Between the memo's drafting and its release to the media, RedState editor emeritus Erick Erickson published the latest entry into the "wither Rand Paul" genre. ("Rand Paul, It Is Time to Take Your Campaign Out Back and Shoot It.") Clearly, something needed to be done.
"Since the last debate, SRP [Senator Rand Paul] has moved up three spots in the polls," wrote Englander. "The two most recent polls determining who makes the next debate-conducted by CBS and Fox -- had SRP outpolling Christie and Kasich. SRP is well within the criteria for the next debate-no question, he will be on the stage.
"Moreover, earlier this month Reuters -- which independent analysts called the most accurate pollster of the last presidential election -- had SRP in fifth place ahead of Rubio, Cruz, and others," he added. "Although the criteria to make the cut for the next debate requires a 2.5% average in the polls, you never read anything about Christie, who currently sits at 1.9% in the RCP average of polls. The media is fixated on insisting that SRP should get out of the race even though he continues to win every time votes are counted and the polls show him on the rise."
The data were true, but the "strategy memo" does not have a storied history. Drafted to look like backroom advice, they often reiterate the narratives of a struggling campaign. In November 2014, for example, the campaign of then-Rep. Carol Shea-Porter released a memo insisting that "Shea-Porter enjoys a consistent lead over Tea Party Republican Frank Guinta in the polls, with independents and undeclared voters steadily swinging her way over the past weeks." Guinta won the election. In October of that year, Larry Lessig's Mayday PAC released a "state of the race" memo telling reporters that its spending had turned the re-election race of Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) into a nail-biter. "As we enter the final days of this campaign, it looks like MAYDAY’s work and Upton’s unforced errors may results in a surprising result on Election Day," wrote Lessig. Upton won; an undaunted Lessig is now running for president.