Last week, I wrote a blog entry about Brad Dayspring, the strategist for the National Republican Senate Committee who had criticized Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes for appearing in gun photo without proper safety gear, only to tweet himself doing the same two months later.
First, a note about the fails that we feature here: making a mistake it doesn’t make you a bad person. More often then not, it’s a momentary lapse in judgment. I’ve always been a big believer that it’s not the screw-up that reveals character, but the aftermath. If you give a genuine apology and move on, I think most people say, “Okay, fine, they screwed up, but it happens.”
That being said, Brad Dayspring spent the day after the picture first emerged running a clinic on how NOT to respond.
In his quote to the Huffington Post about the issue, Dayspring took (partial) responsibility for the lack of safety gear and pivoted the interview to an attack on Grimes: “I am wearing ear protection, and both Alison Lundergan Grimes and I should have been wearing eyes,” he told HuffPost. “Everyone should wear protection when shooting, especially elected officials and public figures who serve as examples for the greater public. Hopefully Alison Lundergan Grimes can admit and acknowledge the same.” Personally, I think a real apology would have come without an attack on Grimes, but he’s a campaign guy and found that necessary, so fine, whatever.
The story should have died there. Dayspring took responsibility and admitted he made a mistake. But the story continued, at least on Twitter, because of…Dayspring. He spent a good chunk of time on the day that the Huffington story appeared responding to tweets attacking him…because………?
This is a terrible response on a couple of levels. First, why? Seriously, why? So Democratic partisans are going to attack a Republican strategist…so what? There’s literally no need for Dayspring to respond, yet he is.
Second, every tweet that Dayspring sends is less Social Media focus on Dayspring’s job: enhancing Republican Senate candidates and attacking Dmeocratic ones. Look at the rest of Dayspring’s Twitter feed. It’s replete with attacks on Democrats and defenses of Republican Senators and their positions, as it should be – that’s Dayspring’s job. But he’s gone ridiculously off message by picking a fight with people attacking him on Twitter for no good reason. He should just ignore the tweets.
Third, every time Dayspring responds to someone, he keeps the story in the consciousness of at least some. Maybe no other media outlet is writing about how Dayspring is still, more or less, defending his actions, but it could very easily happen. Does Dayspring want another story about how he tweeted his own hypocrisy?
Fourth, with every tweet, Dayspring increases the odds that he says something else stupid. People (understandably) get emotional when responding to personal attacks. What happens if Dayspring loses his cool and sends out something stupid? You have another story, and maybe a worse one.
When you make a mistake, you are supposed to apologize and move on. Sure, you should make yourself accessible to your constituents, and answer questions in a calm, civilized manner, but when people are just attacking you in an insulting manner (as, honestly, most of the tweets Dayspring responded to are), you ignore them. By responding, you look childish, and if you are Dayspring, you take attention away from your candidates and onto yourself. This is the last thing any good campaign staffer should want.