Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Local Politics: Meet Darcy Burner

You'd think they would give you a breather, after the Primary. But no, without missing a beat, more mailers have shown up.

Two days after the election, an elderly gentleman came to the door stumping for Darcy Burner, the Democrat candidate for the 8th District. The Lovely Bride assured him she was generally Democrat and would probably vote for Ms. Burner. The gentleman asked about me. She assured him I was generally Democrat, but could she have the mailer anyway, as I tend to report on them for my blog. He gave her one, along with a strange smile, as if she had told him I was in the backyard juggling anvils.

And the mailer (From the Washington State Democratic Central Commitee) is pretty much what I have come to know as Darcy Burner boilerplate - a good full-color introduction to the candidate, her story (army brat, brother served in Iraq, Harvard grad, Microsoft manager), why she's running (country going wrong direction), endorsements (Sen. Murray, Congressman Dicks), policies (pro-middle class, pro-veteran, pro-health care, anti-oil company), and even has space to take a swing at "the other guy" (who is against stem cell reseach, pro-Big Oil, pro-privatizing Social Security, Anti-vet benefits). As you might guess, its texturally dense, and pretty informative. A good introduction to a candidate, giving the voters a lot of various reasons to consider her.

And few days later we got one in the mail(1) from the National Republican Congressional Commitee, a mailer which ALSO wanted to introduce us to Darcy Burner. But this was the EeeeVIL Darcy Burner, the one that isn't "Ready for Leadership" (as opposed to the guy who has two whole years of experience in the job). And how do they know Darcy isn't ready? Because she Failed to Vote in a number of local elections! AHAH! An anarchist!

But I look at this mailer and I say - "Two million? This is what two million from the NRCC buys these days?" A cookie-cutter two-color attack mailer that looks like it was laid out by an intern learning to use Photoshop who wanted to play with all the fonts? It has a lot of what we in the publishing industry call "creative use of white space", which means you don't have a lot to say and you're dressing it up as best as you can. Two million? Really?

Worse yet, however, is that they got some of their (few) facts wrong. While they could have made some hay off the elections she legitimately did not vote in (2000 Primary, for example, joining a large chunk of the rest of the state), they had to pump their numbers by including elections that she could not vote in (like those in Redmond, where she worked but did not live). So they didn't even do the basic research.

And of course, there's the idea that we should forget whatever problems have plagued the King County Sherriff's Office when the current Congressman was in charge, because it wasn't his fault, and it was so long ago (back in 2004). But whether the challenger voted in 1999 school board elections! That's NEWS, by gum!

I'm just waiting for the one that goes "Challenger Youngwoman wrote in a high school report said there were nine planets. Scientists agree that there are EIGHT! Challenger Youngwoman, WRONG on the number of planets, WRONG for Congress"

And of course I love the tag line "She Can't Be Trusted to Be There When We Need Her" (what, the "to" didn't rate a capital letter?). Thanks, NRCC, for reminding everyone who gets this mailer that one of Burner's points is that the guy currently in office can't be particularly trusted to vote beyond the instructions of the NRCC.

Of course, this is the standard blockheaded political approach, the opening gun of the smear campaign (Right down to the defensive declaration - "She's a negative campaigner! Not like we are! No, not us! We're just pointing it out! And she went first!") I don't think they realize we're spoiled out here in Washington State. After the recent BIAW-funded judge's race. we KNOW what 2 Large can buy in the way of targetted ads, push-polls, and grainy black and white photos of the opposition (Burner even looks GOOD in the attack mailer - I swear, the Intern whipped this up before going back to college). Somebody is putting a lot of the 2 Million into their pockets, because very little is getting out in the finished product.

I mean, who did they farm out this assignment to - Haliburton?

More later,

(1) Thank to the increasingly political Stranger Blog for the scan.