One of the reasons political consultants favor negative attack ads, is that they generally work. It’s a lot easier driving up your opponent’s negatives than it is driving up your own candidate’s positives. And requires a lot less smarts and creativity too.
Another reason is that it is so damn lucrative.
Take, for example, last month’s unprecedented $1.5 million smear campaign attacking Democratic attorney general candidate Deborah Senn… (almost) secretly financed by the US Chamber of Commerce. According to PDC reports, longtime GOP consultant Bruce Boram’s firm, Catalyst Consulting, was paid at least $20,000 for his efforts managing the campaign.
And what were his efforts? He didn’t actually write the ads, or book the airtime. No, he made a few phone calls, contracted out the real work, and pocketed an Eyman-like $10,000-a-month fee.
Wow. $10,000 a month to throw mud at Senn. That must be a full-time job, right? You know, like the $3,641 a month Boram also earns as Executive Director of United for Washington. Or the $4000 a month Boram was earning as chief political consultant and spokesman for GOP 8th district congressional candidate Dave Reichert.
(Speaking of Reichert, while he did fire Boram after the controversy broke, he’s still employing Boram coconspirator and United for Washington Associate Director Valerie Huntsberry. You still have some housecleaning to do, Dave.)
Nasty work, but nice pay if you can get it. Hell, for $20,000, even I would be tempted to run a smear campaign against Senn… and I voted for her.
Loose ethics and even looser money leads to dirty politics.