We know a lot about Tom’s campaign tactics from 2010, 2012 and already in 2014. Tom makes extensive use of photo ops, the franking privilege, negative advertising, doctored photos, and one-sided explanation of his own political positions among others. Let’s examine them:
- Tom likes to pose with the flag, with veterans, with seniors, and with children. That’s ok, but the pictures tell a false story–Tom hasn’t done much for veterans, seniors, or children. A postcard advertisement, mailed in early April at public expense, shows Tom dining with seniors, meeting with the AARP (an organization he had little use for previously) along with a portrait of himself with a flag. The image at the left is unusual–Tom isn’t front and center.
- Tom likes to show himself receiving awards, often from partisan organizations for dubious reasons. On March 12 Tom touted his “Spirit of Enterprise” award. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce did present the award to 206 members of the House of Representatives, nearly all Republicans.
- Tom often mails at public expense self-congratulatory material that is political campaign advertising in all but name.
- In 2012, there were many mailings from the American Association of Realtors supporting Tom; evidently they think he serves their interests well.
- Tom likes to explain what his opponents think putting words into their mouths. In a March 10 posting on Tom’s campaign blog we read: “Clearly, Martha Robertson doesn’t care about the thousands of hard-working families who are struggling to make ends meet here in New York,” said (Tom’s spokesperson) Katherine Pudwill. Neither Pudwill nor Tom could possibly know that.
- Tom’s negative advertising shows unflattering images of his opponents. This is a reprehensible tactic.
- Tom’s advertising tells only one side of the story. Attacks on Obamacare never mention any benefits, never acknowledge any support for it from his constituents, and never propose a feasible alternative.
Tom’s advertising is often contradictory–he has claimed to be a “bipartisan hero” in the face of much evidence to the contrary. He has used the motto “fix not fight,” although fighting is one of his favorite advertising claims. Tom’s advertising often confuses effort with accomplishment. He claims he is fighting for something, that he has introduced a bill, or that the House has passed a bill without noting that many of these are futile political gestures doomed from the start.
© William Hungerford – April 2014