RALEIGH — Remember all that stuff late last year about how North Carolina Democrats were going to go after Elizabeth Dole for not being a real North Carolinian?
Forget it. That’s a play for a few swing voters, or perhaps to depress the turnout of conservatives and populists who don’t much like the Washington political establishment (whose bidding Dole is supposedly doing).
That phase of the campaign is largely over, with Erskine Bowles and Dan Blue still mired in such low name-recognition in recent polls that their faces might as well be on milk cartons.
Now, the Democrats are pushing the panic button.
Last week the party purchased stories on TV evening newscasts and in the state’s major newspapers to draw a dotted line between Dole and outgoing Sen. Jesse Helms. Well, actually they bought a front-page ad in the Salisbury Post (total cost: about $1,500) in order to score “free media” with news-starved reporters. It worked. Many outlets ran with the story.
It’s theme is so ridiculous, however, that it signifies just out freaked the Dems are about Dole’s continued stratospheric approval numbers, which are probably higher than any statewide candidate or officeholder in North Carolina has ever posted.
Here’s the tagline. Brace yourself.
Elizabeth Dole, the ad says, has a “radical right-wing agenda.”
Folks, you have GOT to be kidding.