Prop. 8 Lessons
BY Lorri L. Jean
August 03 2010 12:15 PM ET
The lessons to be learned from this new information are crystal clear. First, future campaigns must find a way to preempt the scurrilous “your kids are in danger” appeal. Frustratingly, no campaign for the freedom to marry has succeeded at that.
Second, the ads and other tactics to unequivocally rebut ads that inflame fears about children must be created in advance and used immediately to respond to attacks, no matter what expert consultants or campaign managers say about the necessity for “message discipline” and sticking to the campaign message rather than responding to attacks.
The mistakes made in California (the No on 8 rebuttal ad worked, but it was too little, too late) and in Maine (which failed to explicitly rebut similar attack ads) cannot be repeated. Given the clear evidence and conclusions in the Prop. 8 report, there will never again be any plausible excuse for failing to properly respond to predictable attacks. And that’s the best thing about Fleischer’s report. It provides a road map for future campaigns that, if followed, may get us to victory much sooner than otherwise.
At the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, we’re doing our part to gather the kind of information that will be vital to repealing Prop. 8 and to waging similar campaigns across the country. Since January of 2009 we have been leading the effort to actually talk to people who voted to pass Prop. 8.