Thursday, January 26, 2006

How Not To Run A Political Campaign

Bill Scranton's campaign for Governor may not be imploding -- yet -- but it sure is good at embarrassing itself:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Scranton fired his campaign manager and apologized for a racially charged remark the manager made about former Steelers star Lynn Swann, Scranton's rival for the GOP nomination.

On a televised call-in show Wednesday night, James Seif said "the rich white guy in this campaign is Lynn Swann."

Scranton, in a statement released from his campaign, said he was trying to reach Swann last night to apologize.

"I want to apologize to Lynn Swann, his family, supporters and campaign," Scranton said. He expressed "deep personal regret and anger" and said Seif's comment "in no way whatsoever reflect my views or those of my campaign."

I can't even think of a good reason why that guy thought that saying something like that was a good idea. Injecting race into a campaign is just plain stupid, unless you have a very solid and justifiable reason for doing so. This comment does not come anywhere close to meeting any criteria of reasonableness.

Mr. Seif seems to have been distancing his candidate from his candidate's opposition. That is a reasonable goal in a political campaign. But supposing he had tried to make the same point by saying something about Scranton with the opposite meaning. If Lynn Swann is a rich white man, is Bill Scranton a poor black sharecropper's son from a plantation in the Old South?

Scranton certainly handled this well, as he reacted quickly in order to, shall we say, fix the problem. Hopefully, for his sake, the next campaign manager will perform better.

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