Is the Big Republican Super PAC Phoning It In?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 6 2012 9:34 AM

Is the Big Republican Super PAC Phoning It In?

The big takeaway from Robert Draper's profile of the Obama Super PAC? I'd say it was the PAC managers' appreciation for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

[A]s the Priorities team well knew, the Swift Boat assault on Kerry’s war record was waged with one-twentieth of the backing that the Democrats raised for their anti-Bush PACs. In other words: ruthless, relentless storytelling could be done on the cheap.

And so Priorities USA intends to be outspent 5-1 or so, but to tell a better story than the rich guys. Judging by the new ad American Crossroads GPS is releasing in swing states -- a $25 million buy -- Priorities USA is lucking out.

"Cut the spending, cut the out of control debt." Well, fine, that's certainly a message for the day of another bad jobs report. But ever since the end of the debt ceiling crisis, spending and debt have completely fallen off as voter bugaboos. There's some interesting psychological reinforcement here, because Obama's stalled/doomed jobs plan involved a lot of demand-side spending, paid for by tax hikes on the rich that had been polling well. But this is nowhere near as compelling as the Bain ads. For all the money being spent, it's so hard to follow up on some local Ohio newspaper's tale of a family in need and shoot video of them? (Romney's own campaign briefly did a good job of that in some web ads.)

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics


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