Thursday, May 18, 2006

Portraits In Rage: The Portraiteer!


But the political atmosphere surrounding the contest in the San Diego-area district has been soured further, largely because of negative advertising launched by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) at Democratic nominee Francine Busby and by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) at Republican nominee Brian P. Bilbray.

The latest salvo, in the form of a direct mail piece sent to district residents by the Republicans’ House campaign unit, was so harsh that it not only infuriated Busby, but spurred Bilbray’s campaign to distance itself from the broadside.

NRCC mailer, sent out at the end of last week, has a cover illustration that appears to compare Busby — a former college instructor and school board trustee — to teenage drunk drivers. The montage shows the faces of two teenage boys next to an overturned car that has a glass of beer superimposed on it.

The allusion, as it turns out, is meant to be symbolic. “Teenagers can be irresponsible . . . even dangerous,” reads the top of the flyer. “Politicians are even more dangerous. And sadly, Francine Busby is so irresponsible she is dangerous.”

....Federal campaign law forbids the national campaign committees from coordinating their advertising messages with their candidates’ committees. Bilbray’s campaign denied any prior knowledge of the NRCC mailer — but blamed Busby for negative ads that the DCCC has aimed at Bilbray.

The Democratic committee ran a television ad highlighting Bilbray’s congressional support for ephedra, a diet drug later found to increase heart risks, during a 1995-2001 House tenure in a district that included a portion of the current 50th. It also highlighted his post-congressional career as a lobbyist, a profession some voters now associate with convicted former Washington dealmaker Jack Abramoff.

“[The ephedra ad] talks about Brian killing people,” said Bilbray spokesman Steve Danon. “If that’s not over the top, I don’t know what is. ... Our message to Francine Busby is stop polluting our living rooms.”

Hard as I try, I can't find a transcript of the ephedra ad. From the articles I could find, it sounds as if Busby ran one of those "Bilbray supports ephedra, a dangerous substance that has been linked to heart attacks. He continues to lobby for them, despite the danger posed" ads with a serious sounding non-ethnic-specific voice droning on.

Either way, this stuff is laughable. Mostly because it appears to be effective.


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