More on the Herseth Apology. Is there such a thing as a no win scenario?

I started to take the opportunity to address this in a comment reply, but then as I got long winded, I switched gears to turn this into a post. Haggs who has the Haggard News political blog opined the following on under the last post's comment sections with regards to Lee Breard's apology to Herseth for the homewrecker comment:
This was pretty much a no-win situation for Breard. If he doesn't appologize, the Herseth campaign will blast them about it. And if he does try to appologize, they can still blast him.
It's a good point. But as I start to agree with Haggs on the no win part, I have second thoughts.

If I could draw a movie analogy, I find myself thinking of Star Trek II, "The Wrath of Khan." In that science fiction tale, they had a the test for commanders called the "Kobyashi Maru" test. The whole purpose was to test how commanders faced up in the midst of a no win scenario.

James T. Kirk himself never faced it because he changed the rules - he didn't believe in no win scenarios. Just like Admiral Kirk, when faced with a bad situation, I think there are a plethora of options that you can take before you face a no-win situation.

If an apology was to be offered, it should have been immediate. But (as hindsight is always the best), it wasn't. That can't be changed, and the story has now snowballed. Do you try to put it behind you now? As you can see, the Whalen camp offered an apology, and they're getting slapped at.

As I had written in the original post, (and looking at it at this point) I don't know if I would have apologized now. Sound harsh? Yes, admittedly it is harsh. But the campaign manager's job is to be the bad guy, so the candidate can be the good guy. In this case, it seemed that the end result is you're damned if you do, and damned if you don't. If you're going to get beaten on regardless, whether or not you apologize, why give the story another day's play in the paper?

You retreat only if it's going to affect the candidate, and in this case, I don't know that it was. The heat is on Lee, and I don't think the media cared about Whalen's view on it. So, what did an apology earn? I don't know that it earned anything except more column inches devoted to the topic.

Instead of an apology, the next time the press asked about it, he could have switched gears and gotten tough with the congresswoman asking something to the effect of "How does a single congresswoman who enjoys the beltway's social scene relate to working South Dakota families who have to find day care. Bruce is a working parent with kids who has had to work hard to put food on the table." (Before you say it, this is an example on my part, not a declaration of opinion.) You'd have to find examples to illustrate and prove your point, but you catch my drift.

It might seem a bit like smoke and mirrors, but as I mentioned in the prior post, it's a constant game of one upsmanship. If you don't like your postion on the game board, roll the dice and see if you can move ahead.

Now, it's not quite that simple, as you have to carefully calculate your statement and position, lest you hit a chute, instead of climbing a ladder. But if you look at politics in many other states, they will play it harder than we do here before they're forced to cry uncle.

At this point, it would probably be appropriate to ask - For a South Dakota race, did Lee do the right thing in apologizing? And if this were in another state, how about then?

Comments

mhs said…
P, I think a bigger point is Breard making himself the story. He's had his name in the press more than his candidate the past couple weeks. That's incredible for any campaign staffer, let alone one working for a candidate with such low name recognition numbers as Bruce has to overcome.

What an amateur act. All the while Stephie is gleefully raising tons of money she won't have to spend and can bank away towards the next election.

We're getting killed here. This guy has to go now. I just had GoPak call me to raise funds to "protect our house majority". It wasn't hard for me to tell Newt no after watching this trainwreck of a campaign. I'm certain he's going to get the same refusal from countless other quietly faithful party members who won't throw good money after bad.
Haggs said…
Wow. I inspired a post on South Dakota War College. Wheeeeee!

I agree that if an appology needs to happen, it should happen as soon as possible to lessen the ammount of time the story takes up. I bet a lot of people had forgotten about the incident, but now it's back in the news.
Anonymous said…
I am voting for Herseth, in part because of the Amateur Hour campaign Whalen is putting on. However, I am disappointed in Levsen's response. He should have said simply, "The Congresswoman accepts the apology." That's it. She would have gotten accolades for being magnanimous; rather, they played the "victim" card. Not that I blame them, mind you. But it would have been classy, and would have shown an even greater contrast, to the behavior of the Whalen campaign.
Anonymous said…
Whalen's campaign is and always has been a no-win scenario from the beginning.

He's just a klingon. Captain Kirk (even now with mad cow) would whip him.
Randy said…
It sounds to me like the Herseth camp would have been happy to accept a full apology if it was offered.

However (and PP conveniently cuts this out of what he pasted on the site) Breard only offered *half* an apology. He categorically refused to apologize for sending around the wiki rumors - claimed that was all part of his humanitarian "fact-finding." Uh-huh....fact-finding....right.

So, Breard apologized for the "home-wrecker" lie that he invented, and the Herseth camp accepted it. But he completly stood by and defended the other stuff, and they said that was unfortunate. If PP would have even posted the Headline of the story - "Breard issues partial apology to Rep. Herseth" - we would have gotten a much more accurate picture of the (ongoing) stunt that Whalen and Breard are continuing to pull.
Anonymous said…
It doesn't matter what Beard or for that matter what Whalen does. This one is over, no not over, it never started. Time to move on and start thinking about the next cycle.
Anonymous said…
Kobyashi Maru? How about the J*ass resigns and Whalen announces that he's gay. That's the only way this race will change. Attach Herseth from the left! That's what Kirk would do, of course w/an female looking alien that may or may not be female. Come on PP, carry it out, nothing will win it for this joker, and I'm a REP, not a RINO.
Nicholas Nemec said…
Chutes & Ladders! Get to spend a little time with the kids last weekend PP?
PP said…
I have them all with me this week while my wife is in DC.
Anonymous said…
What about Whalen's third child? Not campaigning, what's the story as he/she isn't in any campaign adds.

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