Campaigning 101

I have a little experience with this kind of thing, and I’ve said for years that the one thing you never want to do if you’re running for office is to be eligible to be held up as an object of ridicule. Nothing kills a campaign quicker than humor at your expense — it’s the kiss of death. (Remember that picture of Al Gore in Viet Nam with his M-16 pointed at his face? Remember his Naomi Wolfe make-up at the Big Debate? ROFL)

The Clintons have lived and breathed this stuff forever — so when you’re running against one of them, oh my God, be careful:

ALBANY - It was just a joke, potential Republican challenger Kathleen Troia “KT” McFarland said Saturday after the New York Post reported her saying Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s camp was spying on her.

OF COURSE they are spying on you, dipstick. It’s a friggin United States Senate Campaign. I’d be surprised if they weren’t going through your trash, your Blockbuster receipts, your credit records, and basically anything you’ve ever said, public or not. Welcome to politics, honey. You mean you’re not doing the same kind of opposition research on Her? What an idiot.

The Post said McFarland’s comments came Thursday at an event on Long Island hosted by Suffolk County GOP Chairman Harry Withers.

The Post, citing an unidentified attendee, said McFarland had told the gathering: “Hillary Clinton is worried about me, and is so worried, in fact, she had helicopters flying over my house in Southhampton today taking pictures.”

Get over yourself, hon. You’re a US Senate candidate, running against the Demo front-runner for the nomination for President in 2008. If it wasn’t Hillary’s ‘copters, it’s the National Enquirer’s. What did you bloody expect? Hint: Xanax is your friend.

The Post’s front-page report said McFarland also told the audience that Clinton’s people were taking photographs of her Manhattan home from an apartment building across the street.

Bulletin: If it wasn’t Hill’s people, it was the Secret Service. Are you daft?

McFarland in a statement issued Saturday said she was only joking.

“This is a perfect example of what is happening in American politics. One misinterpreted joke, and your opponents are smearing you in the press,” the statement said. “I continue to believe that we can be better than that. But I’ve got to tell you, it’s not easy.”

OK, this is the lamest thing I’ve ever heard of. Her campaign manager shouldn’t just be fired, he/she/it should be drawn and quartered.

McFarland’s chief rival for the GOP nomination to take on Clinton in this year’s Senate race, former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer, said he was also at the event and heard the former Reagan-era Pentagon official make the remarks.

“She wasn’t trying to be funny,” Spencer told the Associated Press. “And no one laughed.”

This is the part where the campaign manager (and press secretary, for that matter) should be poked with hot irons. If it wasn’t a joke; or if no one laughed, why in God’s name would you claim that it was? Are we running for the United States Senate, or for the county Dog Catcher?

The Clinton campaign took the opportunity to poke fun at a potential rival.

“We at the Hillary campaign wish Ms. McFarland the best and hope she gets the rest she needs,” said Clinton adviser Howard Wolfson.

Exactly what I would have said.

Points to Hillary’s people, although frankly, it was a bit too easy. Nice job, y’all. Cruising to victory in this Senate campaign may go to your heads, though; don’t forget that pride goeth before a fall.

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