Dean Campaign to Run TV Ads–in Texas
Democratic presidential contender Howard Dean will begin running a combative anti-Bush television commercial Monday–in Texas only.
In the ad, which Dean taped last Wednesday in Council Bluffs, Iowa, he wears a blue, open-necked work shirt, faces the camera, and says, “I want to change George Bush’s reckless foreign policy, stand up for affordable healthcare, and create new jobs… Has anybody really stood up against George Bush and his policies? Don’t you think it’s time somebody did?”
The media buy cost between $100,000 and $200,000, U.S. News has learned. It will run in Austin, 87 miles away from where Bush is vacationing in Crawford.
So let me get this straight. Thousands of none-too-wealthy contributors pitch in to aid in Dean’s fundraising success. But rather than spend the money prudently, his campaign sees fit to squander large wads of cash in an audacious publicity stunt?
Some say this move proves the candidate is bold and ballsy. I disagree. I think this sort of spectacle is indicative of the ever-widening stature gap between Howard Dean and the president. That they would go nipping at the president’s heels on his way to vacation underscores the Dean campaign’s tendency to engage in petty,bring it on-ish venting rather than cultivate an image of a serious and concerned candidate who is ready to govern at a crucial point in the nation’s history.
The news of Dean pouring resources into Texas — a state in which he doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning — reminds me of Gov. Bush’s trips to California and New Jersey in the waning days of Campaign 2000. Bush’s advisers told him that he was doing great. That he already had the election in the bag. That it would be fun to “run up the score” and stick it to the Dems one last time.
Bush and his faithful must have enjoyed high-fiving the fringe-state Republicans along his victory lap. They were shocked, too, to watch on Election Day as Al Gore nearly pulled off the Pennsylvania-Michgan-Florida trifecta to guarantee himself the presidency.
Sure, the first primary vote is over 4 months away, but this kind of irresponsible move isn’t promising. As a Dean detractor in a battleground state (Pennsylvania), I’d much rather he address the serious concerns about his candidacy than whoop up his angry partisans by projecting ads into the heart of Bush Country.
For now, I hope the Deanies have fun gloating that they are carelessly making hay in the belly of the enemy. If this attitude continues into the general election, that statement will be more accurate than they think.