“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.” – Sun Tzu
It’s not clear which part of “Art of War” the Charlie Crist campaign is taking a page from, but its latest campaign ad is based on a Rovian strategy so bizarre, it’s doubtful Tzu would recognize it.
Attacking Scott by emphasizing a point where it is weak, the Crist campaign is responding to a broadside from Rick Scott’s camp by attempting to link Scott to the Ponzi schemer Crist is widely linked to.
As first reported by the Miami Herald‘s Marc Caputo, Scott’s ad, paid through the Republican Party of Florida, fired first.
“Convicted swindler Scott Rothstein bought expensive things with stolen money. He even bought a governor,” the ad intones, pointing out how the Ponzi schemer recently claimed Crist essentially sold judicial appointments, which Crist denies.
“Charlie Crist. For governor. For sale,” the ad closes.
Rather than fire back with the pile of unused ammunition that could be used against Scott, the Crist campaign tried the old banana-up-the-tailpipe maneuver.
Crist’s campaign is … do(ing) its own smearing in the process.
“Now,” the Crist ad says of Scott, “he’s teamed up with a felon convicted of running a Ponzi scheme to smear Charlie Crist with false attacks.”
As Caputo points out, “there’s no evidence that Scott has ‘teamed up’ with Rothstein.”
In an otherwise copiously detailed backgrounding of the ad, the Crist campaign does not explain how Scott has “teamed up” with Rothstein.
It’s not even a sure thing that Scott has ever met Rothstein.
Even if there were some specious connection between Scott and Rothstein, it’s baffling that Crist would even mention Rothstein’s name, much less boomerang him against Scott. It was Crist to whom Rothstein once donated $52,000 just to have his name prominently displayed on the governor’s birthday cake. Anyone who knows of Rothstein’s political activities is likely to link him to Crist, not Scott.
How Crist’s campaign contorted itself to produce this ad can only be explained by a pretzel maker. Certainly Sun Tzu would have no explanation.