THE PLANK MAY 1, 2009
Yesterday, I noted the odd robo-calls the NRSC has been making to Pennsylvania Democrats tying Arlen Specter to George W. Bush. The best explanation (and it's not a very good one) seemed to be that they're trying to plant this narrative to ensure that Specter faces a primary challenge next year and perhaps even loses, giving the GOP a less experienced, more liberal candidate to run against--maybe someone like Rep. Joe Sestak.
It turns out, though, that the NRSC is also doing pro-Specter, anti-Sestak robo-calls in Sestak's district, lauding the former as an "independent voice" and dismissing the latter as "another vote for the Obama agenda."
TPM theorizes that the plan is that the first, anti-Specter call will help Sestak (who's not even in the race yet) win the Democratic nomination and the second, pro-Specter call will bleed Sestak's independent support in the general. I don't have a better explanation, but I will say I find it profoundly nuts of the NRSC to imagine that it can implant two such tonally antithetical narratives at the same time. I will, however, amend my earlier statement: Regardless of its (almost certain lack of) efficacy, this is a plan so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel.
That said, the NRSC still hasn't figured out that, when you're not talking to your own base, you might want to lay off on the references to "Democrat priorities" and "Democrat Senators."