There was a disturbing little passage in John Harris' WaPo piece today about the impact of Zell Miller's Wednesday night rant from New York. After examining the evidence that many of Zell's new GOP friends weren't exactly happy with his Angry Werewolf routine, Harris reported this:
"A focus group conducted with 17 independent voters in Ohio by GOP pollster Frank Luntz for MSNBC drew a mostly positive response. These voters, Luntz said, did not care for Miller's attacks on the Democratic Party because they were too 'broad-brush,' but the attacks on Kerry resonated because Miller anchored his criticism in specific arguments about Kerry's record.
"'They liked facts,' Luntz said. 'They're not responding to style. They're asking for a level of detail.'"
There's a lesson here for all you young aspiring political consultants. When you get ready to smear an opponent, be sure to get real specific about it. Season your character assassination with a few facts and figures. Avoid "broad-bush" attacks. "Senator Bilbo Sells Out America" is far less effective than "Senator Bilbo Sells Out America For Thirty Pieces of Silver."
It's all about credibility.