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August 23, 2006

The liberal critique of Burner's first TV spot

Posted by David Postman at 9:31 AM

No candidate running in Washington state this year has as much support from liberal bloggers as Darcy Burner, the Democrat running against Congressman Dave Reichert in the 8th District. Some are downright giddy about her.

But a provocative liberal critique of her first TV ad points out a big gap between Burner's almost pop-star like appeal among the left and the lack of any progressive message in the spot.

The commercial is a bio piece to introduce Burner to voters. Matt Stoller, writing at the popular liberal blog MyDD, asks:

Notice anything missing? I-R-A-Q.

Notice anything else missing? Well if you saw this ad, you wouldn't know whether Darcy is a Democrat or a Republican. (That is a failure to take advantage of the "Republicans Control Congress" message, which is that when voters know who controls Congress, they vote for the other party.)

Notice anything else missing? Bush.

In other words, this ad is a complete failure.

Stoller refers in his post to MyDD's analysis of the special election in California's 50th District and a strategy memo he and others wrote afterward on the lessons there for Democratic congressional candidates. It is a tough-guy strategy that includes:

Pick a fight, any fight. Voters need to be convinced that Democrats can credibly challenge Bush. Whether the fight is over de-funding Cheney's personal staff, attacking John Bolton's confirmation, impeachment hearings, or stopping war profiteering with a new "Truman Commission," Democratic candidates must demonstrate strength through aggressive confrontation where the term "accountability" is more than just an abstraction or corporate lingo. It must be made real through a fight you plan to pick.

As Republicans try to make liberal bloggers a campaign issue by portraying them as an arm of the Democratic Party, it'll be interesting to see what happens this fall if blogger-backed candidates fail to follow the netroots-approved strategy. Burner is one of the Democratic challengers who can raise money from the backing of Kos and others. Will that be harder to do if her campaign continues to steer away from Iraq and the sort of attack on Bush that fuels the liberal blogosphere? Will it be seen as more important to win, or to win with the "right" message.

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