Tuesday, July 1, 2008

DCCC Overplay

As a rule of thumb, I pretty much hate cookie cutter political attack ads. Having listened to it, I can say such is the case with the DCCC's Big Oil attack against Representative Scott Garrett. Now I don't have access to the focus groups that said this ad was a good idea, but here's why I think it could backfire.

First, Garrett's become a media darling. He's getting to go on with Blitzer and Cavuto and who knows who else by the end of the week, and talk about how he's being attacked because the Democrats don't have a plan. Here's Garrett's usual comment about the Democrats and energy:
You may recall that when Democrats were campaigning for the 110th Congress, they said that they had a commonsense solution to lower the price of gasoline and energy for the American public. And we are now 18 months , I think, into the 110th Congress. And, well, there is absolutely nothing in the Democrat's plan.

He said that as part of an after hours speech at 9:15 PM on June 11. I don't even know if C-SPAN still covers floor speeches that are unrelated to legislative action, and I'm a political junkie to some degree. Would the average voter have heard it? Unlikely. Among other things Garrett was up against a great episode of Deal or No Deal. However now, Garrett gets to repeat his stance unchecked (because they've already attacked him) and have it rebroadcast to a substantially larger audience at all hours of the day.

Second, they bought ad time on WABC (as well as two stations in Sussex). I'm sure those listening to Limbaugh, Hannity, and Levin are the supply/demand disciples who already see Garrett as a hero and his fight to open drilling off the Jersey Shore as a noble cause. 1010 WINS or 880 WCBS could work, but WABC? I guess since Garrett's told his regular core donors he's worried about Dennis Shulman, the DCCC wanted to put those who might donate to Garrett on notice that he needs their cash.

Third, it reeks of the stereotypical political attack that the average voter doesn't want to see this Election cycle. In a year where change and a new kind of politics are in order, we're listening to an ad that simply offers a generalized attack. We're burned out from this junk. People want solutions.
There's more, but I have to head out. I've written a bunch of times (scroll down) about Garrett's poor stand on energy. However, instead of taking the time to really educate voters about Garrett's record the DCCC went the easy, boring, and unproductive politics as usual way.

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