My good friend Jim Eltringham has been noticing a disturbing trend: More and more candidates are talking like political strategists or pundits...
As an example, he points to this quote from MKH's post about John McCain's blogger call today:
"We just totally dispirited our base with the spending and the corruption that goes on...
Our base became dispirited and didn't do the things you have to do to win an election...
Using this sort of rhetoric is a double-sin. For one thing, it's "inside baseball" (no real people talk about their "base") -- secondly, it's divisive-sounding.
A good rule of thumb is that candidates should avoid talking like strategists.
As Jim points out, if McCain had said: "The American people trusted us to make government smaller, we didn't do it, and they let us know it," he would have sounded like he was appealing to everyone -- not just the "base."
BTW, this isn't just a McCain problem. Sadly, more and more candidates are talking like strategists.
I'm not against keeping your base happy; far from it. What I am against is having our candidates use this sort of "inside baseball" rhetoric.
Can you imagine Reagan ever talking about keeping his "base" happy?