Direct mail eats up a lot out of a campaign budget, and a tightly fought contest can see a blizzard of mail coming to the homes of voters.
Here are some examples of direct mail pieces sent out by the campaigns involved in the August primary.
Let's start with Joe Lieberman, and the 80% / 90% attack. Here Lieberman attacks Lamont for voting "with Republicans" 80% of the time when he was a Greenwich selectman. In the early 1990s. Notice the colors: Lieberman gets a clean blue and white, while Lamont gets a sort of sour yellow and a somewhat sicker looking blue. The mailing flips up to give us the obviously slanted records of the two men. The colors are the same. The provocative question, "If he sided with the Republicans in Greenwich, who will Ned Lamont side with in Washington?" is asked, but never really answered. Greenwich Republicans, of course, are very different creatures than the current Washington crop. The flip side calls Lieberman "A principled Democrat with a record of standing up for working families," and so on. The idea here is contrast, which the Lieberman campaign accomplishes by using colors, including an even more gross orange in the lettering for the Lamont side. The Lieberman side, of course, is a nice, clean blue and white. This is a very soft attack piece.
This next ad is another Lieberman mailing. An awful lot of his mail has found its way here--far more than any other candidate.
Here's a big elephant. It represents Ned Lamont. Would you like me to spell it out for you again? Lamont is a rich Republican who is going to beat up your grandmother. Face facts. Also, these circus colors are pretty hideous.
A less attack-filled Lieberman piece is this one. Let's see if we can figure out who it's aimed at, shall we?
Hmm. Kids, families... the headings are "healthy families," "clean air," "strong schools" and "the right to choose." Hang on, I think I've got it!
Why, look! It's an endorsement from each and every female Democratic Senator! There's also more in-depth endorsements with statements on the back. So, women, take heed. These are the issues you care about. Joe shares your concern. Notice the soothing greens. Obviously colors women can identify with. ...Right?
One more from Lieberman. The front of this mailer shows a sub chugging towards us. Remember, it isn't chugging away! Naval colors (blue and gold) are everywhere. Notice that the Bush Administration is responsible for the sub base going on the BRAC list. This is a job for Joe Lieberman, apparently, since he's so opposed to the Bush Administration.
Yes, Lieberman single-handedly saved the sub base, with no help from anyone. Especially any Republicans. Yup. But no attacks here, just a plea to keep him where he says he'll do the most good. Vote for Lieberman. Or lose your job.
Now let's look at some of Ned Lamont's mailers. The first one we'll look at has ghastly, toxic and burning colors all over--mainly oranges and a sort of yellowish-green. The front of the mailer shows a smokestack, with the words "affordable gas prices," "safe and clean environment" and "independence from foreign oil" in the smoke itself. They are apparently going up in smoke. They are also hard to read. The inside of the mailer attacks Lieberman for his support of the "Bush-Cheney energy bill." The final image is of Bush photoshopped in right next to Lieberman. Bush is facing away, while Lieberman is facing towards us. Bush is sort of thumbing at Lieberman, as if to say, "this is my guy." The caption suggests that Lieberman can't stand up for Connecticut if he can't "stand up to George Bush." Again, a sickly green for one's opponent seems required.
Here's the softer side of Ned Lamont:
Oh. My. God. This thing looks like a Mother's Day card, or maybe a wedding announcement. The inside of the card--uh, mailer--is all about what a great guy Ned is. See? Ned's mother thinks he's cool, so obviously he is.
There is exactly one mailer from the Democratic candidates for governor sitting around here (hey! get with the program!), and it's from John DeStefano. It's about his universal health care plan. The front cover shows a woman and adorable blond baby, and probably the nicest picture of DeStefano I've seen (the guy has a knack for taking bad pictures. Every picture I have of him, he's making some sort of goofy face. He doesn't mean to, it just happens). The inside has a less-nice picture of DeStefano, and outlines his attack on Wal-Mart. The great line is "Better health care for everyone without raising your taxes." Uh. Sure. Good luck with that. The best part of the mailer is his attack on Dan Malloy, which looks like Swiss cheese and says "Dan Malloy's plan is full of holes." A great line is "Fuzzy funding formula relies on George W. Bush to pay for his plan."
What's interesting is that every single piece, with the exception of the elephant one, mentions George W. Bush directly. And the elephant piece implies that Lamont will soon be kissing up to Bush.
So I guess we're seeing their strategy in action.
As the month goes on and the primary draws nearer, we'll be seeing many more mailers. I'll post more as they come in.