Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Behind the Ad: I thought Terry McAuliffe was smarter than this

By Richard K. Barry

(Another installment in our extensive "Behind the Ad" series.)

Who: Republican National Committee.

Where: A webspot.

What's going on: Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat running for governor of Virginia, put an ad out recently that focused on the theme of family. Unfortunately for McAuliffe, he wrote a memoir in 2007 that was too good not to use against him to criticize where family might fit in his personal ranking of priorities, which is to say, not very high.

It's not a big deal, and it is kind of funny. The RNC took excerpts from his memoirs and made this little video below.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has an interesting perspective:

So what does this have to do with the race for governor? Actually, not a hell of a lot. It paints McAuliffe as a Type-A workaholic that puts his family somewhere below his political aspirations, at least when presented outside the context of the memoir as a whole. That could be seen as a positive, perhaps, by voters who think that elected officials should their [work] considerations above that of family while in office, although it's going to leave a pretty negative personal impression of McAuliffe in general.

Of course, that's the real point of these kind of ads, which is why people dislike negative campaigning in this sense, rather than the entirely respectable practice of rebutting policy positions and voting records. Character attacks like these purportedly turn people off to politics, although there doesn't seem to be too much evidence of that at the polling stations. On the other hand, McAuliffe wrote the memoir to bolster his political standing — advertising himself, in a real sense, for his political career — so anything he wrote is certainly fair game for scrutiny. Why he shared these passages from his life is anyone’s guess, but it at least leaves the impression that McAuliffe isn't in touch with how they make him look.

I tend to agree with Morrissey. It doesn't mean much, but it does make you wonder about a guy who seems to think the story told below is somehow cute.

(Cross-posted at Phantom Public.)

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