2010: Year of the Craven Candidates

Jonathan Martin at Politico has a piece on the weird behavior of many candidates (mostly Republicans) in this election — who seem to believe it’s a winning strategy to hide from the press and the public.

It’s mostly, but not entirely, a Republican phenomenon. In some cases, a tea-party-oriented candidate has made a plain calculation that�a one-day, process story about an absence from the campaign trail or a refusal to debate is less damaging than the captured-on-tape gaffe the candidate could make when facing reporters.

As of Friday, Colorado Republican Senate hopeful Ken Buck had gone nine consecutive days without holding a public event and acknowledged to The Denver Post that he’s more mindful now that he’s constantly being recorded by the ubiquitous ‘trackers’ being used by both sides. (With the fundraising quarter now done, however, he’s planning a more robust schedule for October.)�

Tea party darlings Rand Paul of Kentucky and Christine O’Donnell of Delaware both surged to primary victories thanks, in part, to national media exposure, but after their own comments got them into trouble, they abruptly canceled post-primary Sunday show appearances and have largely avoided doing non-Fox national TV.

The cynicism of this ploy is remarkable; they know that if their extreme views were challenged by the media and the public, they’d stand a good chance of losing the support of the vast middle. So they just hide, and count on the voters’ ignorance to get them elected.

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