorces. Property records and list of political donors. One of the companies that had supported Campbell in 1993 had received donations in national defence contracts. Checking the facts is always a good idea.

An example of getting the facts wrong by the PCs in 1993. Jean Chrétien released the Red Book at the start of the campaign in 1993 risking that it’s effect would be deluded by the end. The Tories released a blue binder full of attacks on Chrétien’s positions in the platform prior to the Red Book’s release. The blue book was desperate attack of costings in a Red Book that had not been released yet. The credibility problem with the media hurt the Conservatives for weeks to come. Technology has made aggressiveness in politics a must. This is similar to the Dewey Defeats Truman error in the 1948 Chicago Daily Tribune.

The 2006 Leadership Race is another example. The Super Weekend of delegate selection was in preparation for the Montreal convention in December of that year. Michael Ignatieff was at 29.6% of the delegates. He was rumoured to be ahead of the ex officio vote as well pushing him to 35%. This is called A Great Big Honking Lead! Bob Rae had only 20%….Allan Gregg was saying that Bob Rae would be the winner in mid-September. Polling mistakes happen often. Kinsella explains empirical research polling techniques. Polls have effected the electoral process. Polls can be right but they can also be disastrously wrong.

The push polling in South Carolina against John McCain was very effective: “How do you feel about McCain’s legislation that proposed the largest tax increase in United States history?” McCain wanted to tax churches, McCain had an illegitimate Vietnamese child. The idea is to manipulate public opinion, not change it. Push polling is unethical. Researching factual information is ethical. Push polling is not.

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