Sharron Angle's Fundraising Genius

Via Taegan Goddard, the Las Vegas Sun gets a recording of Sharron Angle explaining her fundraising strategy at a house party:

When I get a friendly press outlet -- not so much the guy that’s interviewing me -- it’s their audience that I’m trying to reach. So, if I can get on Rush Limbaugh, and I can say, “Harry Reid needs $25 million. I need a million people to send twenty five dollars to SharronAngle.com.” The day I was able to say that [even], he made $236,000 dollars. That’s why it’s so important. Somebody … I’m going on Bill O’Reilly the 16th. They say, “Bill O’Reilly, you better watch out for that guy, he’s not necessarily a friendly” ... Doesn’t matter, his audience is friendly, and if I can get an opportunity to say that at least once on his show -- when I said it on Sean Hannity’s television show we made $40,000 before we even got out of the studio in New York.

It's not a bad strategy: go on friendly national outlets, and get people all over the country to contribute to your campaign. Angle is doing it, Christine O'Donnell is doing it. They may say something nutty that liberals will draw attention to, but otherwise there's little risk. And when liberals mock you, it makes your narrative of victimization all the more compelling to your ideological compatriots, and the money keeps coming.

Of course, it violates what had always been the prevailing assumption, which is that if you're running for office you have an obligation to talk to the mainstream press, who will presumably ask you some questions tougher than, "Why are liberals so afraid of you?" But conservatives have always been good at taking that kind of conventional wisdom and and saying, "Who says we have to do it that way?"

And do they pay a price for it? Not really. No voter is going to say, "I would have voted for Angle if she had paid the voters the courtesy of talking through something other than conservative media." It does make those mainstream journalists a bit mad when you spurn them, but there's only so far they're willing to go in criticizing you for it, lest they look like they're "taking sides." So in the end, it works.

-- Paul Waldman

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