Monday, September 18, 2006

Lesson to Learn from Mark Kennedy’s Negative Ad : Evaluate the Assertion

I’m surprised by Mark Kennedy’s latest ad … not that it is negative, as negative advertisements work … but that he Paid and Authorized the ad as the assertions made are better made by advocacy groups.

The quality of the ad does not have the “warm fuzzy good feel” of the previous “family guy, Mark”. It starts off with grainy, jiggly footage of Klobuchar … that’s a tip-off that the ad will be negative, but ends with a picture of Kennedy that is of the quality of a mugshot that seems to accent his narrow, piercing eyes.

The gist of the ad is : Klobuchar was a registered lobbyist; “extreme liberal” groups donate to her campaign; and she has invested in oil and pharmaceutical companies yet complain about them.
Scary stuff … but let’s ask a few questions.
Kennedy has effectively connoted that lobbyists are bad. Do we know who Klobuchar was lobbying for? Was it a cause that you believe in? For example, did she act as a lobbyist to get woman the right to a defined stay in a hospital after giving birth? If you are acting as a lobbyist, aren’t you advocating a position … that does not mean that you have offered a bribe. If Kennedy is so concerned about lobbyists, why isn’t he at the forefront in Lobbyist Reform?
Since America does not have government funded campaigns, accepting monies from advocacy groups is part of the process. How you define “extreme” is open to interpretation. Kennedy has received $10,000 from Tom DeLay's PAC Americans For A Republican Majority. He also received monies from John Thune’s Heartland Values PAC (whose contributions came in part from DM&E employees.)
Klobuchar’s investments are part of her retirement mutual funds that she does not control how the mutual fund invests the monies.

Now, compare that negative ad to Tim Walz’s television ad that does have some negative consequences. Walz’s ad is very good. It speaks of general issues, gives a brief candidate profile and includes a zinger on Gil Gutknecht’s ever-increasing salary. Hey, I like it. I wrote challenging Gutknecht to justify his pay increase based on performance before Walz issued his press release. Walz’s ad combines positive and negative and leaves the voter with a better understanding of the candidates without implying questionable, unverifiable assertions.

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