Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Politricks 101: Dirt, Water and a Catapult

I’m watching CNN this morning and the news is interrupted with a negative commercial aired by Jeff Flake, the “R” campaigning for US Senate to replace Senator John Kyle.  Flake is running against the “D,” former Surgeon General, Richard Carmona.
            JEFF FLAKE:              I’m Jeff Flake, and I approved this message.
VOICE OVER:          
Richard Carmona talks a lot about his bio.
But what’s missing?
VO:                           Carmona's bio doesn't say while he ran the Pima County Health System,
                                             their debt
 ran up to $46 million.
            VO:                          A jump of 28% in one year.
Immediately following this commercial, a new commercial for Carmona airs and begins with “I’m Richard Carmona and I approve of this message.”  The rest of his commercial doesn’t really matter, because to anyone listening, Carmona just approved the negative ad paid for by his opponent.
I blame John McCain and Russ Finegold.  In 2002 the two sponsored the “Stand By Your Ad” provision (SBYA) of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), requiring candidates for federal political office, as well as special interest groups and political parties supporting or opposing a candidate, to include in political advertisements on TV and radio a statement by the candidate that identifies the candidate and states that he/she/it approves the communication.
McCain and Finegold had a good idea, but erred in not requiring the disclaimer be at the end of the commercial or at least requiring stations to give adequate separation to political commercials. 
 Ganging” is what we called it in the old days.  Not to be confused with Gangnam (which is different horse entirely). 
Of course it’s entirely possible that McCain and Finegold misguidedly thought future candidates would have the sense to find out what commercials would air before and after their own (or maybe someone on Flake’s campaign staff discovered who to tip to ensure commercial placement).
In Arizona, the race between Flake and Carmona is as hot as the weather, well financed on both sides, and NEGATIVE.  But Flake won the primary over Wil Cardon, whose family owns a whole lot of Subways, Dunkin’Donuts and oil wells.  Cardon spent more than $6 million of his own money, much of it on negative ads.  The votes Cardon received cost a record $25 each (proving negative ads don’t always work). 
National Democrats have so far dedicated more than a million dollars to Carmona’s coffers.  National Republicans have countered with a contribution of $570,000 earmarked for a commercial that says Carmona is “handpicked by Obama.”  It seems like a waste of advertising dollars, because “handpicked by Obama” is unlikely to have any sway on voters who already oppose Obama, and it might give Obama supporters the reason they need to vote for Carmona.
Still, as far as mudslinging goes, it's on the lite side ... so far.

1 comment:

  1. "The Negative Add up". Hi David, this is great, I know we just became friends so you wouldn't have seen my FB post yesterday, my view of a 'broken system' that needs total rethinking. I created a graphic illustration, seven-ten letter words (most of them from Brave New Word) that give another perspective on the words we think we know. I want to know what you think. I will send you the image via e-mail.