Domestic violence. Promoting prostitution. Impoverishment of the elderly. Higher unemployment. Drug dealing. These are the values that inspire and drive Republican politicians — at least according to the barrage of Democratic attack ads airing this election season.
Faced with voters unenthusiastic about (or downright hostile to) legislation passed by the Democratic majority in the past two years — notably, President Obama’s health-care plan and the stimulus bill — Democratic politicians are resorting to ads that paint Republican opponents as out-of-touch lunatics.
“There’s no question that [Democratic] campaigns this year have an air of panic,” Republican media consultant Brad Todd told NRO. “We have seen more Democratic incumbent congressmen say less about what they’ve done in office than we ever remember.”
To distract voters from concerns that Democrats have slashed Medicare spending and deepened the economic downturn with their fiscal policies, Democratic ads have relied on boilerplate accusations that GOP candidates will end Social Security and outsource jobs overseas.
Here, in order of least offensive to most outrageous, are the five worst Democratic ads of the 2010 midterms — so far.
5. Sen. Patty Murray’s “Airbus.”
Boeing employs about 72,000 workers in Washington state, making it a crucial contributor to the local economy — and the reason why Boeing’s fight with the European consortium Airbus over a Pentagon contract for an Air Force tanker has become a prominent statewide issue. Airbus originally won the contract in 2008, but when the World Trade Organization ruled that Airbus had received $24 million in illegal subsidies, the Pentagon reopened bidding for the contract. Since then, the WTO has ruled that Boeing has also received illegal subsidies, although the exact dollar amount has not been reported.
Deciding to capitalize on voters’ concern that Boeing was being treated unfairly in the tanker bidding, the Murray campaign launched an ad featuring the question, “Should Boeing workers have a level playing field?” The ad then cut to a clip of Republican candidate Dino Rossi answering “No. Not as far as I’m concerned. No.”
But Rossi was actually answering a different question: whether the “WTO ruling should have [been] a factor in the tanker bid.” If Rossi’s no to that question was ambiguous, what wasn’t is a statement of his in the same interview, where he says, “We need to fight for the tanker contract, no matter what.”
4. The National Education Association’s endorsement ad for New Mexico Democratic gubernatorial candidate Diane Denish.
Blasting Republican Susana Martinez, who had expressed support for vouchers in the primary, this ad accused her of “covering up her real plans to cut public-school funding.” The ad featured a special-education teacher, Freda Trujillo, enthusiastically speaking about Denish’s record on education, and saying that “when it comes to education, she’s on our side.”
But the NEA didn’t exactly find a disinterested teacher to endorse Denish. In 2007, Martinez, a district attorney, had helped convict Trujillo’s husband on charges including threatening violence to and kidnapping an ex-girlfriend. He was sentenced to prison for 23 years.
3. Kentucky Democratic senatorial nominee Jack Conway’s “Rand Paul Is Soft on Crime.”
In a 2008 interview, Republican candidate Rand Paul said that “things that are nonviolent shouldn’t be against the law.” Conway’s ad uses that clip, and then interprets Paul’s statement to mean he opposes laws against selling drugs to a minor, Wall Street fraud, burglary, promoting prostitution, and theft.