Democrats tried “Muhammad Ali” approach in September

posted at 12:55 pm on October 18, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

In 1974, Muhammad Ali employed the “rope a dope” strategy to defeat George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle, the heavyweight title fight in which Ali recovered his championship.  The strategy called for Ali to cover up on the ropes and let Foreman punch until he got so arm-weary that Foreman couldn’t defend himself.  It took eight rounds for Ali to get Foreman exhausted, and he knocked Foreman out as soon as Foreman’s arms dropped.

Democrats now claim that they wanted to take September off and allow the GOP to get arm-weary, overspending and leaving themselves vulnerable to a late-round KO:

House Democrats have taken a page from Muhammad Ali and planned a rope-a-dope strategy for the midterm election, hoping it can save their majority.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) decided to let its Republican counterpart outspend it on political ads during the crucial month of September.

Now the DCCC has a big advantage in cash on hand to counterpunch Republican candidates in October. But will it be too late? TV time will become more expensive and the airwaves will be cluttered with third-party-funded advertising.

The problem with a rope-a-dope strategy is that you have to be Muhammad Ali to make it succeed (although you can also be Manny Pacquiao, too).  Otherwise, you run the risk of losing all the early rounds, just to find out that your opponent has just as much gas in the tank as you do.  And, in fact, that’s exactly what happened, according to Politico:

A long roster of House Democratic incumbents found themselves outraised by GOP challengers during the third quarter — the latest sign that cash is following Republican momentum just weeks from the midterms.

At least 40 Democrats took in less cash than their opponents — a list that ranges from vulnerable freshmen like Alabama’s Bobby Bright, Mississippi’s Travis Childers, and Nevada’s Dina Titus to more senior members like Nick Rahall of West Virginia and Paul Kanjorski of Pennsylvania.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Republican challenger outraised her by more than 3-to-1, taking in more than $1.1 million over the past three months. John Dennis, the Ron Paul-backed GOP nominee running against Pelosi in her liberal San Francisco-based district, raised roughly five times as much as he collected in the previous quarter, tapping into resentment against the leader of the Democratic majority in the House.

The development comes at a time when GOP outside groups are already far outspending Democratic-aligned organizations. This week, the Karl Rove-linked American Crossroads and a collection of affiliated Republican-friendly organizations announced they would spend more than $50 million on TV ads slamming House Democrats. The National Republican Congressional Committee, meanwhile, has announced that it plans to expand its TV ad campaign to $50 million as it attempts to expand the number of Democratic targets.

That isn’t just limited to the House, either:

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee may have posted a record fundraising quarter that lapped its Republican rivals, but in the field, it’s a complete reversal of fortune.

Republican Senate candidates entered the final month of the campaign with at least $16 million more to spend than their Democratic opponents, according to a POLITICO review of campaign finance data in the top 20 Senate races.

GOP-ers in these marquee contests had more than $50 million left in the bank to spend entering the month of October, compared with the combined $33.6 million for their Democratic opponents.

The suggestion that taking September was an offense-driven strategic decision is laughable on its face.  The DCCC, and Democrats in general, had to consider how to make the best use of their limited amount of funds.  If they had the means, they would have engaged all through September and October.  They needed to do triage, which is why they have cut some incumbents loose and pulled ads from their markets.  It’s a defensive, not offensive, strategy.

It’s not a bad decision, even if driven by necessity.  October is a more critical month than September, although giving that month to the GOP has put them far behind on points in this bout.  They’ll need about sixty knockouts in the final two rounds, and right now, it looks as though the GOP has its hands up and is still pressing the attack while Democrats remain on the ropes.  The Democrats look a lot more like Randall “Tex” Cobb than Muhammad Ali.


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Problem with this strategy — Ali was a Republican! :)

Paul-Cincy on October 18, 2010 at 12:57 PM

momma say knock you out

cmsinaz on October 18, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Rope-A-Dope? They got the ‘dope’ part right…

joejm65 on October 18, 2010 at 12:58 PM

A long roster of House Democratic incumbents found themselves outraised by GOP challengers during the third quarter — the latest sign that cash is following Republican momentum just weeks from the midterms.

arms….not dropping.

ted c on October 18, 2010 at 12:58 PM

The ‘rats are going to spring their final strategy during the 13th round, you’ll see.

Bishop on October 18, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Trouble is, this time, George Foreman is hitting Ali with a battle-axe, a hammer, and a club. Meanwhile, Ali is also shooting himself in the foot.

ted c on October 18, 2010 at 12:59 PM

early voting has already started in half the country…

boneheads

cmsinaz on October 18, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Feels more like the Mohammed Atta approach.

The Mega Independent on October 18, 2010 at 1:00 PM

The thing is, with early voting in a lot of states, the next two weeks won’t matter as much, ad-wise. I’ve already voted.

ladyingray on October 18, 2010 at 1:01 PM

Sounds like the dopes are getting roped, all right. Keep stepping on yourselves, Dems. :)

CantCureStupid on October 18, 2010 at 1:01 PM

More like “dope-on-a-rope”…

Khun Joe on October 18, 2010 at 1:01 PM

There is a noose at the end of their rope-a-dope.

Vashta.Nerada on October 18, 2010 at 1:03 PM

The strategist said party officials had expected the DCCC to spend on a barrage of ads that would knock Republican candidates down in the polls.
===============================

A Blitzkrieg me thinks!!

canopfor on October 18, 2010 at 1:04 PM

They now sound like the modern-day Ali. Punch-drunk with slurred speech.

JammieWearingFool on October 18, 2010 at 1:04 PM

The democrats are trying to play Dodge the Train. Somebody should tell them that game doesn’t work when you’re in a Tunnel.

portlandon on October 18, 2010 at 1:04 PM

So this is, as with everything else is all apart of their grand design? Their delusions knows no bounds. They are not in control … the tidal wave is a comin’.

30 pcs of silver on October 18, 2010 at 1:07 PM

Are we gonna see D-Con 4-Gone commercials now?

Lanceman on October 18, 2010 at 1:08 PM

The ACME ROPE COMPANY is pleased to release a
statement in regarding,Operation Rope/Dope!!

Well placed ACME Agents thrawted this operation,
being Rope Special Forces!!(snark).

canopfor on October 18, 2010 at 1:08 PM

All the Dems have now is soap on a rope.

SlaveDog on October 18, 2010 at 1:08 PM

Careful using any type of rope as a metaphor with the current Cry Baby in Chief… Please no on camera Joe Bit-me moments from the good guys.

RalphyBoy on October 18, 2010 at 1:08 PM

Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A D

Christien on October 18, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Some Democrats have come out punching hard in October.

Punching the president and his policies.

forest on October 18, 2010 at 1:10 PM

The ‘rats are going to spring their final strategy during the 13th round, you’ll see.

Bishop on October 18, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Bishop:)
———–

“Is that the best you got”!
– Bob Schieffer

canopfor on October 18, 2010 at 1:11 PM

Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A D

Christien on October 18, 2010 at 1:10 PM

More like ‘Float like a butterfly, stings like when I pee’.

Lanceman on October 18, 2010 at 1:11 PM

I thought they were trying Guiliani’s 2008 strategy: let the other guys fight it out for a while and then enter the ring just in time for certain defeat.

LastRick on October 18, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A D

Christien on October 18, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Christien: I knew that phrase,accept the (D),
well played!:)

canopfor on October 18, 2010 at 1:13 PM

It worked for Rocky, too.

reaganaut on October 18, 2010 at 1:13 PM

All the Dems have now is soap on a rope.

SlaveDog on October 18, 2010 at 1:08 PM

Barney Frank is pissed about that.

Extrafishy on October 18, 2010 at 1:13 PM

More like ‘Float like a butterfly, stings like when I pee’.

Lanceman on October 18, 2010 at 1:11 PM

LOLz!!

ted c on October 18, 2010 at 1:13 PM

Float like a butterfly; sting like a good, solid B+

Abby Adams on October 18, 2010 at 1:13 PM

Christien on October 18, 2010 at 1:10 PM

More like ‘Float like a butterfly, stings like when I pee’.

Lanceman on October 18, 2010 at 1:11 PM

Lanceman: Lol,you is bad,haha!:)

canopfor on October 18, 2010 at 1:14 PM

LOL…well said, Ed…the dems definitely aren’t Ali…

DCJeff on October 18, 2010 at 1:14 PM

Barney Frank is pissed about that.

Extrafishy on October 18, 2010 at 1:13 PM

he’s partial towards the powdered variety..

harder to pickup

ted c on October 18, 2010 at 1:14 PM

They now sound like the modern-day Ali. Punch-drunk with slurred speech.

JammieWearingFool on October 18, 2010 at 1:04 PM

side effects of a KoolAid hangover.

ted c on October 18, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Float like a butterfly; sting like a good, solid B+

Abby Adams on October 18, 2010 at 1:13 PM

Hahahahaha!

Lanceman on October 18, 2010 at 1:15 PM

The Democrats should hold fire until November 3rd…and then REALLY start to punch back!!

Justrand on October 18, 2010 at 1:16 PM

I believe it was Eric Heiden who once said, “if you’re in the lead, you know where everyone else is.” By the way, Randall “Tex” Cobb at one time trained a Joe Frazier’s Gym in Philly.

Tommy_G on October 18, 2010 at 1:16 PM

Riiiiiiight. Sure that’s your strategy.

dczombie on October 18, 2010 at 1:16 PM

More like ‘Float like a butterfly, stings like when I pee’.

Lanceman on October 18, 2010 at 1:11 PM

LOL! Almost had to clean stew off the keyboard!

Dark-Star on October 18, 2010 at 1:17 PM

“Is that the best you got”!
– Bob Schieffer

canopfor on October 18, 2010 at 1:11 PM

Can you prove it isn’t?

Lily on October 18, 2010 at 1:17 PM

JammieWearingFool on October 18, 2010 at 1:04 PM
======================
side effects of a KoolAid hangover.

ted c on October 18, 2010 at 1:15 PM

ted c: Reminds me of the Tip Over Guam Island Guy!!:)
———————————————————-

3-25-2010_Hank_Johnson_Guam_Tip_Over.wmv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNZczIgVXjg

canopfor on October 18, 2010 at 1:17 PM

Float like a butterfly; sting like a good, solid B+

Abby Adams on October 18, 2010 at 1:13 PM

Win! Dammit.

Christien on October 18, 2010 at 1:18 PM

I think many Republicans are going to be more like Gene Tunney. They might be lower profile but they’ll get the knockout in the end.

Elastic Jordan on October 18, 2010 at 1:18 PM

Waiting for the Democrats to employ the ultimate liberal strategy the one to preserve their self-esteem where their will be no winners.

fourdeucer on October 18, 2010 at 1:19 PM

canopfor on October 18, 2010 at 1:11 PM
=================
Can you prove it isn’t?

Lily on October 18, 2010 at 1:17 PM

Lily: Can you give me till Nov 2,to collect more Liveral
idiotcys,haha!!:)

canopfor on October 18, 2010 at 1:19 PM

Well the Demrats have unleashed their dream team in recent days!
The skinny armed “Cousin Eddie” mimicing, Dear Reader (rope), and his sidekick Bite-Me (dope) have fanned out cross the country to rabble rouse in Demrat strong holds and entitlement havens like Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, Madison, but they are merely defending the most secure areas of their voter base not venturing into areas that would protect their majority saving.

they are defending the taker base not advancing into the producer suburbs that pay for their folly, thus EPIC FAILURE AGAIN!

dhunter on October 18, 2010 at 1:20 PM

I think they’re trying the Tyson Strategy. When you’re behind, bite your opponent in the ear and claim it was a punch.

PackerBronco on October 18, 2010 at 1:20 PM

Looks like others watched ‘Ali’ on ION-TV this weekend. Not a bad movie, I have to check around this week and see how much of it was true.

slickwillie2001 on October 18, 2010 at 1:21 PM

The ‘rats are going to spring their final strategy during the 13th round, you’ll see.

Bishop on October 18, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Thats what I’m afeared of!
Its not how the votes are taken its’ how they are tallied…13th round!

dhunter on October 18, 2010 at 1:22 PM

I think they may be using the Sonny Liston approach.

Lanceman on October 18, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Hey, D’rats! How’s that Hope-a-Dope strategy workin’ out for you?

cartooner on October 18, 2010 at 1:23 PM

I think Phil Collins said it best when he said….

Well I was there and I saw what you did
I saw it with my own two eyes
So you can wipe off that grin
Know where you’ve been
It’s all been a pack of lies

And I can feel it comin’ in the air tonight

stldave on October 18, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Democrats are going to get beat like a rented mule, anyone who believes anything they, must be one of their sucker voters.

NoDonkey on October 18, 2010 at 1:25 PM

Ugh,thats Liberal,not Liveral!

canopfor on October 18, 2010 at 1:25 PM

canopfor on October 18, 2010 at 1:19 PM

You can have all the time you want. But I bet some of their “best work” will come after the election…looking forward to seeing them in all their full-throated glory!

Lily on October 18, 2010 at 1:27 PM

It’s only rope a dope if you drop the soap! IYKWIMAITYD!

Blake on October 18, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Democrats tried “Muhammad Ali” approach in September

Converting to Islam?

zmdavid on October 18, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Funny business with Chicago absentee ballots
In Chicago ? … no way

J_Crater on October 18, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Dems: THROW THE DAMNED TOWEL!

Christien on October 18, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Converting to Islam?

zmdavid on October 18, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Did that in Nov 2008!

dhunter on October 18, 2010 at 1:29 PM

The Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman approach in September and the Mike Tyson vs Evander Holyfield approach in October.

If you can’t beat ‘em, EAT ‘EM!

ted c on October 18, 2010 at 1:31 PM

In 1967, during the Vietnam War, when he received his draft notice, instead of employing one of many well known methods to avoid the draft, Ali announced publicly that he refused induction, again with a rhyme: “Keep asking, no matter how long. On the war in Vietnam I sing this song, I ain’t got no quarrel with the Vietcong.”

This strategy didn’t work out so well either.

fourdeucer on October 18, 2010 at 1:32 PM

Fine, the Dems have a bunch of money to throw into ads this month. The question then becomes, what are they going to advertise? Their achievements?

Negative campaigning against GOP candidates? That never works as a general campaign strategy.

frode on October 18, 2010 at 1:34 PM

The strategy was sound but the voters never bought into it.

technopeasant on October 18, 2010 at 1:35 PM

In 1974, Muhammad Ali employed the “rope a dope” strategy to defeat George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle, the heavyweight title fight in which Ali recovered his championship. The strategy called for Ali to cover up on the ropes and let Foreman punch until he got so arm-weary that Foreman couldn’t defend himself. It took eight rounds for Ali to get Foreman exhausted, and he knocked Foreman out as soon as Foreman’s arms dropped.

I remember this distinctly. I was about ten years old, and I remember my mother yelling at the TV during the fight. She knew what Ali was trying to do and thought it was very unsportsmanlike.

I had never realized it before, but my mom had been a HUGE boxing fan since she was a little girl. She had 4 older brothers who were really into it.

If you knew my mother, you’d find this amusing. She’s under 5 ft tall and a very sweet, warm, gentle person.

UltimateBob on October 18, 2010 at 1:35 PM

Dems: THROW THE DAMNED TOWEL!

Christien on October 18, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Christien:Tee-hee,you is on a roll!!

canopfor on October 18, 2010 at 1:36 PM

It’s only rope a dope if you drop the soap! IYKWIMAITYD!

Blake on October 18, 2010 at 1:28 PM

In other words, BOHICA!!!!!

As in Bend Over, Here It Comes Again!

pilamaye on October 18, 2010 at 1:37 PM

A lot of these races are ones that SHOULD have been no-contests.

If an unknown candidate doesn’t come within striking distance of an incumbent by October, then his funding and support would dry up.

Letting your opponent build up a head of steam is basically the dumbest strategy imaginable for any incumbent candidate.

logis on October 18, 2010 at 1:46 PM

Funny business with Chicago absentee ballots
In Chicago ? … no way

J_Crater on October 18, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Its’ not how the votes are takin its how they are tallied and if the Demrats think they are gonna steal this one well theres’ only one option left!

Second Amendment!

dhunter on October 18, 2010 at 1:47 PM

Linda McMahon (R) candidate for Connecticut Senate “Let’s Get Ready To Rumble” At least the Republicans came prepared with someone who knows how it’s going it goes down :)

Dr Evil on October 18, 2010 at 1:48 PM

The biggest problem with that strategy is early voting. I am not sure exactly how many states have early voting but the state I live in is all mail in with the possible exception of a couple counties so opinions are formed in September and ballots cast in mid October ( I have already mailed my form back in) In instances like that any ads in mid to late October would be a waste anyway

JKotthoff on October 18, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Dems will try the Joe Frazier approach in January.

Christien on October 18, 2010 at 1:48 PM

The strategy was sound but the voters never bought into it.

technopeasant on October 18, 2010 at 1:35 PM

It was completely unsound. It works in situations, like boxing, when new resources cannot enter, so you make the opponent use up your resources while you conserve yours then attack.

Campaigning is the opposite. The more momentum you have, the more the resources flow in. It’s more like the game of Risk.

pedestrian on October 18, 2010 at 2:00 PM

They look more like Jerry Quarry…

Barry has a glass jaw, and their version of PED is black-tar heroin…

phreshone on October 18, 2010 at 2:03 PM

Giuliani, you magnificent bastard!

ya2daup on October 18, 2010 at 2:09 PM

They can say it’s been like Foreman-Ali.

On Election Night, it’s going to look like Tyson-Spinks.

wildweasel on October 18, 2010 at 2:11 PM

canopfor on October 18, 2010 at 1:19 PM
=========================
You can have all the time you want. But I bet some of their “best work” will come after the election…looking forward to seeing them in all their full-throated glory!

Lily on October 18, 2010 at 1:27 PM

Lily: A Meltdown!!:)

canopfor on October 18, 2010 at 2:11 PM

All the Dems have now is soap on a rope.

SlaveDog on October 18, 2010 at 1:08 PM

And instead of Rahm Emanuel to help, it’s Bawney Fwank.

Yikes!!!11!

Ogabe on October 18, 2010 at 2:12 PM

Actually, Ali simply refined it. Rocky Marciano was famous for letting his opponents just punch away at his face, and when they eventually waned, he took ‘em out.

LooseCannon on October 18, 2010 at 2:24 PM

Seems to be working on Rossi. His campaign seems worn out to me. :-(

starboardhelm on October 18, 2010 at 2:29 PM

The problem with a rope-a-dope strategy is that you have to be Muhammad Ali to make it succeed

It worked for Rocky too (Rocky III).

Democrats tried “Muhammad Ali” approach in September

Converting to Islam?

zmdavid on October 18, 2010 at 1:28 PM

That made my day!

mankai on October 18, 2010 at 2:45 PM

Rope a dope?

Well, we’ve given these dopes enough rope…in fifteen days we all get to pull on that rope.

Gonna be a hangin’ in town, it appears…lots of hangin’s. Wrong time to be a Dem politician in America is seems. They are already eating their own young.

coldwarrior on October 18, 2010 at 2:51 PM

If I wanted to see two Democrats fight, I’d throw a trillion-dollar bill out my window.
/mad men reference

andycanuck on October 18, 2010 at 3:05 PM

More like Dopers on the Ropes.

rayra on October 18, 2010 at 3:45 PM

Not Rope a Dope.
Soap on a Rope.

Grunt on October 18, 2010 at 6:48 PM