During the Primary, having a clear message wasn’t Phil Angelides’ problem. It could practically have fit on a bumper sticker. “I’m the real liberal. Steve Westly is just Arnold’s Mini Me,” basically was the daily mantra from his campaign.
But since June, he’s essentially been without one. Without a message to define his campaign. From “he’s an actor,” to “he’s George Bush,” Phil has yet to catch fire.
But today it seems he’s hitting on something that many top Republican strategists have told me privately is their fear that one day Phil would find as a message: “Arnold is a flip-flopper.”
It has been touched on by many people in many ways, but really Arnold has been on every side of every issue.
Education? Take away funding. Give it back. And more.
Prop 187? Is his message any more clear than Kerry’s “I voted for it before I voted against it” ???
How about the Minutemen? Prescription drugs? National Guard troop deployment?
How about just on issues that will appear on this November’s ballot? Last year, Arnold endorsed the Parental Notification initiative. This year, they even took out some of the poison pill portions, and he’s nowhere to be seen on it.
Paddling to the left, paddling to the right is a centrist political strategy, to be sure. But when you do the paddling on the same issue, sticking your oar in different sides of the water from day-to-day, it isn’t strategic, it’s erratic.
Angelides may be on to something if he sticks with this theme and builds it into an over-arching strategy.