Politics Magazine

Ad Watch

Posted on the 20 October 2014 by Erictheblue


The thing I hate most about political ads is what they reveal about how stupid the campaigns must think we all are.  Take the most recent Mike McFadden ad, which criticizes his opponent, incumbent Democrat Al Franken, for voting with President Obama 97% of the time.  Ninety-seven percent sunny is a great weather forecast, we are told, and a great test score, too, but in Washington it's only "great for gridlock." 

And then the solemn conclusion: Al Franken--the MOST PARTISAN member of the US Senate.  Mike McFadden will quit before he votes with anyone 97% of the time!

Let's just note in passing that only one senator can be the most partisan, and that Franken isn't the only one that Republicans say votes with Obama 97% of the time.  So does Mark Warner of Virginia, according to the GOP.  And then there is Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat from New Hampshire, who supposedly votes with Obama 99% of the time.  By the logic of the ad, doesn't that make her more partisan than Franken?   And what about the GOP senators who would vote against Obama if he wanted to change the White House's vendor for office supplies?  Or can only Dems be "partisan"?  The ad is childish. To the degee it means anything specific, it's also false.

The more brazen lie, it seems to me, concerns the claim that a Democratic senator voting with a Democratic president 97% of the time is "great for gridlock."  Franken is part of a fairly substantial (55-45) Democratic majority in the Senate.  If he and his Democratic colleagues always vote with Obama, that should be a prescription for passing the president's agenda--the opposite of gridlock.  The reason we have gridlock is: (a) the Republicans in the House; and (b) the Republicans in the Senate, who, though a minority, have made promiscuous use of the filibuster to block up-or-dowwn votes on Democratic legislation.  I suppose Exhibit A would be the failure to get a vote, even in the wake of a massacre of 6-year-olds carried out by a disturbed individual in a Connecticut elementary school, on modest resrictions on gun ownerhip that are favored by almost everyone who isn't a member of the NRA.

You couldn't make this ad if you thought there was a chance the target audience has been paying attention.

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