Monday, July 19, 2010

Paz on "going negative"

Mark Pazniokas of the CT Mirror explores a topic that is very much on the minds of Democrats here, which is the possibility that the gubernatorial contest between Dan Malloy and Ned Lamont might take an ugly turn as we get closer to the primary, a mere three weeks from tomorrow:
"Going negative would be very risky this year," said Tom Swan, who managed Lamont's bruising U.S. Senate race in 2006, but is not involved with the present campaign. "Most people in the Democratic Party are really, really desperate to win in November."
So far we haven't seen much to indicate that either campaign will go negative, but remember that in 2006, both candidates were involved in bruising political battles.

My very dear friend (not!) Dan Gerstein echoed my sentiments with this statement:
"There is not that (much) policy difference in this gubernatorial primary," Gerstein said. "These guys are mostly running bio campaigns. To some degree, it's reminiscent of the Hillary-Obama campaign."
We haven't seen any "3AM" ads yet (which really wasn't all that bad an ad, but still a knock on Obama, and I couldn't resist having a little fun with it), and I'm hoping that both campaigns will maintain a civil tone and allow the voters to make their choices based on positive qualities, not who does a better job smearing his opponent:
When the Lieberman campaign learned in the closing days of the campaign that Lamont has bought enough time for a round-the-clock ad blitz, Lieberman held a press conference to dramatically accuse Lamont of preparing to smear him. The press conference was an attempt to frame what was coming as underhanded.

"Ned is going to use his wealth to run an uglier campaign and throw as much manufactured mud at me as he possibly can ... every half hour of every television viewing day from here on in," Lieberman said.

Lieberman made the accusation without having seen Lamont's last round of ads, most of which were positive.

He then questioned if the personal wealth Lamont was using to pay for the ads came from big oil, tax shelters or investments in companies that ship American jobs overseas. After utterly savaging Lamont, Lieberman promised to fight ''the politics of personally funded, personal, negative, attack campaigning.''
The sheer evil brilliance of the attack is hard to deny. First, Lieberman savaged Lamont for planning to use dirty tactics in his ads (he never did), and then Joe promised to fight against such tactics. The irony would have been kind of funny if it wasn't so fucking awful.

There is a vaguely troubling footnote in all this. As Paz points out in the article:
The senator's media consultant after the primary was SKD Knickerbocker - the same firm that Malloy hired this year.

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