The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


As regular readers no doubt already know, this blog originates in Florida. Florida is a battleground state for the 2012 presidential election, and as a consequence, Florida's citizens are bombarded with campaign ads 24/7. Not surprisingly, GOP ads focus on the economy, on unemployment numbers, on the growing debt, and on Barack Obama's intention to continue to increase the size of government. Although most have an edge, they are not classic attack ads.

To date, the Obama campaign has spent almost no ad time talking about his achievements (e.g., the Affordable Care Act) or the economy, except to state (with soft lighting and comforting music) that Obama "cares," really, cares, about the middle class. They never seem to indicate why one should believe that, given the middle class has endured an unemployment rate of over 8 percent for 40 straight months, the middle class has witnessed three years of trillion dollar deficits that will bury their children and grandchildren in debt for generations, and the middle class have lived through a very weak "recovery" that according the some projections is now moving ominously toward a double-dip recession.

Like "hope and change" in 2008, the current President really "cares" in 2012. As an aside, these "caring" ads are a small minority of all ads run by Obama's campaign, and its PACs. The vast majority of Obama's campaign spending in FL goes to attack ads.

Almost all of Obama's attack ads (this includes super-PACs that support him) have had a class warfare meme—Romney, the rich guy, Romney, the founder of a (gasp) private equity firm, Romney, the tax cheat(until that was proved to be an outright lie), Romney, the guy who contributed to the death of a woman who had cancer (until that was proved to be an outright lie), and more recently, Romney, the man who paid (double gasp) a low (but perfectly legal) 14% tax rate. Over the past week the meme has been augmented with Romney, the radical right winger who will conduct a "war on women," and of course, Romney/Ryan, destroyers of "Medicare as we know it."

There's a desperation in Obama's ads that is unsettling. The man who promised to bring a "new kind of politics" to the country has broken that promise along with just about every other promise he made in 2008. Of course, Obama supporters don't see it that way. In their eyes, Romney is all of the things that Obama claims him to be—and much, much more. But then again, Obama supporters believe that the current president is blameless for our dire economic situation, was thwarted by the evil GOP at every turn, even while having significant congressional majorities in both houses for two solid years, and when all else fails, that's it's all George W. Bush's fault anyway.

Obama and his supporters have spent about 3 times the money that Romney and his supporters have spent on ad buys, and yet, the President leads in FL polls by about 1 percentage point--well within the margin of error.

Seems to me that the more strident the rhetoric coming from the Obama campaign and its many supporters in the media, the more desperate they appear. In FL, at least, the attack ads don't seem to be working, and in fact, they just might be hurting. That's fine with me.