Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Running Scared

Apparently the projected Republican landslide is affecting the campaign strategies of several Democratic incumbents from around the greater Austin area.  Some of these strategies are pretty much par for the course for some of these incumbents, but for others, they're quite new.

An example of the same-old-same-old strategies in use is District 47 incumbent Valinda Bolton, who has gone negative on Paul Workman, as she does to every challenger.  Her latest ad isn't up on YouTube yet (and it came out most likely too late to get the PolitiFact treatment it so richly deserves), but it appears to say that Paul Workman wants to impose a massive sales tax on everyone.  Haven't we heard this scare story before?

Oh, but Ms. Bolton's story takes the FairTax idea (which no one is actually proposing but some people like) to a new level:  Mr. Workman wants large corporations to escape paying property taxes!  Yeah, that is how a FairTax works.  And guess who else would no longer be paying thousands a year in property taxes:  you, Ms. Homeowner, and you, Mr. Renter.  (Again, see here if you believe renters aren't affected by property taxes.)

At this point, this author expects little else from Valinda Bolton, so let's move on.

Here's something no one would have expected to see two years ago:  Lloyd Doggett has a serious opponent in TX-25!  How serious is this race for Mr. Doggett?  Well, in over ten years in Austin, I have never seen a Doggett television commercial until this year.

The first Doggett commercial seemed a bit like Patrick Rose's first ad as well in that it presents Mr. Doggett as a friend of business:

(Incidentally, this video is unlisted for some reason...I wonder why.)

A couple of things jumped out for me:  first, "I said no to these big bank bailouts."  Well, yes, Mr. Doggett did vote against TARP.  That, at least, was good.  What wasn't so great were his votes later for things like the Porkulus bill and lots of other giveaways of our money.

And this leads to the second thing that I noticed:  "I can actually run a small business. I can create jobs because of Lloyd Doggett."  This was a statement by Michael Kuhn of ImagineSolar, which describes itself as "a world-class solar intelligence company and provider of solar training".  Well, that sounds good, right?

Well, things are not exactly as they appear.  Someone named Facetwitch, who sometimes blogs at RedState, did the digging on this one, and look at this press release they found:

AUSTIN – Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today announced nearly $100 million in green jobs training grants, as authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). The Austin Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (AEJATC), in partnership with Workforce Solutions–Capital Area and ImagineSolar, received $4,842,424 as one of 25 projects selected nationally – and one of only three in the State of Texas.

For those who've forgotten, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was the original stimulus, or Porkulus, which Mr. Doggett voted to support.  That does rather answer why Mr. Kuhn was so eager to appear in a commercial for Mr. Doggett.  (As Facetwitch points out, there is nothing illegal about any of this, but disclosure would have been nice.)

But apparently things are still not going as well as Mr. Doggett would like in this campaign, and so, again for the first time that I can remember, he has gone negative on his opponent, Dr. Donna Campbell.  See for yourself:

Now I think I understand why his campaign ads are unlisted:  to make them difficult to find for bloggers who want to embed them on their sites.

This ad completely misrepresents the opinion of Dr. Campbell about education funding.  Yeah, let's cut those darned schools off entirely!  Come on.  There is a world of difference between cutting the federal government out of the middle of school funding (thus eliminating a lot of bureaucracy) and not funding schools at all, but Mr. Doggett hopes that you don't notice it.

And while we're discussing silly attack tactics, how about Patrick Rose lookalike Mark Strama in District 50?  Of all the things to say about his opponent, Patrick McGuinness, Mr. Strama says he blogs under "a fake name" (as if this is a very shady thing to do...insert your favorite insinuation about me here).  From there, Mr. Strama pulls items from his blog (The Travis Monitor) way out of context in an attempt to paint him as wild-eyed and hyperpartisan.  Mr. McGuiness, of course, had a very easy response, which I like to call "context":

My opponents [sic] is painting a false picture of where I stand on the basis of a few snippets, but the internet has the best memory and you can be the judge of where I really stand and what I really said. I have put links below of the items he went to.

It's worth a full read.

This season has seen lots of Democrats wondering if their seats are still safe and turning out lots of attack ads, lots of scare tactics...basically, a lot of junk.  Is it any wonder that I am ready for Christmas commercials after a season full of stuff like this?

Update:  Thanks for the link, Dr. Donna!


Anonymous said...

I'd rather have our local Dem candidates do their due diligence and stay on the attack to retain their seats, than have them look like fat cats so GOP candidates can pick them off. All of Dems are doing excellent GOTV which (shockingly) many Republican candidates aren't doing, instead relying on the media narrative of the 'Republican wave' to carry them though. However, the only way to be assured of victory is vigorous GOTV (Get out the vote).
Midterm elections are about gathering your base and contacting - and convincing - undecideds likely to vote. I'm glad Texas Democrats are doing the work needed to stay alive this election cycle.