Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hittin' the panic button

If one was to ever create a caricature of leftists, one needs to look no further than Alliance for a Bitter Better Minnesota. Sure, they label themselves as an "independent" organization which looks to educate Minnesotans on the issues facing our state. But it's no secret that they're a well-funded PAC, courtesy of a member of the Rockefeller family (Alida Messinger), who also happens to be Governor Mark Dayton's ex wife. As such, come campaign season they're quite ubiquitous when it comes to hit pieces on Republican political candidates.

For 2014 though, ABM has quite an uphill battle. Governor Dayton, who is up for reelection, has proven to be in over his head as the state's chief executive. And House DFLers, who also have to face voters next year, have blatantly slammed through overreaching pieces of legislation (e.g. Daycare unionization, a bloated budget, higher taxes, a disastrous healthcare exchange, etc.). Since ABM has the unenviable task of trying to defend the indefensible, they've apparently chosen to double down on the personal attacks.

Jeff Johnson, one of the handful of GOP candidates vying for the nomination to oppose Dayton next year, was ABM's target this week. That shouldn't come as any surprise since he won the non-binding straw poll among Republican State Central delegates last weekend. What scares ABM most about Johnson is his apparent ability to bridge the divide among MN GOP activists. That certainly is no small feat given the disruption caused over the past few election cycles by certain factions of the Republican party. Yes, there have been some who seem intent on tearing the party down instead of unifying to build it up. If Johnson can successfully create unity, all of a sudden some focus can shift to persuading independent voters against a vulnerable incumbent like Dayton. I say all that to give you some background as to what might have ABM so panicked. They couldn't find anything disparaging about Johnson, so they enact the ol' "guilt by association" mantra. Hence they unearthed some controversial tweets in the Twitter feed of Johnson campaign aide Craig Westover. Tweets which took place last year. Before Westover was an aide. Before Johnson even announced a run for governor.

Westover did not apologize. “There’s no expectation of privacy on the Internet, there’s also no expectation of not being offended,” he said. “What I put there is what people volunteer to follow. If they don’t like it, they can un-follow me.”

Opposition research, like searching social media, is usually aimed at candidates, not staff members. Johnson might find some comfort that research so far has turned up little from his past. Furthermore, that Westover is a target suggests Johnson has become enough of a threat in the contest to unseat Mark Dayton that ABM decided to dig for a speck of dirt.

On it's face, ABM looked pretty pathetic with this stunt. But, again, with no substantive debate on policy, ABM decided on Halloween to double down on the personal attacks.

Courtesy of John Rouleau

In case you're unaware, Patrick Bateman (played by Christian Bale) is the lead character in the 2000 movie American Psycho

I know ABM has a tendency to be bottom feeders but even this seems to be beneath their usual vapidity. That's something that must have occurred to them later in the day.


Courtesy of John Rouleau

At what point did the powers that be with ABM realize equating a GOP gubernatorial candidate with a serial killer (albeit a fictional one, but still...) was an "inappropriate reference?" Was it only after ABM received its just criticism or does someone there actually have a moral conscience and thus shut down the post immediately? Regardless, said post seemed to be put together out of panic. I have a hard time believing otherwise since anyone giving careful thought on how to zing a political opponent certainly wouldn't have arrived at a serial killer analogy. However, if indeed the slam on Johnson was carefully crafted, what does that say about the utter depravity that exists at Alliance For a Better Minnesota?


No comments: