This post first appeared on Washington Monthly.
Pundits continue to argue that Democrats are making a big mistake focusing on undisclosed contributions fueling Republican hopes in the midterms. The argument from the establishment, in a nutshell, is that no one really cares.
With at least some
evidence that the pundits are wrong, the Democratic National Committee launched this new ad overnight, continuing to hammer the attack ads fueled by secret money. For those of you who can't watch clips from your work computers, a voice-over tells viewers, "You've seen the ads. Millions being spent by right wing groups to buy an election -- all from secret donors. What's not a secret is why. Republicans and their corporate buddies want to be back in charge. Wall Street writing its own rules again. Big oil and Insurance Companies calling the shots. More jobs shipped overseas. Millions in attack ads to put the corporate interests back in charge.
"If they're in charge, what happens to you? Fight back."
Describing the importance of the ad, DNC spokesperson Brad Woodhouse said, "The debate over the secret money Republican-aligned groups are spending to win the election and the economy is inextricably linked -- because if Republicans win -- they are going to reward this special interest backing by returning to the economic policies of the Bush era that cost eight million Americans their jobs."
Pundit criticism notwithstanding, I continue to think this message has merit. For one thing, ads like these make the connection between secretly-financed attack ads and the issue foremost on voters' minds: economic policy.
For another, Dems want to put a hint of doubt in voters' minds when it comes to these attack ads. Folks are bound to see the spots financed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and/or Karl Rove's hatchet-job operations. With the right blanketing the airwaves to destroy Democratic candidates, Dems are anxious to have voters ask themselves, "Who paid for that ad? What will they expect in return? And was foreign money involved?"
The DNC's ad is set to begin airing on national cable outlets today.