Earlier today, we took a look at the new anti-Obamacare ad from Americans For Prosperity airing in Arkansas. The ad features a man who feels like he’s in a “haze” because of confusion surrounding the impact of Obamacare (he’s worried his plan might have been cancelled, though it turns out he can keep it for three more years). The ad doesn’t mention that part of the confusion stemmed from AFP. Read all about it.
Huffington Post concludes that AFP has softened up after their prior attack ads were discredited by fact checkers.
But in some ways, the spot might be good news for Pryor — even though it brings AFP spending against him to about $2 million in 2014 alone — because it suggests that the most damning charge against him currently is that a law he backed is causing some confusion. This isn’t your death panel-level attack. …
“The Kochs are getting desperate,” said Pryor campaign spokesman Erik Dorey in a statement. “They’re throwing millions at Congressman Cotton to reward his reckless votes against Medicare, student loans and equal pay for women, but Arkansans just aren’t buying these misleading attacks.”
I think an equally good theory comes from Dave Weigel at Slate, who concludes that AFP ads are designed to attract criticism, which gives them a longer shelf life. Liberals complain that an ad is misleading, then AFP gets to be outraged on behalf of whoever is featured in the ad. This might be a particularly effective ploy on behalf of a guy who is confused, since lots of people are understandably confused about the health care law.
Will any of this work? At some point, voters may begin to feel like they are “living in a haze” of misleading commercials. Is it November yet?
p.s. Random pet peeve of mine: when Political Team A says that Political Team B must be “getting desperate,” but it always turns out that these so-called desperation moves are run-of-the-mill political tactics.