I’ve always thought that there was something fishy about the GOP’s GOTV and advertising operations. We’d hear every cycle that a massive, highly effective GOTV operation was cranking up to make the big difference in the election, but I never saw clear evidence of what, exactly, that operation was. Ads are a little more transparent. From the financial disclosure forms I’ve seen, it was clear that Republican consultants bundle charges for making and placing ads, while Democratic consultants make the ads and then the candidate pays for airtime in a separate transaction.
With GOTV, I suspected that the Republicans mainly relied on the long-true fact that Republicans are more likely to vote on their own than Democrats. With ads, I thought that there was a huge incentive for consultants to crank out formulaic crap ads and place them indiscriminately to pocket as much money as possible.
Unless the Romney campaign is far less competent that previous ones, my suspicions about the GOP GOTV operation were right and then some. This post by a Republican poll worker (via OTB) is just a catalog of failure at every point. Lists were emailed as 60 page attachments the night before the election, poll workers weren’t certified for their precincts, a mobile “app” that was supposed to revolutionize the operation didn’t work, and the net result was this motivated poll worker couldn’t work on election day.
[…] The left thinks the Republican party is beholden to its billionaire donors. Actually, the Republican party treats these donors as easy marks. The party is actually beholden to a small cadre of political consultants and media buyers who exert total control over the party’s messaging and outreach.
All institutional arms of the Republican party have lists of “approved” vendors and consultants. If a campaign doesn’t use someone from this list, the party will threaten to withhold financial support. If consultants on this list were competent, it wouldn’t be such a problem, but the “approved” consultants tend to produce generic, cookie-cutter campaigns. Can anyone remember a single memorable ad from a SuperPAC or GOP campaign this cycle?
Rove’s SuperPAC spent a bunch of money in my House district (NY-25) on the most weak-ass, bog-standard anti-incumbent ads I’ve ever seen. In a D+5 district, the well-known, fairly moderate Republican candidate, Maggie Brooks, lost by 14 points to Louise Slaughter. I think part of the reason is the PAC ads, because they are so obviously Republican that they reinforced Slaughter’s contention that Brooks was a standard-issue conservative Republican.