Thursday, July 12, 2007

Lange strikes the right note, too

In our last episode, we noted that Montana GOP chairman Erik Iverson "struck exactly the right note when asked for a response" to the odd attack on Mike Lange by state Sen. Brueggeman of Polson.

Today, Lange himself handled the situation just about perfectly himself in an interview with the Gazette.

"The campaign has a long, long way to go. We hope we can get him to vote for me."

Lange said he has always gotten along well with Brueggeman.

"John's a very energetic legislator," Lange said. "He's worked hard for his district. It's like everything else. I've got to work to earn everyone's vote. I guess we'll see how that goes."

Again, Sen. Brueggeman should take notes on how all of this is done. It's really not that complicated.

Lange is exactly right that if he wants to be the GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate, he will have some real convincing to do. In that light, Lange is wise to have started very early -- he will have to pound a lot of pavement, drive a lot of miles, shake a lot of hands, and answer a lot of questions if he wants to win the GOP primary.

It is refreshing (but not surprising, knowing what we've seen of Lange) that he is not playing "don't be unfair to poor me," but rather seems to be taking this head-on like a man:

Lange was undaunted, too, by the news reported by Roll Call that Republican leaders are trying to recruit former state Senate President Bob Keenan, R-Bigfork, to run for the Senate.

"The national committee would like to have the strongest possible candidate they can, and I believe that it's me," Lange said.

He said he's confident GOP party leaders will back him "once they see how we campaign and that we're going to be a very serious contender."

Montana Headlines remains doubtful that Lange will win the primary, and skeptical about his ability to be the best candidate to take on Sen. Baucus, but as we noted long ago, the idea of Lange as the GOP nominee is intriguing.

Part of what made the 2002 Mike Taylor campaign such a disaster was that Taylor, at least in the image he portrayed publicly, fell apart when he got hit -- hard and characteristically nasty -- by the Montana Democratic smear machine.

Whoever our candidate is this time will have to do better when the inevitable mud starts to fly -- and if Lange manages to prove that he has grace, toughness, and a sense of humor under fire, that will go far.

After all, how might that campaign have gone had Mike Taylor, say, gone on TV in a wild-looking leisure suit, shown everyone the famous video of his TV show where he was applying lotion to a man's face, and said:

Max, you and your buddies seem to be unnaturally interested in this video.

Well, I checked in my garage,and I still have a couple of bottles of that facial stuff I made millions selling, and I'd like to invite you over to my house so you can give it a try.

My wife and I can give you a two-for-the-price-of-one facial -- one for the face you wear in Washington and on K-Street, and one for the face you wear in Montana come election time.

No hard feelings about your attack ad -- we'll put a pot of coffee on and wait up for you...

"I'm Mike Taylor, and I sure as hell approved this ad."


Ed Kemmick said...

Your advice is good, as usual, which means that the chances of its being heeded are nonexistent. For a conservative, you can sure be a starry-eyed dreamer.

Montana Headlines said...

Russell Kirk always liked to emphasize the importance of the human imagination in conservative thought.

There is, to be sure, a fine line between that and being a dreamer...