UPDATE: Burner’s campaign has filed a complaint with the FEC (you can download it here), arguing that Rep. Dave Reichert does not have enough cash on hand to cover all the TV time he’s booked. The Burner campaign says the ad buy puts Reichert about $580,000 in the red and that his media buyer, Media Plus—by securing the time for him—is making an illegal campaign contribution. The Reichert campaign does not return my calls (and can you blame them, Goldy’s such a potty mouth), but Reichert spokeswoman Amanda Halligan did talk to the Seattle Times. The Seattle Times reports:
Reichert campaign spokeswoman Amanda Halligan said Media Plus+ pays for the ads and then sends the campaign a bill. They pay it, she said, “like any other business.”
“There’s no loan associated with it,” she said.
Yesterday’s post on Media Plus’ $530,000 loan to the Rep. Reichert’s campagin for Reichert’s ad blitz on KIRO, KOMO, and KING (the number is actually $777,000 when you add in KING, which I didn’t have at the time), included an interview with the FEC that laid out a possible loophole for Reichert. Otherwise, the loan/contribution would be in violation of election law.
The loophole is this: Even though corporations can’t directly loan money to candidates, Media Plus’ arrangement with Reichert—getting his ad time on credit—is part of Media Plus’ established practice with stations and clients. So, when Reichert ends the quarter all paid up, the FEC may simply see the whole arrangement as a “service” provided by Media Plus, not a contribution.
That raises a question, though: Is it Media Plus’ established practice to advance credit at such a high risk?
Darcy Burner’s lawyer, Perkins Coie attorney Ryan McBrayer, puts it this way:
“Media Plus probably doesn’t extend credit to any of their clients in an amount greater than the amount the client earned all of the previous quarter.”
That’s a good point. Reichert raised $524,000 in the last quarter. He’s already on the hook for nearly $800,000 in TV time for this quarter?
Media Plus looks to have bought airtime for the Reichert campaign that is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars more than the Reichert campaign raised all of last quarter. If so, Media Plus is really making an illegal corporate contribution because the Federal Election Campaign Act bans the extension of credit in such disproportionate and unreasonable amounts.
Roger Rabbit spews:
Unfortunately, this case falls in a gray area that lawyers could still be arguing over long after the election. Plus, most voters don’t care about campaign law violations. Bribery they understand. Robbing banks they understand. Stealing hub caps they understand. And quite a few of them taking 20 years to catch a serial killer makes Reichert a good cop.
Daniel K spews:
Reichert knows he can get away with this because by the time the legal system catches up to him he’ll have already reaped the benefits of his ad buy.
Roger Rabbit spews:
Dow Plunging In Final Minutes
The stock market is nosediving in the last minutes of trading — down 600 points at last report and headed deeper.
Somebody should really tell those clueless idiots running the Sherrif Dave campaign that people are already voting. My vote’s already in.
Investors are like lemmings, chasing old news. In this case, the fact that all corporations are lowering expectations going forward, as they should be. Then when their numbers are good, the CEOs can proclaim what geniuses they are and how they deserve their massive bonuses for doing nothing.
Remember that most of these folks voted for Bush, not a very bright lot.
Roger Rabbit spews:
@4 I hope this continues for a while to give me enough time to pull together my cash to do some bargain shopping. Sure, it’ll take a while for stocks to go up, but you always want to buy at the bottom. Is this the bottom? Not exactly, I think this is a temporary low and it’ll go deeper in 6 to 12 months, but overall I don’t think the market will go a whole lot deeper than we’re seeing now. A lot of stocks have shed huge percentages of their peak valuations and you can find 5%-plus blue chip dividend yields now.
I think this is a time to be shopping for share-price stability and dividends. The era of growth stocks is over for a while. We’re obviously seeing forced selling by institutional investors who have to raise cash for redemptions and withdrawals. Shares are being sold without regard for underlying value. This is a good time to load up on dividend-paying blue chips.
Hey, Goldy: Why are you selling front page banner ads to Reichert?
Roger Rabbit spews:
McCain’s Hail Mary Play
The GOP is pouring resources in Pennsylvania. McCain and Palin are making numerous appearances there, the McCain campaign has set up dozens of field offices, and Republicans are making hundreds of thousands of robocalls to Pennsylvania voters. What’s up?
The electoral vote math, that’s what. McCain insiders say the campaign has written off Iowa, New Mexico, and Colorado. That leaves them with a longshot strategy of winning New Hampshire to effectuate a 269-269 tie, then turning the trick by scooping up one of Maine’s congressional districts. But they’re also looking over their shoulder at Virginia, which may render that strategy for naught. They need an insurance policy, and the only way to get one is by flipping a blue state that’s large enough to offset a possible loss in Virginia.
So, they’re looking to Pennsylvania. One recent poll shows them within 8 points of Obama — uphill but not (in their view) impossible if they can turn enough Hillaryites and blue collars. So they’re trying to do exactly that. But most other polls show Obama with a lead of 10 to 15 points in Pennsylvania, so even if they make gains there, their chances of winning the state are slim to none.
The Pennsylvania strategy depends on something else: Not losing Ohio, Florida, or North Carolina. Even McCain insiders acknowledge that if Obama wins even one of those states it’s over. And, according to many polls, Obama currently leads in all of them. So McCain has his work cut out for him.
Is he just going through the motions? A remark McCain made during Sunday’s talk shows suggests he doesn’t expect to be president — he referred to “living in Arizona” and “being a U.S. Senator” in the years ahead. But McCain is a fighter in American sporting tradition and he’s going to keep playing until the final whistle blows. He’s fourth and long, and if snatching Pennsylvania from Obama is the play he’s calling, well … that’s like kicking a 100-yard field goal. And that, apparently, is what McCain needs to do as the clock ticks down on this game.
Roger Rabbit spews:
@6 He needs the money.
Burner’s campaign should approach Media Plus with a proposal for the exact amount of up- front advertising. If she’s turned down, that pretty much defines Reichert’s deal as a loan to a specific individual’s campaign.
Roger Rabbit spews:
Is Palin Positioning Herself For A 2012 Run? Yes, Absolutely
Here’s why Andrew Romano of Newsweek thinks so. He’s noticed that she’s increasingly distancing herself from McCain and playing directly to the GOP’s hard-right base. Some examples:
Oct. 3: Palin “wandered off the reservation” by publicly criticizing the McCain campaign’s decision to give up on Michigan.
Oct. 5: Palin publicly took issue with McCain’s decision not to use Rev. Wright to attack Obama.
Oct. 11: When McCain criticized Bush’s decision to take North Korea off the official list of states sponsoring terrorism, Palin endorsed the decision, saying, “Having worked on this strategy for quite some time, I have faith … that they’re making this wise decision.” This appears to be an attempt to position herself as a foreign policy moderate.
Oct. 20: Palin told reporters if it were up to her, she would wage a “kitchen table” campaign of talking with ordinary Americans about “our plan to get the economy back on track and winning the war” instead of using robocalls focusing on Bill Ayers.
Oct. 21: Palin broke with McCain on gay marriage by supporting a constitutional amendment in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network.
Here’s Romano’s take on all of this:
“Maybe I’m crazy. But doesn’t it sort of seem like Palin’s saying, Hey Republicans: don’t blame me if this guy loses? Consider all the things she’s hinting she would’ve done differently. She would’ve revived the good reverend. She would’ve tried harder in Michigan. She would’ve moved further right on social issues. She would’ve pursued a less bellicose foreign policy. And she would’ve refused to bug you with stupid, ‘old, conventional’ robo-calls. In short, Palin would’ve been more of a culture warrior than McCain and less a product of the past –an “authentic” social conservative, but also a breath of fresh air. … If the GOP ticket loses … we should expect a 2012 primary battle defined largely by right-wing, populist, grass-roots anger toward the relatively moderate McCain (and toward the conservative elites that either pushed for his nomination or defected to Obama). Given her popularity with the base — and all this pre-emptive distancing stuff — Palin could conceivably ride that rage to the top of the primary pile.”
Romano goes on to say he doesn’t think Palin will be a viable candidate in 2012 no matter how realistic that strategy is. I tend to agree with him that Palin’s recent moves certainly appear to signal that she’s looking past the current election at her own presidential prospects in the next cycle.
What I see that Romano doesn’t is how Palin and GOP professionals might view the second half of the 2012 equation. The first half is getting nominated and Romano has outlined that. The second half is persuading voters outside the GOP hard-right base to put her in the White House.
We’ve already seen the seeds of a possible Palin strategy in local races. It’s all about selling the product with fancy packaging so consumers won’t look too closely at content. McGavick and Rossi have both tried to package themselves as moderates. Palin is starting to play that game, too. But she may be able to do it better than they can, because she has some extra advantages.
First of all, male voters will look at her (rather than listen to her) because she’s an attractive woman. Palin is all about style, and will use charm and style to sell herself to mainstream voters. Like McGavick and Rossi, she will hide her extremist agenda behind clever packaging. She’ll campaign with so much flair that voters won’t notice she’s a nut — they’ll vote for her because she looks and sounds great. It’s all about getting people to buy the fancy ribbon wrapped around the box and not think about what’s inside.
That’s got to be the game plan, and without a doubt is the game plan. Republicans are already honing this approach in countless races across the country and by 2012 they’ll be much sharper at executing this play. Moreover, they’ve got to run this play because it’s their only chance; they won’t be able to outplay the Democrats on substance or results.
Is a Palin presidential run in 2012 for real? You bet it is. As Romano has correctly observed, the positioning and calculated finger-pointing has already begun. McCain is expendable, and after he loses to Obama, his final service to the party he serves so loyally which despises him so greatly will be as a scapegoat for the GOP’s 2008 electoral disaster. Furthermore, he’s an old man on his way out of both political and physical life, who has little if anything left to give to the party, so he’s the ideal scapegoat.
Even though Palin’s many shortcomings will have contributed much to McCain’s defeat, she will be carefully insulated from the fallout, to protect her viable. While McCain is the GOP’s past, she is its future — the bright young rising star whose reputation must be protected at all costs.
Could the GOPers actually pull it off? Everything we know about consumer psychology and successful marketing says yes. For example, the auto industry has successfully used curvy sheet metal and fancy grillwork to sell mechanical lemons for 100 years, and customers keep coming back to buy automotive crap no matter how many times they’ve been burned.
What you’ll see is Candidate Palin working hard to identify herself with average Americans by talking up hockey and hunting and raising kids. You don’t have to talk about issues or be right on issues — or even know anything about issues — if you can get people to like you.
Palin already has the seductive packaging down pat, and she’ll have the whole 4 years between now and 2012 to get briefed on the substantive stuff. If college students can cram a semester of textbooks and class notes in 48 hours, she should be able to cram at least an appearance of policy substance in 4 years, given enough ambition-driven motivation to work at it. And whatever else you say about Palin, she didn’t get where she is now by being lazy. What’s more, she’ll have plenty of time to work on it while coasting through her day job; after all, how hard is it to be governor of Alaska, which is like being mayor of Seattle without any of the budget problems or taxes?
Yes, indeed, I definitely think Andy Romano is on to something. Palin is the hard-right’s candidate for 2012 … and the 2012 campaign is already underway.
(Newsweek quotes used under fair use.)
Roger Rabbit spews:
@9 Good idea.
Roger Rabbit spews:
Watch for Palin to use the final 2 weeks of McCain’s failing campaign to begin her 2012 presidential run. She will ignore the McCain campaign line, attract as much attention to herself as possible, build her own following, and signal to supporters that “I’ll be back.” This is the most exposure she’s going to get for the next 4 years and I’ll be shocked if she doesn’t use it to promote herself instead of the McCain ticket.
I can already visualize the strategy. In the coming 4 years, Palin will (publicly) move toward the center, try to look like a moderate, and avoid talking about polarizing issues more than necessary to keep the “base” contented. The GOP hopes President Obama will swing too far left, giving Palin an opening to pull center-right moderates into her camp.
RR @ 10: Remember, I called it first in my comments here, over a week ago.
Even while McCain was trying to quiet his most vocal supporters because their hostile comments were offending uncommitted voters, Palin was continuing to pump up her audiences with the most extreme rhetoric. Maybe she didn’t get the message? Or maybe the McCain camp was using her the same way Nixon used Spiro Agnew, as his “attack dog?” Perhaps, but my thinking is along the same lines as the Newsweek article – she’s figured McCain has taken her as far as he is going to go, and it’s time to cast off that tow line and head off on her own.
Palin’s had a taste of the “big game”, and she just LOVES all those adoring crowds. She will mold herself to them, the hard-core Republican base, in order to be THEIR nominee in 2012. Like Roger Rabbit said, she will have four years to memorize a carefully crafted response to every conceivable foreign policy issue. She will probably find some committee or agency she can lead which she can claim gives her broader experience outside of her native state.
After her term of office ends in 2010, she MIGHT run for Congress, but I doubt it. She might instead spend the next two years campaigning full-time for the nomination, which is about the minimum amount of time for a Presidential bid these days.
With Obama as President, she can attempt to become the symbolic leadership of the “anti-Obama” forces within the G.O.P., criticizing his every move, throwing rocks from a distance, and re-creating history for the G.O.P. faithful, attempting to re-write history by convincing people that everything was rosey during the Bush administration and all the problems suddenly arose during the Obama term of office. Given the intelligence of the wingnuts, that might not be hard to do, since the next couple of years will undoubtedly be spent cleaning up after the financial and foreign-policy disasters of the Republican party years.
RR @ 12: Moving toward the center would indeed be the smart thing for Palin to do. But I doubt that she’s that smart. She has been insulated into a small-sub-regional culture which is Alaska, and also the Evangelical/right-wing neo-conservative culture at that. You can see from her appearances that she just lights up with delight at the approval given to her by the true wingnuts, and she feeds off that energy. That’s where she feels the most comfortable, among the approving admiration of those who think exactly like her.
Given that context, to her the “middle-right” is sitting somewhere on the right side of Atilla the Hun. Despite her handler’s best efforts, I think if she tries to move any further to the left of where she is now, her first instinct will be to snap right back – like a rubber band – into her former position. If she try’s that ploy, she will continue to make mistakes in the media which will give her away.