by David Safier
This is the first time I'm quoting Emil Franzi, who writes a conservative-leaning column in The Explorer, where I write a liberal-leaning column. But when both of us are thinking more-or-less the same thing on an issue or two and he brings in knowledge I don't have, he's worth quoting.
Franzi is writing about Prop 200 which looked like it had legs then went down huge, 70-30. He says the idea for the proposition was cooked up by "a Phoenix political consultant" to help elect Republican city council candidates.
The advice, apparently based on rudimentary polling data, was to drop a bundle not on a direct assault but on an oblique move based on a public safety initiative that was supposed to draw out voters more inclined to elect council candidates who supported it. This became the now infamous Prop. 200, ultimately defeated 70-30.
I was one of many Democrats who said the same thing about Prop 200. It's good to get confirmation from someone on the other side. I hadn't heard the idea came from a Phoenix consultant. Unless I learn differently, I'll assume Franzi got that right.
Clearly, Franzi thinks the strategy was a boneheaded idea. Here is Franzi's take on political consultants, from the final paragraph.
. . . it should be clear that there are some overpaid consultants who deserve to be recognized and humiliated along with the rubes who pay them with other people's money.
Like Franzi, I wonder about the high paid consultant strategy for winning elections. It doesn't seem to have served Arizona Dems too well lately. Republicans can ask their own questions, they don't need any help from me, but I think Dems need to ask themselves whether political consultants, who often, like generals, are fighting the last war, should be given so much power over the way current or hopeful public officials conduct their campaigns.