Thursday, September 21, 2006

Positive Ads


John DeStefano and Jodi Rell have both taken to the airwaves with new ads, both of which are mostly very positive. DeStefano's ad, which is his first of the general election, contrasts his ideas with the past twelve years, during which "Republicans ruled our state," and, "You know from your own life, things just aren’t getting done." While the first statement is a little dubious (Republicans last won control of of one of the chambers of the General Assembly in 1994, and no Republican save Rowland and Rell have been elected to statewide office for a decade), the second tries to appeal to a genral sense of worsening times. This is as negative as the ad gets. DeStefano presents his ideas as a remedy for "the politics of inaction," promising "He’ll close corporate loopholes and use the money to lower heath care costs---for everyone," and "A real plan to lower electric bills and freeze property taxes for seniors."

No mention of Universal Health Care? Surprising. And no sweeping property tax reform, massive transportation plan or school reforms either. DeStefano's biggest and boldest ideas are missing from the ad.

And the line "You're getting squeezed: squeeze back," is either really goofy or an incitement to class warfare. Maybe both. You can see the ad for yourself below:

Gov. Jodi Rell's second ad is, like her first, relentlessly-- almost painfully-- positive. Rell highlights past achievements like saving the sub base (the number of jobs saved seems a little high) and ethics reform, as well as making a mysterious claim that Connecticut is on the way to becoming a national leader in job creation. She pours it on about how great Connecticut is, and how much she likes being our governor.

Schmaltz, yes. But also perfect. She's making all the right moves for someone who is 20 points ahead of her opponent. Her ads are positive and light, but not entirely free of substance. Here's her ad:

The difference between the ads--and also between the campaigns--is that DeStefano is selling the idea of change, and his own ideas with it. Rell is selling herself. So long as she continues to enjoy high personal approval ratings, she has to do little else. DeStefano is putting a lot of ideas on the table, but it will take more than just ideas to combat Rell's personal popularity.