The Business Of Political Ads

Andrew Sullivan —  May 17 2012 @ 1:42pm

The NYT reported that Joe Ricketts was considering spending millions on anti-Obama Rev. Wright ads. Apparently, that idea has now been rejected. How Yglesias understood the proposal:

[W]hile I don't know any objective observers who think a focus on Jeremiah Wright is damaging to the president … it's obvious that a lot of hard-core Republicans do think this way. … If you're Fred Davis or any other consultant eager to help himself to a slice of Ricketts' $10 million investment, coming up with a cost-effective plan for damaging Obama's re-election campaign is pointless. What you want to do is come up with a plan that appeals to Ricketts' sensibilities and makes him want to spend the money.

Waldman is in neighboring territory:

[T]here is no magic television ad that can undo a sitting president running for re-election. That's because people have pretty well-formed opinions about him. You can make a dramatic, surprising character attack against a candidate who isn't particularly well known by the voters, but it just doesn't work for the incumbent. That isn't to say advertising can't have any impact. But it's fairly typical of a rich outsider like Ricketts to think, " The thing about the President I hate the most is the thing that will turn all Americans against him," and if we just show them, they'll all agree.