Sunday, November 7, 2010

Aqua Buddha: The Prequel

The Courier-Journal has two columns today that explain Jack Conway's decision-making process for ending his political career with the Aqua Buddha ad.

From Al Cross, we learn that Conway never showed the ad to his political mentor, Crit Luallen. (She also chaired Conway's campaign.) According to Cross, Conway described the ad to Luallen and told her he was very uncomfortable with it. Luallen advised Conway that if he had doubts about the ad, he should listen to his instincts. Instead, Conway listened to his consultants.

The C-J also includes a reprise from David Hawpe (remember him?). Hawpe retired from the C-J and has been volunteering on the Conway campaign. No surprise there.

But get this: Hawpe got to preview the Aqua Buddha ad before it was aired. Conway did not show this ad -- about which he had doubts -- with his political mentor and campaign chair, but he did show it to one of his volunteers, David Hawpe.

Hawpe wrote about Kentucky politics for 40 years. He of all people should have foreseen the reaction the ad was sure to evoke. But apparently he did not, and now he is trying to justify the ad for posterity.

Hawpe said he thought the ad was "rough but OK. Still do." He then offers a post hoc rationalization of why the ad was less "odious" than other things done or said by various politicians.

Hawpe states that he is "not prepared to say whether using it was a good tactical decision."

Please. It was obvious the instant it aired that the Conway campaign was done. Conway must have served some strong Kool-Aid to his volunteers.

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