How Is Herschel Walker Still a Viable Candidate for U.S. Senate?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and reading Politico Playbook, when I came across this item.

AD WARS — The most striking new political ad this week is the Republican Accountability PAC’s spot against Georgia GOP Senate nominee HERSCHEL WALKER, which features his ex-wife describing domestic abuse in shocking detail: “The first time he held the gun to my head, he held the gun to my temple, and said he was gonna blow my brains out.” It’s a six-figure ad buy in Georgia from the anti-Trump GOP group, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Greg Bluestein.

Seriously, Doc – this guy might become a U.S. Senator? What the hell?

– Gun Shy

Dear Gun Shy,

Herschel Walker’s not the only looney toon among the current GOP crop of U.S. Senate candidates. Check out this bookend from New York Times columnist Michelle Cottle headlined, Why Is Ron Johnson Still Competitive Despite, You Know, Everything?

But back to Walker. Here’s the spot from the Republican Accountability PAC, spearheaded by the redoubtable Sarah Longwell.

The spot comes hard on the heels of this viral video from the Republican Accountability Project in which Walker 1) falsely claims he was an F.B.I. agent, 2) tells a story about heading down Route 183 to kill a man who disrespected him, 3) asks the Lord to help him, 4) walks toward the truck to kill the guy, and 5) sees a bumper sticker on the truck that says Honk If You Love Jesus.

“And that’s what calmed me down,” Walker concludes.

The Doc – who did seven years in the Midwest – always preferred the bumper sticker Honk If You Are Jesus.

But de gustibus, yeah?

Really? Americans Think Advertisers Are More Trustworthy Than the News Media?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and checking out MediaPost’s Marketing Politics Weekly, when I came across this Joe Mandese piece about the industries Americans trust most.

Americans Deem Ad Biz More Trustworthy Than Media, Both Trail All Other Industries

The good news is that as far as brands go, the ad industry is deemed more trustworthy than much of the media it buys to reach consumers. The bad news is that the ad business, “news media,” and “social media” all rank at the bottom of all brand categories American consumers were asked to rate as trusting “a great deal” recently.

The findings, which were announced Tuesday via a press release from brand researcher Brand Keys noting that “media brand trust took a nosedive” in its most recent tracking study, which surveyed 6,850 U.S. adults in July.

What the hell, Doc – hucksters get more respect than government officials and journalists? That’s messed up, yo.

– Trust Busted

Dear TB:

Wait – so this survey is saying that a buck hustler like Spike Lee is more trustworthy than, say, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt? That would be the same Spike Lee whose ad last year for Coin Cloud conned untold numbers of Black people into investing in cryptocurrencies.

Lee brazenly played the race card in touting crypto’s currency: “Old money, as rich as it looks, is flat out broke,” he says in the video, which has garnered about 1.5 million views on YouTube. “They call it green, but it’s only white. Where’s the women? The Black folks? And the people of color?”

Where the Black folks and people of color are, according to Madeline Garfinkle’s Entrepreneur piece last month, is in the red.

‘We’re the First Group Who Loses Out’: Black Americans Hit Hard By Crypto Collapse

As digital currencies continue to fall, a new report found Black investors to be disproportionately vulnerable.

Digital currencies have dropped drastically, with bitcoin alone losing more than 50% of its value this year.

With consistent reports of plunging value, the question looms: Who’s really getting hit?

A study by Ariel Investments found that, on average, Black Americans own significantly more cryptocurrency than their white counterparts. About one quarter (25%) of Black Americans own crypto, and when examining investors under the age of 40, that number jumps to 38%.

The Black community, Garfinkle adds, has a longstanding distrust of the establishment financial system. Crypto offers “[the] draw of gaining financial independence with a low barrier to entry . . . further enhanced by celeb endorsements.”

So, to recap: Americans apparently believe that Mr. Do The Wrong Thing, who has leeched off widespread losses by Black investors in cryptocurrencies, is more credible than, say, CNN’s Don Lemon?

That’s gotta leave a sour taste, no?

Will ‘Who the F–k Is Greg?’ Viral Ad Help Sink Greg Abbott in Texas Gov Race?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and tooling around Vanity Fair, when I came across this piece by Kelly Rissman about a digital ad getting a lot of attention in the Lone Star state.

An ad criticizing Texas Governor Greg Abbott has gone viral, emphasizing his harsh abortion laws, as his re-election campaign presses on.

The ad by Mothers Against Greg Abbott PAC—the “other ‘MAGA’”—depicts a doctor telling a pregnant woman and her partner that their child has “a catastrophic brain abnormality,” and will suffer horrifically, experiencing seizures and choking on her own fluids; she will only live a few hours, if she survives at all. The doctor says he will need a decision on termination, but can’t advise the couple: “I wish I could tell you what to do, but there’s only one person who can make this choice — and that person is Greg.”

What’s the deal here, Doc, in your professional opinion?

– Death and Texas

Dear D&T,

Once again we need to begin with this Federally mandated warning: Dr. Ads is not a licensed physician.

Whatever.

The ad refers to Texas’s bounty-hunter abortion law, “SB 8, a law that [allows] private citizens to sue anyone who ‘aids or abets’ performing abortions” after the sixth week of a pregnancy. That deeply cynical piece of legislation, designed to short-circuit any judicial oversight, is taken to its imagined extreme in the Mothers Against Greg Abbott ad.

While Vanity Fair’s Rissman says the ad “probably won’t help the governor’s re-election campaign,” the Real Clear Politics polling average in the race has Abbott up by six points over Democrat Beto O’Rourke, 47.8% to 41.8% (although the most recent poll – Quinnipiac’s in early June – had Abbott up by five).

The Texas Newsroom’s Sergio Martinez-Beltran reported this yesterday on NPR’s All Things Considered.

On immigration, guns, abortion and just about every other issue, Beto O’Rourke and Abbott have polar opposite views. And O’Rourke is trying to get the votes of Republicans and independents who are turned off by Abbott’s rhetoric. O’Rourke is seeing some gains. The latest statewide polls show him trailing Abbott by just five points. O’Rourke also outraised Abbott by $4 million in the last fundraising period. However, Abbott has more money than O’Rourke.

O’Rourke is clearly hoping the voters of Texas will be asking “Where the F–k Is Greg?” after November 8th.

Will John Fetterman Ever Stop Trolling Mehmet Oz in PA’s Senate Race?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and reading Frank Bruni’s op-ed in the New York Times, when I came across these paragraphs.

The Fetterman campaign operates in extreme meme mode, trolling Oz in particular for being a New Jerseyan in unpersuasive Pennsylvania drag. It deconstructed the décor in an Oz campaign video to show that he was speaking from a room in his New Jersey manse. It hired the “Jersey Shore” star Nicole (Snooki) Polizzi to beckon Oz home in a video clip that got more than three million views on Twitter.

It followed that inspired mischief with a video in which another recognizable ambassador for New Jersey — the guitarist Steven Van Zandt, who plays in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and had a role in “The Sopranos” — cautions Oz about his Pennsylvania misadventure.

What’s your diagnosis, Doc – is this troll roll working for Fetterman?

– John Betterman

Dear Betterman,

Yeah, the Doc was all over the Snooki troll, not to meantion Fetterman’s petition to have Oz installed in the New Jersey Hall of Fame. The Van Zandt troll is equally inspired.

So what’s next for the Fetterman trollmeisters? Maybe they could resurrect some of the characters memorialized in the New Jersey Turnpike rest areas to help buck up the celebrity pill-pusher.

Maybe Vince Lombardi (“Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing”).

Better yet, how about Walt Whitman (“I celebrate myself, and sing myself/And what I assume you shall assume . . . “).

Like, see you in Jersey November 9th.

Won’t Democrats Eventually Get Burned By Their Ads Boosting GOP Crazies?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and reading Charlie Sykes’s Morning Shots newsletter at The Bulwark, when I came across this item linking to a Lachlan Markay piece at Axios.

FFS. “Democrats boost right-wing challenger to GOP Trump foe.”

A new TV ad from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee portrays Republican John Gibbs as the true pro-Trump conservative in his effort to unseat Republican Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) — aligning with Gibbs’ own campaign messaging.

  • Trump endorsed Gibbs’ challenge after Meijer voted to impeach the former president over his role in fomenting the Jan. 6 Capitol siege…

Be smart: The spot is couched as an attack ad, saying “the Gibbs-Trump agenda is too conservative for West Michigan.”

  • Despite the framing, it hits on precisely the issues any Trump-backed Republican would want to be elevated before a primary contest.

What the hell, Doc – does this seem like a prescription for victory in November?

– Dimocrat Watcher

Dear Watcher,

The Doc has been on this gambit by Democrats like Brown on Williamson for the past two months (see here and here).

But there are plenty of others in the punditocracy also dissecting it.

Let’s begin with the ad “attacking” John Gibbs that Lachlan Markay noted in his Axios piece.

The Bulwark’s eminently sane and always readable Jonathan V. Last had this to say about that spot.

Here are the relevant facts:

  • Gibbs is an insane conspiracy theorist—Hillary does Satanic rituals!—who is manifestly unfit for office.
  • Gibbs should lose this primary. So the add serves no “preparing the ground for the general” function.
  • The ad will help Gibbs because he’s struggling with name ID and hasn’t been able to run his own ads.
  • Again: Meijer is one of the ten Republican House members who voted to impeach Trump.

JVL’s conclusion: “[Going] into a race purely in the hopes that maybe the insane person will pull an upset over Meijer is not just foolish and dishonorable, but dangerous, too . . . This is the bad kind of boosting. The kind that the DCCC absolutely should not be doing.”

Then again, consider the gubernatorial race in Maryland, where the Democratic Governors Association poured over a million dollars into promoting Republican candidate Dan Cox, who, according to Vanity Fair’s Chris Smith, “pushed for Donald Trump to seize voting machines in the month after the 2020 presidential election, and . . . pals around with QAnon supporters.”

“It’s crazy like a fox,” says Cornell Belcher, a strategist who worked on both of Barack Obama’s winning presidential campaigns. “If you can impact the odds of winning on the front end, it’s hard to argue with doing it. If I have the ability to run against someone who I know is going to be the weaker opponent, I shouldn’t do that? That’s la-la land shit. The likelihood that Maryland will go Republican in November is a lot less today than it would have been if the Hogan-like candidate had prevailed in that primary.”

The jury’s still out, however, at the Jan. 6 Committee, as Alayna Treene noted in Axios Sneak Peek.

Representative sample:

Between the lines: Public backlash intensified yesterday when it emerged that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is boosting an election denier in his primary against Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) — one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

  • Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), the chair of the DCCC, said on MSNBC this morning: “If you’re talking about trying to pick your opponent, you might see us do that, sure. And I think sometimes it does make sense.”

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), vice chair of the Jan. 6 committee, told Axios: “No party, Democrat or Republican, should be promoting candidates who perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and try to undermine our democracy.”

Karma being the corkscrew that it is, there’s a non-zero chance that at least one of the MAGAts Democrats have been boosting – call the roll: Doug Mastriano in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race; Darren Bailey in the Illinois governor’s race; John Gibbs; Dan Cox – will squeak through in November.

As the feller says, lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.

Flea powder sold separately.

Is There Anyone Who’s *Not* Trolling Mehmet Oz Right Now?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and tooling around Twitter, when I came across this tweet from longtime NBC journalist Josh Mankiewicz.

Dr. Oz . . . Wizard of Oz . . . Wizard of Lies . . . what’s going on here, Doc?

– Blizzard of Oz

Dear Blizzard,

Yeah, it’s a lot to take in, all this Ozifying.

Start with the viral video Mankiewicz tweeted, which comes from the troll factory Meidas Touch, an outfit that’s all the rage these days.

If that’s the shot, #WizardOfLies is the chaser.

Not everyone, however, thinks Meidas Touch is golden, as Rolling Stone’s Seth Hettena reported last year.

The group spent more than $1 million on an advertising strategy that it calls revolutionary but campaign veterans and independent experts say is nonsensical and a more effective tool for fundraising than for helping Democrats win elections. And despite its promised transparency, MeidasTouch’s financial structure makes a dollar-for-dollar accounting of its spending impossible — and, according to a former Federal Election Commission attorney, raises some of the same legal issues that got the Trump campaign into trouble in 2020.

Regardless, the group is having a moment right now.

As is Pennsylvania Lt. Governor/Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman, whose campaign against Mr. Oz seems entirely dedicated to trolling the celebrity carpetbagger.

Exhibit A: This video from “Jersey Shore hot mess” Snooki, who assures Oz that the Garden State loves him and he’ll be back there soon.

Exhibit B: This piece in The Independent by Abe Asher.

Senate candidate John Fetterman trolls Dr Oz by trying to get him inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame

John Fetterman is again taking aim at his Pennsylvania Senate rival Mehmet Oz over Mr Oz’s longstanding ties to neighbouring New Jersey.

On Thurdsay, Mr Fetterman launched a petition asking that Mr Oz be inducted into the New Jersey State Hall of Fame — noting that Mr Oz spoke at the hall’s induction ceremony in 2019 and hoped to join the ranks of its honourees one day.

“We all know that Dr Oz is so proud of being Jersey Strong,” Mr Fetterman said in an accompanying video. “He’s a huge New Jersey celebrity who’s lived there for three decades. Clearly he loves his home state. To honor Dr Oz’s deep New Jersey roots, we thought it would be a great idea to start a petition and help him reach his dream.of being inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.”
Oz is doing his best to troll back, as J.D. Prose reported at Penn Live.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz is taking the gloves off when it comes to his opponent’s absence on the campaign trail.

Oz has unleashed a new line of attack on Democrat John Fetterman for laying low following his medical crisis after remaining silent on the situation for several weeks.

Oz’s campaign on Tuesday unveiled the daily “John Fetterman Basement Tracker” to monitor the days Fetterman “has hid in his basement,” according to a campaign press release.

And here it is.

Not bad, but in the end, Oz is no Snooki.

Wait – A GOP Candidate’s Ad Compares Anthony Fauci to Osama bin Laden?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and reading Bess Levin’s excellent newsletter in Vanity Fair, when I came across this item.

Wanna defend your fellow doctor here, Doc?

– Fauci Grouchy

Dear Grouchy,

First, we need to post this Federally mandated disclosure:

Warning: Dr. Ads is not a licensed physician

Whatever.

Anyway, here’s the spot.

Rolling Stone’s Nikki McCann Ramirez provides this helpful description.

The ad compares President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — as well as perceived cultural enemies like Tony Fauci — to foreign terror groups and totalitarian regimes.

Standing in what looks like a shooting range decked out in tactical gear and wearing clothes intended to resemble military fatigues, Mills cites his background as a veteran who “fought tyranny” and governments “forcing citizens to cover their faces” with burqas. “In America, our enemy is different but their objective is the same,” says Mills, “Total. Government. Control.”

(The irony of a post-Roe, anti-abortion rights Republican comparing Democrats to a regime imposing religious controls over woman is, well, a bit much.)

At least the ad doesn’t wonder why we’ve never seen Fauci and bin Laden in the same room.

Ramirez also notes that Mills previously ran this ad, in which he “[suggests] he would tear gas members of the media.”

Given the results of the latest poll in that race, as Jacob Ogles at Florida Politics reports, the next tears you see might be streaming down the cheeks of Cory Mills.

A new poll released by a conservative group shows Anthony Sabatini leading the GOP field in Florida’s 7th Congressional District.

U.S. Term Limits published results from RMG Research, run by conservative pollster Scott Rasmussen, on Republicans seeking the Central Florida seat. Pollsters found 23% of likely Republican Primary voters plan to support Sabatini, a state Representative from Howey-in-the-Hills.

Behind him is Cory Mills, an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran and the choice for 16% of voters. Brady Duke, the fundraising leader through June, comes in third place in this poll, with 9% of the vote.

Forty-two percent of voters, according to that poll, remain undecided.

Gary Fineout at Politico’s Florida Playbook, however, cites a poll that paints a different picture.

[A] crowded GOP primary in Florida’s 7th District shows Cory Mills, a combat veteran and defense consultant, pulling in 23 percent to 21 percent for state Rep. Anthony Sabatini. Brady Duke, a former U.S, Navy SEAL sniper and minister, has 8 percent. The poll shows that there was still 40 percent undecided in the contest.

The Doc’s diagnosis: Cory Mills better hope most of those undecideds are just as Fauci grouchy as our faithful correspondent, yeah?

Is NYC’s New Nuclear Preparedness PSA The Bomb – or a Dud?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and reading the latest Fresh Hell dispatch from The Baffler, when I came across this item about how to deal with a nuclear attack.

Meanwhile, in New York City—where the average rent just hit a record $5,000—the office of emergency management quietly rolled out an animated public service announcement on Monday informing New Yorkers what to do in the event of a nuclear attack. But remember: even if you are incinerated, you will still be liable for next month’s rent.

What the hell, Doc – are we about to get nuked? Or what?

– Fallout Callout

Dear Callout:

The Doc has no idea what disaster Kim Jong ILL in North Korea or Vlad the Imputin in Russia might soon unleash upon the industrialized world, but we’re pretty sure this PSA from the Big Town’s Office of Emergency Management won’t make much of a dent.

(To be sure graf goes here.)

To be sure, Get Inside/Stay Inside/Stay Tuned is certainly better than Bert the Turtle’s Duck and Cover from the 1950s.

As the spot explains. “Paul and Patty know this: No matter where they go or what they do, they always try to remember what to do if the atom bomb explodes right then. It’s a bomb – duck and cover.”

Or if you’re children at school – duck and cover.

All of which, of course, was total nonsense and shameless government propaganda.

Regardless, new PSA or not, the Doc figures the most likely response to a nuclear attack nowadays would be Duck and Cower.

You heard it here first.

Really? An Ad Where Pubic Hairs Sing Out Against Body Shaming of Women?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and tooling around MediaPost’s Marketing Daily, when I came across this Todd Wasserman piece about a new ad from Gillette.

If you were waiting for a full-throated defense of pubic hair, this is your spot!

Gillette has released an ad, via Grey, New York, that celebrates the care women take in shaving their pubic region. The animated ad is a sequel to its spot last year that made a sort of “Schoolhouse Rock” take on the same subject.

Like the song in the first ad, the latest is sung from the point of view of a pubic hair.  “You can find tutorials for the masses for doing brows and curly lashes,” sings Princess Nokia. “But influencers won’t mention me. Is the word ‘pubic’ blasphemy?”

I don’t know from blasphemy, Doc, but the whole thing sure seems hair-raising to me.

– Razor Geezer

Dear Geezer,

Yeah, this one is definitely on the cutting edge.

But let’s not be trimmers (“a person who alters his or her opinions on the grounds of expediency”). Here’s the ad that ran last year.

You should watch the spot – it’s actually pretty clever.

This new ad, though, seems less clever than . . . um . . . assertive?

The Doc is quick to note that we are decidedly not the target market for this campaign, so what do we know. The reaction on YouTube is mixed, but definitely tilts positive.

So . . . let a thousand pubies bloom?

Why not.

So How Did the Democrats Do With Those ‘Sabotage Ads’ Touting GOP Crazies?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

A couple of weeks ago you wrote about the trend by Democrats to meddle in GOP primaries by boosting the most radical candidates, presumably because they’d be easier to beat in a general election.

You also wrote this: “The Doc will make some house calls at the end of the month to determine the health of those Democratic investments. And prescribe condolences accordingly.”

So, what’s up, Doc?

– MAGAfier

Dear Mf,

Much the same as the Democratic saboteurs achieved mixed results in earlier primaries, their Tuesday tally was decidedly uneven, as the Washington Post’s Amber Phillips noted in a lively roundup.

Start with the Illinois GOP gubernatorial bakeoff.

Some believed that, with 2022 looking tough for Democrats, Republicans could take the governor’s mansion in deep blue Illinois.

That got a lot more difficult after Tuesday’s Republican primary. Voters nominated conservative firebrand state Sen. Darren Bailey over a more traditional Republican candidate to take on Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) in November. Democrats are thrilled about this. Bailey wants to ban abortion in the state (except in cases where the woman’s life is in danger) and has described Chicago as “a crime-ridden, corrupt, dysfunctional hellhole.” He once tried to eject the city from the state, and he has former president Donald Trump’s endorsement.

Bailey also had $30 million worth of Pritzker and Democratic Governors Association advertising to pump him up.

Then again, the opponent Pritzker really did not want to face – Black, moderate, Aurora mayor Richard Irvin – ran a campaign grubstaked to the tune of $50 million by hedge-fund manager Kenneth Griffin.

So hold the violins, yeah?

Here’s the tally, via Ballotpedia.

Really? Fifty million bucks bought a third-place finish for Irvin?

All those dollars and no sense.

Then there’s the GOP gubernatorial race in Colorado, into which the Democratic Governors Association also stuck its nose, running an ad campaign with $1.5 million that the DGA laundered through a couple of PACs.

That was more money down the drain, as Amber Phillips noted in her WaPo piece: “Heidi Ganahl — as a University of Colorado regent, the state’s lone Republican elected statewide — defeated Greg Lopez.”

Which is to say, the moderate beat the MAGAt once again.

Ballotpedia has the numbers.

And chalk up one more for the moderates, this time in Colorado’s GOP U.S. Senate primary, which Axios’s Sophia Cai previewed this way.

In Colorado, a new Democratic super PAC cut a TV ad boosting far-right, election-denying state Rep. Ron Hanks in the June 28 GOP primary to decide who will take on Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).

The group has reserved at least $1.49 million in TV ad slots across Colorado over the next few weeks.

Hanks’ moderate Republican rival Joe O’Dea accused Democrats of “hijacking the Republican nomination for an unserious candidate who has zero chance of winning.”

Here’s how WaPo’s Amber Phillips post-mortemed it: “Republicans nominated a more moderate Republican, businessman Joe O’Dea, to challenge Sen. Michael F. Bennet (D) in November. (Democrats had spent millions trying to get a far-right state representative to win the nomination.)”

Here’s the Ballotpedia ballot results.

So, for those of you keeping score at home, the moderates beat the MAGAts (and the Dimocrats) two-to-one this past Tuesday.

Your big foam hand goes here.