Anatomy of a Political Ad: Insulting Intelligence

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Fiorina-Angry.jpgGOPUSA has emailed a campaign advertisement letter from Carly Fiorina (R), running to unseat California's Senator Barbara Boxer (D). The ad is an insult to voter's intelligence, and Fiorina is doing the insulting, herself. Before analyzing this ad, let it be said now, that this type of insulting ad is typical of politician's ads from both the major and third parties. Fiorina however, should know better than to insult voter intelligence in a bid for their vote.

In this Fiorina, paid advertising, open letter to GOPUSA readers and supporters, she begins by saying:

As a political outsider and first-time candidate for public office, I am facing a tough election against Barbara Boxer who is raising millions of dollars thanks to the help of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama. Will you help me counter the left's fundraising efforts with an immediate donation?

Carly Fiorina has a net worth of 2.2 billion dollars, give or take a few hundred million. And she is asking hard working, non-wealthy voters to raise money for her campaign? Does she not believe in her own campaign enough to risk a few million of her billions of dollars in funding it? If she is unwilling to risk her own money on her campaign, why should she be asking Republican voters to risk theirs? This is an insult to the very voters she is asking money from. Her background in sales and CEO of Hewlett Packard taught her well, however, that there is a sucker born every minute.

Carly goes on to say in her ad:

We're coming off a week of fantastic momentum-building campaign events. Former Alaska Governor and Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin endorsed my candidacy with kind words for a fellow political outsider and fiscal conservative.

She is running against a Democratic Senator of 18 years and reelected twice, in one of the more liberal States of the country. Is it smart to go on record in California as having been endorsed by Sarah Palin? Well, Fiorina bought out Compaq as CEO of HP, for which she was "fired" by the HP board (forced to resign). She goes on to say she is endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee. And she is running for Senator in California? She clearly knows computers better than she knows the California electorate. Does she not realize these endorsements would kill her race against Boxer if she became the GOP candidate choice in the Primary election?

Still, despite these championing endorsements in a liberal voting State, one doesn't usually accrue 2.2 billion dollars by making dumb decisions. But, then, when one has 2.2 billion dollars, one can afford a great many dumb decisions and not be ruined by them. But, is this the kind of decision making Republicans want to support? Perhaps, though the polls don't show it. Fiorina trails GOP primary contender, Campbell, by 6% amongst Republican likely voters in a recent Field Poll.

Carly goes on to plea for money 'desperately needed', writing:

Will you help my campaign match the contributions from the far left bankrolling Barbara Boxer's campaign? An immediate donation of $25, $50, $100 or more will send an immediate message that we're ready to take our country back from liberals like Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer.

Really? If I send $100 dollars to Carly Fiorina, I will be sending a message that Republicans are ready to take our 'stolen' country back from the liberals? Really? Who will that message be sent to? Will Democrats be swayed by it and bow out of the races? Am I really that dumb? (Don't answer that.) Will the growing throng of anti-incumbent voters be suddenly convinced by my $100 dollar contribution that Carla Fiorina will save America from the liberals as the new U.S. Senator from California?

Fiorina's open letter is obviously aimed at GOP primary voters in an attempt to demonstrate competitive advantage, not over Barbara Boxer, but, her rival Republican candidate, Campbell for GOP nomination. It is Campbell she seeks to defeat in this open letter, not Boxer. But, she obviously presumes you and I, the readers of her letter, are too dumb to realize this, and will succumb to the sophistry that by invoking Democrats as the enemy to defeat, we will not make a comparison or consider the leading GOP candidate for Senator, Tom Campbell.

What Fiorina does not say in her letter, and what she hopes no one reading it will know or remember is, she was the economic adviser to John McCain in his bid for president in 2008. If you will recall, it was McCain's complete lack of awareness of the economic trouble the nation was facing that largely cost him the election. And yes, Carly Fiorina was his economic adviser, and she done him wrong! The first casualty in a political race is truth and open disclosure. But, with a slight of hand, if she can get readers to focus on Boxer, Pelosi, and Reid, perhaps they will be sucker enough to forget all about her economic advice to John McCain, eh?

Carly's next two sentences are choice:

You've seen the polls. They show that liberals across the country, including Barbara Boxer, are in big trouble. Her tax-and-spend, big-government 28-year career of failure is finally catching up to her.

Now for the outright lying so typical of politician advertising. Real Clear Politics, which takes an average of the polls regarding a generic vote for Democrats or Republicans, indicate voters are evenly divided, 42.5% Republicans, 42.3% Democrats, plus or minus a couple percent. The Polls do NOT show the Democrats are in big trouble, unless they are partisan push polls, which when averaged against liberal partisan push polls and objective polls, show them in a dead heat. That's the first outright lie.

The second, is not only a lie, but a logical contradiction; a real no-no for philosophy under-graduate like Fiorina. How does one define a 28 year career in politics of successive electoral victories as a failure? Only by assuming the audience of such an illogical statement is dumb enough to buy it. It was not Barbara Boxer under Democratic majorities that doubled the national debt in 8 years from 5.65 trillion to 11 trillion dollars between 2001 and 2009. That was Republican's doing.

Fiorina concludes her open letter by writing:

Thank you for your time and generosity. As conservatives, we will take our country back from the current liberal leadership in Washington.

By thanking the reader for their generosity, she assumes the reader will contribute. There is an old saying about assumptions: 'When you assume, you make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'. In all, it appears Carly Fiorina has accomplished that task quite adeptly if readers actually support her candidacy on the basis of this open letter paid advertisement begging for money from the poorer, so she can avoid spending any of her billions of personal wealth.

But, these kinds of contradictions, misrepresentations, and twists of logic and reason and common sense, are typical of advertising from politicians on the Left and Right. As long as voters continue to respond with votes and dollars for the authors of such petitions, it is impossible to expect that our nation can rescue itself from the grave challenges and difficulties it now faces over the next couple generations.

Personally, there is one way that I would actually vote for Carly Fiorina. I am voting as I have for years now, anti-incumbent, which means I would vote out Barbara Boxer by voting in whoever her challenger is. If Republicans in California are duped enough to feed their hard earned money to this billionaire and make her their choice for GOP candidate against Barbara Boxer, I would vote for Carly Fiorina. My logical rationale for doing so would be simple; to vote for those in office, responsible for a broken government and political process, would be a vote against myself, my children, and their future. But, what do I know? My bachelor's degree included philosophy like Carla Fiorina's.

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"Is it smart to go on record in California as having been endorsed by Sarah Palin?"

You make a good point there. But don't underestimate Sarah Palin. There are a lot of people who like her.

As for Carly Fiorina, she obviously wants to defeat Campbell in the primary. Having people donate to her campaign, as you said, will show that people support her and not him.

Thanks, Giggle T. for your comments, which I agree with. I don't underestimate Palin's power to influence about 1/5 of the electorate in some small way. Nor do I underestimate her commitment to accumulating massive wealth; and therein lies the threat of Sarah Palin in the future, if we don't reform our political finance system.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on May 13, 2010 5:52 AM.

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