Thursday, July 06, 2006

Brinksmanship PR 

The state in which I live, New Jersey, has shut down all but essential services because it can't get a budget approved. The governor and his own party can't agree on how to raise taxes. I'm amused to watch how the governor is handling the PR for this crisis. The governor ordered the shutdown, but he is blaming the legislature in one press conference after another. It's the old "you made me do it" defense. So far, it appears to be working, but the public is not stupid. New Jerseyans know that the governor precipitated the crisis because he wanted his way, and he refused to work with his own party, which doesn't agree with the governor's approach.

The next election will tell how well the governor's PR campaign has worked.

I went through the exact same situation last year in Minnesota. A little different party alignment, but same basic idea. Voters will likely blame "the legislature" as a whole while still supporting their local legislators for the most part. Then in a few months they'll forget all about it because people have better things to fret over. His opponents will haul it out and the media will obsess over it, but after the initial situation the emotions die down and folks move on.

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