Why am I taking the time to show an attack ad by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee? Because I think it is far from damaging and I think it highlights a number of things.
First of all, the Ds must be worried about Portman because why else would they offer an attack ad this early? They know Portman is raising serious money and that his numbers are improving. So why not take swipe at him and try and slow his momentum.
Second, how lame is this ad? Put aside the debate about trade - and the claim that Portman sent jobs overseas - are they actually accusing Portman of increasing the debt?!? Do we have a chart? Chart after the fold:
Portman was at OMB during 2006-2007. Take a look at the above chart. Which direction was the deficit going during those years? That's right, down. In fact, Portman helped cut the deficit in half.
You don't have to be a math major to decipher what has happened since. And given that Democrats control both Houses of Congress and the White House it takes incredible chutzpah to attach Portman for increasing the deficit.
The rest of the ad is just Democratic boilerplate. But the question has to be: "How long are they going to blame George W. Bush for the country's problems?" And do they really think that simply by connecting Portman to Bush they accomplish something?
Again, remember that the Democrats control Congress and the White House. We have deficits so large they are hard to conceptualize. We have nearly 11% unemployment in Ohio. The stimulus failed and they are talking about passing another one in a vain attempt to spark something.
The Democrats are fighting the last election. Bush isn't on the ballot. Accusations about tax cuts for the super rich, votes against the minimum wage and laughable charges of increasing the deficit are not going to move votes.
Sure, liberals who hate Bush and think Obama's economic policies are the solution will find this ad attractive. But I don't think this ad appeals to independents and moderates who are increasingly coming to wonder if Obama's policies are working. And I don't think simply connecting Portman to Bush works in this environment.
Portman doesn't have great name recognition around the state, but when voters get to know him they like him. Portman is clearly raising enough money that he is going to have the resources to introduce himself to voters. And given the political environment you have to think that voters will give him a look.
This ad is not a damaging early strike. It is just a desperate lame attempt at distracting us from the fact that the Democrats are likely locked into a bitter primary in an deteriorating environment where their poll numbers are taking a dive.
News flash for Democrats: the Bush era is over. You are in charge now. That is what 2010 is going to be about. But hey, if you want to keep flailing away at Bush, go ahead ...