Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Second Congressional District: A Tale of Two Commercials

Since 2002 when Enfield was added to the 2nd Congressional District because of redistricting all I have heard in my overly Democrat town (from Democrats) is what a dirty campaigner Rob Simmons is. I have always maintained that this couldn't be further from the truth. I still do. Simmons soundly defeated former State Rep Joe Courtney of Vernon that year. The same Joe Courtney that was very involved in Sam Gejdenson's campaign 2 years earlier when Rob defeated the 20 year incumbent.

I don't think anyone can forget that campaign. That was the one where Sam's campaign used every page of the dirty campaign book and went so far as to refer to Rob in an ad as a war criminal after having proudly served his country in Vietnam. Now I fully admit that tension has been high in these campaigns but I also know that Rob has never been the first to attack. And you can't blame a guy for defending himself and that is all he has done in past years.

So this year we have a rematch of 2002 with Courtney challenging Simmons again. Well the first television ads from both sides are out. What will we see? What will they say? Who will go negative first?

Here is Simmons' Commercial

It is a good issues oriented commercial that talks about the Congressman's record. No mention of his opponent in it at all. Nice and Clean.

And this is Courtney's Commercial

WOW! Well I guess the negative question is answered now, isn't it? C'mon Joe, say it ain't so...are you really going to revert back to these nasty tactics? Why can't you run a commercial telling us why you think that you are the better candidate or what you believe in like you opponent has done? Is it necessary to run filthy, dirty disgusting attack ads to win? And is it worth it to do so? I had hoped you would have learned last time but I guess not.

And Kudos to Congressman Simmons for taking the highroad and sticking to the issues. The people of the 2nd Congressional District deserve it.

Sources:, "Heidi", "Number One"


Anonymous said...

Just about everything I've heard from Simmons's mouth has been sleaze. His positions are just about always anti-middle-class. Apparently you are deluding yourself.

cgg said...

I'm just glad that Courtney didn't take a bite out of that hot dog after it had changed hands so many times.

disgruntled_republican said...


That's a load of bull and you know it. If that is the case, cite one example...

Rob has done his job. He is a hard worker and represents his district well. It is you who is deluding yourself with the Courtney talking points.

Funny how how your comments have nothing to do with the post...

Anonymous said...

wow, that courtney piece is really really good.

it's almost avant-garde.

thanks for linking to that one.

seeking debate said...

Here is the evidence for every point that Courtney raises in the ad. This is called debating the issues, which is, after all, the purpose of holding elections. I'm sorry if Disgruntled and Simmons don't like to talk about Simmons' record, but it is what it is. There is nothing "filthy" or "dirty" about debating a candidate's record. This is something filthy, dirty, and Lieberman-like about denouncing all critics in such a hysterical manner.

I would expect better of Disgruntled, who is sounding more like ACR in his kneejerk party talking points. This post is nonsense.

Anonymous said...

When did talking about an opponent's record become negative?

Are challengers not supposed to highlight when the inucmbent went against the will of his district, or what they perceive to be the will of the district?

Derby Conservative said...

What amazed me the most about Joe Courtney’s commercial is how much he looks like the late Sam Johnson, former Chairman of the S.C. Johnson Wax Co.

Sorry about the link, couldn't get it to embed in html.

Genghis Conn said...

We saw the Courtney commercial the other night (it was on during House), and my wife and I thought the old lady was absolutely hilarious.


Foam fingers? Goofy un-natural cross section of people at a fake game? If avante-garde means CHEEZY and difficult to watch and follow, someone call the Acadamy - I smell a Tony!

That old woman is cluching that weiner like it was the last footlong on the planet.

Courtney deserves to lose for his bad food choices, his souveniors made in China, and promoting nasty attititudes at sporting events. and oh yeh - he hasn't shown anyone in D2 why or how he'd do a better job than Rob has. Shill...

Thanks Gruntled. That was amusing.

Jim said...

Wait... what was nasty?

Sure, Simmons ran a well-done positive issue-based ad. He's also a 6 year incumbent.

Courtney, the challenger, needs to convince voters to fire Simmons. He's trying to do that with the accurate, well documented evidence in that ad.

The foam fingers were clever. The hotdog didn't make any sense.
I could go for a hotdog, though. Mmm

Anonymous said...

It is a distortion of his record folks. Plain and Simple. And as Rockville points out, he offers no reason to elect him over Simmons...and calling him "Bush's Number One Supporter"? That just isn't going to resonate with voters here. in CG2.

hartford_for_lamont said...

dear disgruntled:

point 1: congratulations on your new capacity here!

point 2: thanks for that link; that was a GREAT commercial by courtney! simmons supporters should be afraid, very afraid!

point 3: glad to see courtney mention in his new TV commercial that bush's policy in iraq has been a failure -

point 4: criticizing an incumbent on his voting record like courtney is doing to simmons here is NOT "going negative";

an example of "going negative" would be what the swifties did to kerry in 2004, ie, attacking kerry on a personal level & lying about kerry's vietnam service, or linking images of dukakis to willie horton, or linking images of max cleland to bin laden.

I did not see courtney do anything like that here.

the incumbent's voting record is ALWAYS the issue in a campaign!

what do you expect courtney to do, PRAISE simmons' voting record?

disgruntled_republican said...

hartford for lamomont -

My new capacity? Not sure what you mean but thanks.

I have no problem with a challenger going after his opponent's record but do it truthfully and honestly and why is it necessary to call him Bush's number 1 supporter when we all know that just isn't true.

And the Iraq policy being a failure...Rob has been very critical as to how it has been handled as well from the beginning when he got wind of the Hummers and soldiers with no body armor. He led the fight to change that if you recall. If you want to tell the story, tell the whiole story.

And as has been mentioned, Joe has yet to point out what he would do and why anyone should vote for him.

hartford_for_lamont said...

also, in case anyone here did not get it, the elderly woman in the new courtney TV ad is a proxy for and is speaking for all the seniors who are getting the shaft on the bush/johnson/simmons medicare prescrip bill -

I watched this new courtney ad two more times, and it is a REALLY good ad!

this ad attacks simmons on real issues, AND ties simmons to bush the political leper, AND is entertaining, all at the same time!


Anonymous said...

If you support Bush, you should be given the boot. That message works for me.

bluecoat said...

Rob's a good guy; he's one of the few that undestood economics, defied Rowland and voted against the Renschler field debacle when he was in the GA.

hartford_for_lamont said...

dear disgruntled:

why is it necessary to call him Bush's number 1 supporter when we all know that just isn't true.

bush's #1 CONNECTICUT supporter -

you need to comparatively examine the voting records of johnson, simmons, and shays in order to determine that, and I expect that courtney has done his homework here.

And the Iraq policy being a failure...Rob has been very critical as to how it has been handled as well from the beginning when he got wind of the Hummers and soldiers with no body armor.

the bush iraq failure is not just about "body armor" and "humvees"; it is about being a mission based on lies and bushie-cherry-picked intel that we should have never undertaken in the first place, and that is now hurting us more than helping us, and that we should now begin to seriously disengage from. anything short of that position is tacit support for the bush iraq failure.

Joe has yet to point out what he would do

(say "courtney", to avoid any confusion here)

it is NOT courtney's job right now to come up with an alternate plan FOR ANYTHING; it is courtney's job right now ONLY to position himself as a serious & unambiguous agent for change.

GMR said...

I don't live in the second district, I am a Republican, but I can't say that I'm offended by the ad in any way. I've seen a lot worse.

I guess Simmons might be more supportive of Bush than any other member of Congress. The two Senators certainly aren't, despite some of the inanities to come from some Lamont supporters concerning Joe Lieberman. And Larson and Rosa aren't. That leaves Simmons duking it out with Shays and Nancy Johnson, neither of which really vote with the Republicans that often. Simmons doesn't either, but more than the others...

But I guess since I'm a Republican, I don't really take issue if someone says that the opponents positions are aligned with the President's positions.

The "evidence" about the energy bill on Courtney's site is rather laughable: one sentence seems to lament that Simmons did nothing to lower the cost of fuel, while the next sentence says he voted to allow drilling in ANWR. Let's see, more supply makes prices go which way? And allowing a LNG terminal in LI Sound? Wouldn't that help alleviate prices, since it would also increase the supply? And voting for a bill that subsidizes refinery construction? That sounds like it should help make prices of the end products cheaper. I don't know the specifics on that subsidy bill (and am usually opposed to subsidies myself), but to say that Simmons hasn't done anything is sort of laughable. I certainly don't fault Simmons for having voted for the energy bill.

(I also know that ANWR isn't the answer to our energy issues, like some Republicans seem to imply, nor would involve clear cutting thousands of miles of forest and polluting millions of acres as some Democrats imply).

I guess what I find striking about Courtney's ad isn't that it is offensive, but that Courtney doesn't seem to have much in the way of specifics or solutions. Now, I know it's a 30 second ad an all, so I checked out his website.

The energy issue seems to have the same old stuff about how Exxon Mobil made a huge profit (they did, because they sell a lot, not because they are gouging the consumer: there is competition in the oil business). On his site, he also has some dated statistics about gasoline prices. In Ridgefield, the independent Irving gas station (part of a Canadian chain) was selling gas the othr day, full serve, for $2.85.

Courtney, from what I can tell, seems to think that higher fuel efficiency standards are the answer. Of course, that would take years to have an impact, and there are all the usual arguments about lighter vehicles, family cars, etc. I guess my feeling on the whole issue is that right now, people can buy cars or SUVs that are really fuel efficient, or they can choose to buy vehicles that have other options but less fuel efficiency. I guess I trust people about what kind of car they're going to buy.

But a windfall profits tax? Please. That's not going to make oil cheaper.

Anonymous said...

Don't believe this positive Simmons BS for a minute. The facts are clear:

Rob Simmons started his campaign with a negative and misleading radio advertisement back in May. I can't remember their words exactly, but I think the Journal Inquirer actually took the time to call the ad dishonest and desperate.

Simmons is a nasty campaigner who will not hestitate to fling his dirty stinking filth at the 2nd district voters this fall. He's got to go!

Anonymous said...

Historically, Simmons always goes very negative very late in the campaign, so let's hold off putting him on any sort of pedestal. As far as the Courtney ad goes, the acting is terrible - - - especially the hot dog guy.

Anonymous said...

Courtney ad is brilliant.

tying Simmons to Bush has never been done in CT2 before.

it is innovative and should resonate strongly with voters. I wish Jim Sullivan would have used the Bush-Simmons analogy.

I've emailed Courtney's campaign and suggested his next ad morph Simmons and Bush together.

this is our year, I can feel it.

seeking debate said...


I have no problem with a challenger going after his opponent's record but do it truthfully and honestly and why is it necessary to call him Bush's number 1 supporter when we all know that just isn't true.

The ad specifically says "Rob Simmons is George Bush's number one supporter in Connecticut." Courtney's site refers to a Congressional Quarterly stat that says "Simmons votes with Bush more than any other member of the Congressional Delegation."

Not a distortion, and easy to understand. If Simmons regrets his voting record, he can apologize, denounce Bush, and start over. Courtney is just reporting on the numbers.

Anonymous said...

Hey Hartford_for_Lamont:

just curious what your thoughts are on this:

"Courtney, who also does not support an immediate withdrawal..." (Norwich Bulletin, Sept. 13, 2006)

How is this position different than Simmons?

Anonymous said...

I don't really understand why people are so against these bills. Most of them have actually done a lot of good. My neighbor is on Medicare part D, and it's really not very confusing at all...especially when people at the pharmacies are so well versed in it. She's going to be saving a lot of money and is very happy with it...despite the fact that she is a staunch Democrat.

Anonymous said...

Republicans should be toast in November. If Bush and Cheney weren't such assholes, they'd admit that Iraq is falling apart, and make some serious changes to their mid-East policies. Instead they keep insisting things are going well, and avoid any talk of change.

If it takes booting out Bush enablers like Simmons and Lieberman, so be it. The problem with D.C. is incumbency, and it's time for voters to show the politicians who's really the boss.

The only one who might deserve a pass is Shays, because unlike Simmons and Johnson he's not a typical Republican.

Accountability is a bitch.

Anonymous said...

Are the people in Courtney's ad paid actors or non-paid residents who live in the 2nd CD?

Just wondering....

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:34 - aside from the cost (especially the actual cost compared to the advertised cost), the problem with the part d is the donought hole provision. sometime around october 1, thousands of ct's seniors will be paying for 100% of their expensive prescription drugs. not great timing for shays, johnson, and simmons, but especially johnson.

MVD said...

anyone thinking of voting for Rob Simmons needs to see this video.

CTRevolution said...

MVD, that's a great video there. It really underscores the fact that Simmons has been a big supporter of George Bush's failed administration. And in my mind, anyone who so blindly followed that administration and echoed its rhetoric is not worth voting for. This isn't about negative politics, it's about doing what's right for the country which means firing Simmons.

If you want to see a disgusting negative ad, see Nancy Johnson's latest. After using 9/11 as a political prop in a previous ad, she has sunk to a new low. The fear tactics of Johnson are so over the top they remind me of authoritarian government propaganda. It is pitiful that someone would put forth such an ad. The politics of fear might of worked for the Republicans last time around, but 2006 will be different. This year, voters will not be scared into voting for Republicans. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry...but you're an idiot MVD. A Congressman uses talking points. Whoopdeefrickindoo. How many times has Joe Courtney used talking points? I've lost track. Courtney is a bigger party hack than Simmons could ever dream to be.

And Anonymous 5:16 pm
How was the Simmons radio ad misleading? It was plain and simple fact. Joe Courtney voted to instate the gas tax. There's no denying it. The Simmons ad was not misleading at all.

Courtney's TV ad is the misleading portrays some bills which have been extremely helpful to the people of Connecticut as evil bills. I'd like to see what your life or the lives of your loved ones would be like without them. $8.00 a gallon for gasoline? That's what it would be like if Joe Courtney were elected...and you complain about the Bush energy plain. Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:36-

What's misleading is that Simmons tried to balance the budget by imposing a 12% gas tax on gasoline distributors. Not 12 cents, but 12 PERCENT.. Just imagine what gas would cost today if he had his way.

Anonymous said...

You dismiss the fact that Simmons served as a key operative in Operation Phoenix-- a CIA program of civilian assasination in Viet Nam that arguably violated the Geneva Convention by targeting civilians suspected of helping the VC. Check out this story on it Chilling to have an assassin representing us in Congress!

Anonymous said...

SNOOOORE. Another Election, ole 4foot Courtney with the bird beak is going after Simmons again, and he will LOSE AGAIN. I dont know how you libs can keep your hopes up after having them crushed time and time again.

To the guy who said it isnt Joes job to come up with solutions just to be an agent for change, yes please keep believing that and spread it to as many liberals and democrats as you can. Its a losing strategy, which is why I want you to keep it in your playbook.

Anonymous said...

bluecoat said "voted against the Renschler field debacle..."

UConn football sells out the stadium, has record number of season tix sold, is on national TV several times this year, and is making a boatload of money (remember the bowl game revenue).

How is that a debacle?

If you want to say that UConn should pay the state back with the proceeds, then fine. But the stadium, which I certainly had my doubts about, is a huge success.

But I forgot, bc, you don't think that government should ever pay for anything that may improve our economy. Let the free market work and if we sink, so be it. Good strategy buddy.

Anonymous said...

Here's a great attack ad you could run against Bernie Sanders running for the Senate in VT - it uses the same logic as Courtney:

Bernie Sanders votes with President Bush more than anyone else from VT in the House of Representatives. He is VT's #1 supporter of Bush in the US House.

All factually correct.

By the way, what did Courtney do with that hot dog?

bluecoat said...

4:45 who is obviously only a marginal student of Rowlandnomics; you made my point - yes UCONN should be paying rent to cover the cost for the land and to build (pay down the bonds) the stadium - doubtful the net proceeds after salaries and all related expenses/overhaed are deducted UCONN can do that but if you have #'s to prove otherwise you can post them now can't you?

Anonymous said...

Who came up with the lame idea of putting Rob Simmons' wife in the ad? Duh! After she announced who she was married to the ad lost credibility!!!