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.

Why Is a Missouri Senate Candidate Issuing ‘RINO Hunting Permits’?

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 CNN’s Reliable Sources nightly newsletter, when I came across this item.

Wait, what? This guy is encouraging Missouri voters to hunt down Republicans who aren’t MAGAts? This is really a most dangerous game – don’t you think, Doc?

– Rinoblasty

Dear Rinoblasty,

Yeah – Eric Greitens: rhymes with frightens.

Here’s the ad.

Not surprisingly, the spot has gone over like the metric system in normie circles, as the Reliable Sources newsletter noted.

Missouri news outlets did not mince words about Monday’s new campaign video from Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eric Greitens. “Gun-wielding Greitens releases violent ad targeting other Republicans,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said. An article by the Kansas City Star was even more blunt, calling it “Greitens’ people-hunting video.”  . . .

Greitens is not a fringe candidate. He is the disgraced former governor of the state. As Jake Tapper said on CNN, “You would think a candidate who has been accused of spousal and child abuse by his ex-wife… might consider a less violent appeal to voters.” His guest S.E. Cupp pointed out that Greitens is “leaning in” to the controversy, “very smugly promoting it,” even though the ad is “crazy, creepy and chilling.”

As the Doc has chronicled on several occasions, fondling firearms is now the two-drink minimum for red-state GOP candidates (see here and here). Greitens, however, is taking the gun gambit to a new, and lethal, low.

Remarkably, there’s nothing local broadcasters can do to stop him, given federal regulation of the public airwaves. This piece by Jerry Carnes at Fox54 provides details.

When it comes to qualified candidates who are on the ballot for federal office, television stations can not refuse their ads for any reason, including content.

According to Federal Communications Commission laws, stations can’t edit or censor.

“They have to take that ad, and the network is not liable for airing that even if it’s potentially slanderous or libelous,” explains Joseph Watson, Professor of Public Affairs Communications, Advertising & Public Relations at the University of Georgia’s Grady School of Journalism.

Slanderous, libelous . . . or murderous, apparently.

Greg Greitens is the GOP’s ultimate Accessory Before the Fact. But we’re guessing he’s not the only GOP candidate who’ll trigger some Squid Games karma before the 2022 elections are over.