Friday, July 16, 2010

Ads of the Damned: Ron Johnson, "Feingold Mud"

Ron Johnson's campaign deserves credit for a quick turnaround on the great lakes drilling issue. Unfortunately the ad they cobbled together isn't very strong. A much better rebuttal would have been Johnson himself standing along Lake Michigan talking about how much he values the water blah blah blah. Instead we get a run-of-the-mill attack ad.

The brilliance of Feingold's ad is that it was a very strong attack ad without actually seeming like one. There was no candid photo of Johnson in bad lighting or eating children, etc. In fact, Johnson was basically represented by a nebulous oil slick. Johnson's rebuttal is remarkably pedestrian: a female narrator tut-tutting Feingold over stock footage. We've seen this all before. In fact, we've seen this so many times that ads like this are the reason most people hate political advertising.

The ad also barely passes the fact-check test thanks to some dodgy semantics. One of the reasons "drilling in the Great Lakes is already illegal" was courtesy of legislation that Feingold did vote for. The bill the ad cites was an energy bill that came to a Senate vote years later. The Associated Press calls Johnson's ad "misleading," adding:
The Republican's criticism is misleading. It implies that Feingold didn't want to protect the lakes. In fact, it was Feingold who co-sponsored the 2001 measure that enacted the temporary ban. Feingold voted against the 2005 measure because it wasn't substantive enough, he has said. [via JC]
It's also the fourth TV spot in a row to feature Johnson wearing his now trademark safety goggles. The Democrats should find someone more clever (and sober) than I am to come up with an idea that uses safety goggles like the Bush/Cheney '04 team used flip-flops to grand effect. Right now the only thing I can think of involves beer goggles, but that's because I've been drinking since noon.

Final Grade: D+


CJ said...

All Feingold needs to do is throw RJ's quote on the wall and it sticks, regardless of what fast footy shuffle RoJo does.

He's still not talking to the media rgarding his postitions.

Anonymous said...

What does RoJo have to hide? He's not going to win an election by not telling his positions. Some of his loyal subjects may be naive enough to fall for this tactic but it won't be enough to carry him to Washington. DON'T GIVE UP THAT DAY JOB ROJO.

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