Friday, July 16, 2010

Of politics and misrepresentation

I'm still trying to get my head around this one. CNN reports:

Beginning in May, a group called Iowans for Responsible Government spent over three quarters of a million dollars on television ads and mailers lumping Republican gubernatorial candidate Terry Branstad in with "liberal" politicians like President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Bill Clinton.

Branstad at the time was engaged in a GOP primary fight against conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats, a race he won on June 8 by 10 points.

Citing Branstad's record on taxes when he last served as Iowa governor in the eighties and nineties, one mailer from the group blared: "Liberal Terry Branstad would make Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi proud."

. . .

Now it turns out that the campaign casting Republican Branstad and national Democrats in an unfavorable light was funded by – surprise! - those very same national Democrats.

According to a disclosure report filed this week with the IRS, the group was funded entirely by the Democratic Governors Association, which is backing Gov. Chet Culver's re-election bid. The DGA spent $782,500 on the effort to rattle Branstad.

There's more at the link.

This is almost too weird for words. The Democratic Governors Association spent more than three-quarters of a million dollars in a largely conservative state to emphasize that President Obama and Speaker Pelosi are liberals? Not only that, they've portrayed the Republican candidate for Governor as someone for whom Democrats could vote in good conscience?

I can't see that the DGA has done anything but shoot itself, and the Democratic Party as a whole, in the foot . . . or am I missing something?



Brad J (Kazrak) said...

Probably: the ads were largely targeted toward Republicans, so that (until this came out, which I'm relatively sure the Democrats neither wanted nor expected) they wouldn't hit the independents. Their hope was to get a more conservative Republican candidate in order to claim the middle ground and win the state.

This isn't actually an uncommon idea in general, although it's rare for it to go to this extreme or be run by the party itself. (See also Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" in the 2008 Democratic primaries for President.)

This will probably now backfire on them spectacularly, however. Not only have they not succeeded in getting the conservative the nomination, they've lost a lot of respect and trust. (Yes, I know, they're politicians, but there are still folks who might have respected and/or trusted them.) And they've wasted a bunch of money, which will probably be hard to replace now.

Old NFO said...

AND they have outed themselves... Gotta love it :-)

jbrock said...

Both sides do this. As I understand it, the recent successful drive to get the Green Party on the ballot in Texas(!) was funded and operated by Republicans--although, to be fair, it wasn't by any official organ of the GOP. That's what makes the DGA's "strategy" so laughable: the utter lack of concern for plausible deniability. And these people see themselves as political operators? Sheesh.