Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Is Dan Seals Losing the Ground War in IL-10 Against Mark Kirk?

The ground game in politics is oh-so-very important, and Dan Seals seems to be falling behind to Mark Kirk on a rather important part of that: the "Letter to the Editor" (LTE) war.

Let's not kid ourselves. The majority of good LTEs don't just happen on their own. A good campaign has a well-run LTE program as part of one of its primary strategic missions. You have to motivate your supporters to get out there and write letters to newspapers, which can be a difficult thing. Most people are busy, most don't like to write or don't feel they are good writers, and many are reluctant to sign their name to something that is going to get published. A good LTE doesn't just say, vote for this guy or that one because he's nice (although that's what a lot of Seals letters sound like). Thus, one of the challenges is to get people to pen their thoughts on why their guy (or gal) is better, and back it up with some logic and facts.

I don't have any official statistics (yet), but I read four newspapers every morning (Trib, Herald, News-Sun, WSJ) and get Google Alerts for both Dan Seals and Mark Kirk. From my informal count, Seals is getting crushed in the LTE war, in both number and qualiity of the letters, in my opinion.

As just a sampling, in the Daily Herald we have seen letters on Kirk's support of veterans, Kirk's ability to promote change, Kirk's leadership, and his work on Internet safety. We have also seen letters critical of Seals' residency in the 9th District, and Seals' recent "rubber stamp" ad against Mark Kirk.

At the same time, the pro-Seals letters are rare and unpersuasive, such as this one that basically says, vote for Seals if you like Barack Obama so Obama has help in Congress. That's not something that really appeals to an independent-minded voter, such as we have here in IL-10.

Not only does the LTE battle reflect well on Kirk's organization, it reflects well on the level and quality of his support, and the underlying merit of why we must send Mark Kirk back to Congress. Dan, better get your folks writing, if you want to try to make this race even as close as it was in 2006.


Anonymous said...

Well stated, TA. I think the reason Kirk supporters are writing LTE's in record number is that most are damn angry at the vicious, untrue and absolutely outrageous TV and mail pieces compliments of the DCCC that are flooding mail boxes and TV screens. One went so far as to superimpose Mark's face on someone else's body in some idiotic and feeble attack, again, not even close to being truthful. 10th District voters don't like that kind of outside interference. People know the truth. The Daily Herald did their own work, found that Mark Kirk is, indeed, Mr. Independent. So how then can the DCCC and the Seals lackeys come up with their version of the truth. So, people in the district do what they do best: take pen in hand and fight back. The DCCC has announced their $1.4 million dollar media buy against Mark Kirk. We've seen and heard the beginnings of their rantings and ravings. The more they rant, the more the Kirk supporters will show that it just won't be tolerated. Dan's old and tired tirade against Mark Kirk is just that: old, tired and very untrue.

Anonymous said...

Roll Call is reporting that Freedom Watch bought $430,000 in TV for Kirk.

Bye, bye Dan.

Anonymous said...

Just saw the ad - Seals is going to raise our taxes and we in Crook county hate that.

Anonymous said...


To say I am disappointed would an understatement. Our nation is on the brink of financial meltdown and our Congress is trying to mobilize, yet our Congressmen, the man who many of my friends (and even some of my family) have voted for to protect us and our district, has remained SILENT. I have been watching the news on all fronts and even been to his website, yet Mark Kirk has said NOTHING. Voting against SCHIP and tax breaks for those developing alternative fuels was one thing, let's call it a political move, but this is different. I am saddened that our Representative, my voice in congress--your voice in congress--is too busy worrying about Dan Seals to considering speaking out and helping to fix our failing financial sector. As much as you and Ellen write about menial bull**** and political punditry, this crisis affects everyone from both parties. Before, I was voting for Seals because I was frustrated with failed GOP leadership the last 8 years, but now Kirk's inaction has Sealed the deal for me.

Team America said...

Anon 10:29- you need to do a little more research, and then go back to Ellen's and cry to her about how horrible Kirk is, because we don't buy it here.

Learn more about Kirk's recent actions here.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:29, where have you been? Mr. Kirk came out with his plan, was on WGN radio all day long on Monday, has been clear on what he thinks should happen. I don't know who you are, but one thing is certain, you simply are a Seal's shill or you're just not hearing or reading what your Congressman is saying and doing. Which is it? What don't you understand or choose to hear about what Mark Kirk has suggested. I'm waiting for your reply.

Team America said...

Let's try that link again.

Anonymous said...

Hey TA, that Anon 10:29 just posted that very same BS on that other Blog. Guess what. That person is nothing more than one of them trying to sully your Blog. They are truly getting desperate over there. Let them. Their "dog" doesn't "hunt" in this district and might not in any other at any time. Perhaps not even in the 9th.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:29

About SCHIP - Mark voted for the SCHIP Bill that passed and also voted to overturn the Bush Veto. He always supported the Senate version of the SCHIP Bill. He voted against an earler House version that included a lot of special interest provisions. He then worked in a bi-partisan manner to get rid of those provisions and help pass a Bill that helps woman and children while not letting special interests take advantage of the taxpayers. When Bush vetoed the Bill - Mark voted to overturn the veto.

This is one of my biggest problems with the Seal's campaign - and they do it all the time. They take votes out of context and present them as the truth. Because Kirk voted against one version of SCHIP they say he is against it - American's For Children's Health took out a full-page color ad thanking Kirk for voting for SCHIP - becasue they knew he was going up against his own party to do what was right.

It's like their claim that Kirk is bad for vets because he had 24 votes in 8 years against motions and bills that had some provisions for vets -but also had waste, pork, and measures that would harm vets. But they refuse to acknowledge the hundreds of votes over his career in which he supports vets - the ones that has earned him the VFW endorsement over and over again. Not to mention the fact that the man has served in the Navy for 18 years and has worked to keep the north chicago VA open.

Anon 10:29 - please don't believe the anti-Kirk spin coming from the Seals campaign. I also heard Kirk on the radio on Monday talking about the bailout and the need to make sure that we are not paying for golden parachutes and that the management of these firms bear the responsiblity of their actions.

Kirk does work for the people of the tenth, which is why I will remain a Democrate for Kirk.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:29 - if you need anymore proof of the way the Seals camp suppresses the truth take a look at Ellen's blog. I posted the same response to your comment there - only to have it disappeared by EBG. "Using My Free Speech" indeed.

Team America said...

NO BIG SHOCK, my friend.

I printed out Ellen's Blog with the comment intact, so I have it for posterity. But, who really cares? We all know the self-proclaimed queen of "free speech" only means it for herself. I thought it was a great comment, and we're happy to have it here.

Ellen will just have to live with her own hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

Unlike Anon at 10:29, I applaud Mark's efforts with the current financial issues. In supporting the free market, he is doing our future generations a big favor.

However, let's not get all lovey-dovey too quickly. As a conservative, I understand that Mark must be more moderate in order to win the 10th when he has an "R" next to his name. But sometimes, we have to face the music of what that means. A big example recently is his vote in favor of the Dems' trial balloon joke of a "drilling" bill instead of standing up for the Drill Here, Drill Now push that we need for America.

Details over at RedState:

Votes like this give jokers like Seals the opportunity to look good by giving away cheap gas (just because he totally blew it doesn't mean that he didn't have the chance), and then the Dems begin to appear as if they care about these things (even if they don't). So let's be real and say "thanks" to Mark when he deserves it, as he does much more often than not, but let's leave it at that- where he deserves it.

Anonymous said...

RedState link from above post

Team America said...

Anon 1:47- fair point. I think we can all guess the reasons behind that particular vote in this case.

Anonymous said...

You're absolutely correct that letter writing campaigns are a part of every reasonably well organized political organization.

But, ultimately, as you well know, the publication is the controlling factor on the number and subject matter of the posted letters. So, don't kid yourself, or your readers, that the preponderance of Kirk letters suggests an overwhelming majority of favorable letters exist on his behalf.

So, Mr. Moderate, the number and quality of letters is hardly a valid measure of anything other than the editor's decision of what letters to print.

Congratulations on reading four newspapers every day. Does this leave you enough time to watch FOX NEWS and listening to Limbaugh and Hannity?

Team America said...

Well, Anon 5:43, you are correct that the decision of what letters to print is ultimately the editor's. But, they can't print them if they don't have them.

And while there is a fair share of MSM that are arguably biased towards one end of the spectrum or the other (e.g., WSJ, FOXNews on the right, CNN and NYT on the left, just to name some), most print publications like to at least appear balanced in their selection of LTEs to print.

If you attribute my observation that Seals is getting crushed in the LTE war as simple media bias, then you have to believe that the Trib, News-Sun, Herald and Pioneer Press are all in the tank for Kirk. I can assure you that's not the case, but you're probably going to believe whatever the hell you want to.

Thanks for stopping by, though.