by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Clinton campaigns throughout the decades have delivered “coordinated” opposition research strategies to the press and engaged in “relentless” attacks against their opponents, according to a memo obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
The 1992 Clinton presidential campaign was not about promoting Bill Clinton’s accomplishments or vision but about tarnishing President George H.W. Bush, according to a close aide of the campaign.
A memo written by Derek Shearer to Bill, Hillary Clinton, and senior campaign aides in April 1992 laid out the “ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK” strategy.
“[It] is my firm belief that in order to win we must ATTACK,” wrote Shearer, an adviser to the campaign. “Elections are not contests between cool, rational decision-making, as you all know.”
Shearer, who later became ambassador to Finland under the Clinton administration after telling Bill and Hillary a “political debt” was owed, described Bush as the Clintons’ “enemy.”
“The only strategy that I know that has a chance of success is: ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK—at all levels, relentlessly, without let-up, from now until election day,” he said.
“The election has to be turned into a referendum on George Bush, not on Bill Clinton as the primary has been all too frequently,” Shearer continued. “Of course, we will do everything we can to make voters comfortable with Bill, to trust and admire him and Hillary, to have confidence in his ideas and abilities, etc.—but the bottom line is that voters who give us victory will be voting against [four] more years of George Bush more than they are voting for Bill Clinton.”
“Everyone should view the general as a War,” he added. “In war, the goal is to defeat your enemy and you marshall [sic] all your resources at hand to do this in a variety of ways.”
The strategy was deployed in 1992, as Clinton confidantes Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer, Derek’s brother, worked to dig up dirt and place attack pieces in the press on Bush and independent candidate Ross Perot. Blumenthal was behind an attack that suggested Perot was anti-Semitic and had hired a private eye to investigate his daughter’s fiancée. …
… Hillary Clinton’s Democratic primary campaign also utilized negative strategies against Barack Obama in 2008.
Clinton’s campaign strategists recommended attacking Obama for his “lack of American roots.” The campaign circulated a “smear photo” of Obama dressed in traditional Muslim garb, and Blumenthal urged a reporter to investigate whether Obama was born in Kenya, according to a former McClatchy Washington Bureau Chief.
Clinton’s current White House run has engaged in a similar attack strategy against Donald Trump. Following the first debate, the Clinton campaign “orchestrated” a “flurry of positive press” about a former Miss Universe said Trump called her fat after she gained 60 pounds in the 1990s.
With just weeks to go before Election Day, the race has been taken over by a series of sexual assault accusations against Trump, after an anonymous source leaked a lewd tape of Trump bragging about kissing and groping women, saying “when you’re a star they let you do it.”