But not everyone seems to think that's the best approach. Just ask Patrick Haddon.
While Haddon is doing double-duty as the 1st Vice-Chair of the SCGOP and Chair of the Greenville County GOP, he obviously still has time on his hands. To help occupy some of that time, he took a different approach to crisis PR, working to drag others into the mess created by Senator Knotts' commentary, namely Congressman Joe Wilson and his wife:
"I also call upon all Republicans endorsed by Senator Knotts to refuse his endorsement, and all Republicans who have endorsed Knotts to withdraw their endorsements," Haddon said. "I especially call on our great congressman, Rep. Joe Wilson, to withdraw his endorsement of Senator Knotts, and on Roxanne Wilson to resign as Knotts' campaign manager."
In case Haddon wants to know a few things about public relations, yours truly has taught and written on public relations and is employed in the field. Here are some basic tips in Crisis PR management from a public relations website that Haddon should have read before taking shots at the Wilson family:
First, the crisis management team would try to stop the bleeding. To "stop the bleeding" is to do the very minimal, basic things that are required in keeping a bad situation from becoming worse. In the event of a political scandal, a crisis management team would attempt to keep rumors from going wild. They'd want, in other words, for news agencies and other media outlets just to stick to the facts (what is known) about the case and not to engage in speculation or to believe the comments of the politician's enemies.
In this instance, "running wild" would entail fueling speculation and getting others caught in the crossfire of an unfortunate situation. By naming Joe and Roxanne Wilson, Haddon may well have given ammuntion to Joe's opposition. It's also worth noting that since Knotts has two more years on his Senatorial term, it's highly unlikely that Mrs. Wilson is involved with managing campaign efforts for the Senator.
He also has opened himself up to speculation that his real target was AG candidate Alan Wilson. As his comments were directed at more than one member of the Wilson family, it would be worth asking who Haddon is supporting, or did support, in the Attorney General race.
Further, while Haddon complains that he "cannot sit idly by and watch our Party be torn apart by Senator Jake Knotts' bigotry", it seems that Republicans were pretty much unified in repudiating those remarks. Instead of showing leadership, it seems that he was simply trying to score political points, with little or no concern for any collateral damage.
Real leaders work to pull their team up - not drag others into the mud. As a leader in the SCGOP, Haddon had an obligation to be thoughtful in his remarks and protect fellow Republicans. While his efforts to join the political bandwagon in speaking out against Knotts, his ill-advised and potentially damaging comments certainly displayed a lack of leadership.
Haddon seems quick to hold Knotts accountable for his rash remarks, but perhaps he should hold himself accountable for his own rash commetary first.