Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Republican against capitalism

If you read this blog, it's should be clear that I'm a Republican, and hence want the GOP to win next week. That said, I'm not the type who thinks you never criticize someone on your own side, as I've shown here and here. This is one of those posts.

I just heard an absolutely awful radio ad for Congresswoman Sue Kelly. She was criticizing her opponent John Hall for owning mutual funds that invest in, among other things, Pfizer, Wal-Mart, and oil companies. There was also a charge that one of the companies in one fund shifted something offshore for tax purposes (or something like that, I missed the exact point). I've looked on her campaign site (and elsewhere) for a link to the ad itself, but can't find any. I'll post one if I can track it down.

Now, I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt that this is in response to other things that have been happening in the race. This clip that I just found from a cable TV debate suggests that the issue of Hall's mutual fund holdings has come up before. That said, do Republicans really want to be running ads that disparage opponents because they own mutual funds, especially ones that own such mainstays of the American economy? So much for the "ownership society."

I'm sure there are plenty of Kelly defenders that will say I am missing the "nuance" of the ad, that it is about hypocrisy, etc. Nonsense. If I, as a political junkie and investment professional, am missing the nuance, then I can guarantee you that the average voter will as well. And it will contribute to a culture that will make attacks like this acceptable. In the end such a culture will be much more damaging to Republicans rather than Democrats, never mind society at large.

I know next to nothing about Sue Kelly and the dynamics of this race. But I do know that this ad is just terrible, and if this is the best she can do, we are in real trouble. Maybe her internals are even worse than the published numbers, which show it a toss-up right now. The ad reeks of desperation.

Plus, if poor Larry Kudlow hears this ad he might just have a heart attack, and we can't have that happen.

UPDATE: An anti-Kelly blogger in the comments provides the link that I couldn't find myself; you can listen to the ad here. I actually wound up hearing the ad a few more times today on the radio, and let me tell you that it did not grow on me. At all.

About the only possible (defensible) rationale I could think of for it would be if Hall had made similar accusations about Kelly before. Even then, this is just stupid (and that's the nicest word I can come up with for it). As I said before, I know very little about Rep. Kelly, and even less about her race this year. For all I know, she may be an excellent congresswoman, and I selfishly want her to win this year in order to help preserve the Republican majority. That said, the best thing I can say about this ad is that it is embarrassing (to the side that paid for it, mind you). If saying so gives comfort to her opponents this week, so be it.

Please, take this thing off the air already, and make a real case for why either 1) you deserve to be sent to Washington, or 2) your opponent does not. This ad is not it.


take19 said...

We've been following this race closely, and are admittedly anti-Kelly. But we're glad that a Republican calls out Kelly's latest ad for the hypocrisy that it is. If investing in mainstream mutual funds like Fidelity Magellan is so wrong, where should Americans put their retirment savings? We've posted more about this here.

take19 said...

Almost forgot: listen to the ad yourself here.

Anonymous said...

Sue Kelly is a hypocrite: Sue Kelly Turns her Back on Veterans

Gadfly said...

Well, the VFW has endorsed her, which they presumably wouldn't do if they thought she "turns her back on veterans."

Anonymous said...

This is the only Kelly ad I've heard (several times on Imus and elsewhere) and I still can't understand why she would do this. Shouldn't she be telling us why she should be elected, her policies, successes, etc? Instead we hear about John Hall's mutual funds?!??!! What is she thinking?

I'm a registered Republican, but sadly, I'm voting for a Democrat in this race.

Gadfly said...

It's the only ad I've heard from her as well, although I'm not in her district (just apparently listen to a radio station that has some overlap). It's still getting a lot of play - I heard it twice this morning (Monday).

If one party or the other was going to control the House by 40 seats after this election, I would say go ahead and do what you suggest. But you have to ask yourself if you're a Republican, is this ad - no matter how stupid - so terrible that you want Nancy Pelosi as speaker because of it? Because that is what is at stake - things are very close. Given that, if I were in the district I would vote for Kelly, and work to make sure she does a better job next time.