The Anti-Bambi Vote

Having mocked Charles Krauthammer’s plea to Mitt Romney to “go large” in the remainder of the presidential contest, I should probably note the other extreme to which Team Mitt seems to be going to micro-target battleground state voters. MoJo’s Tim Murphy has a report on a strange mailer being sent to certain Virginia voters:

[I]t turns out that Romney has, over the last few months, actually made Lyme disease—the bacterial disease transmitted to humans from deer ticks—part of his pitch to suburban Virginia voters. It started back in August, when he sent a public letter (paid for by the campaign) to Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) commending him for his push to create a “Tick-Borne Diseases Advisory Committee.” “More needs to be done,” Romney wrote. “As president, I will work to ensure that more attention is focused on this important issue … We need to ensure that all scientific viewpoints concerning this illness can be heard.”

Murphy goes on to explain there has been an obscure battle underway in scientific and public health communities over the causes (one of which appears to be, ironically, climate change), dangers and ameliorative efforts associated with Lyme’s disease, which is perceived as a particular issue in some Virginia suburbs where deer have lately been appearing to munch on gardens and shrubs. And he gets this fine quote from the ever-ready Virginia-based pundit Larry Sabato: “VA is home to some Lyme disease, but I would never have guessed that it was a presidential level issue!”

I dunno. I vaguely recall way back in the day reading the first chapter or two of some right-wing political fiction potboiler in which one of the subplots was the constant menace to the D.C. area of deer unleashed by environmentalists and animal-rights advocates. Maybe the Romney campaign believes there is an anti-Bambi vote to be harvested, in conjunction with its efforts to inflame southwest Virginia voters with anger towards environmentalists over coal policies. If I somehow get bored on Election Night, maybe I’ll pay some attention to voting patterns in Prince William, Fauquier and Stafford Counties. But it sure looks like the Romney campaign is taking small-ball tactics to an unusual extreme.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.