Bottom-dwelling gubernatorial candidate Bruce Lisman is launching another TV ad. This time, he positions himself as “not the usual guy… and I won’t do the usual thing.” He’s dressed casually, and at the end he’s pictured chatting with “real Vermonters” or perhaps actors made up to look authentic.
And in the middle of the ad, there’s a brief animated passage that shows Governor Shumlin as a marionette saying “BLAH BLAH BLAH” while three fat-cat types flaunt their wealth. Like so:
Well, there’s a few problems here, aside from the fact that this depiction is blatantly offensive in a very non-Vermont style. And then, as VPR’s Peter Hirschfeld points out, there’s the fact that Lisman “isn’t running against Shumlin.”
Finally, and crucially, there’s the disconnect between image and reality. Because it’s Bruce Lisman who comes from the world of fat cats who could use $100 bills to light cigars if they wanted to. Lisman, obviously, wants us to forget that he spent virtually his entire adult life in the canyons (moral and topographical) of Wall Street, hobnobbing with the rich and powerful.
Well, not just “hobnobbing.” Hell, he WAS one of the rich and powerful. Still is. Talk about the pot running attack ads against the kettle.
I don’t know anything about Lisman’s taste in cigars, but I do know he could bankroll a walk-in humidor full of Cohibas if he wanted. And he could light them with $100 bills to his heart’s content.
As a matter of fact, given his dismal standing in the most recent poll, Lisman’s entire campaign could be seen as a protracted exercise in setting fire to his money. Hirschfeld, again:
Lisman is the only candidate in the race for governor who’s taken his message to television networks. According to campaign finance disclosures released earlier this month, Lisman had spent nearly $200,000 on mass media before this latest round of television buys.
And the latest VPR Poll had him at a robust four percent. If he were selling shares in his candidacy, they’d be in the penny-stock category — and nobody would be investing.
Lisman’s strategery carries unfortunate echoes of another Republican hopeful who
grew up in Vermont, made his fortune elsewhere, and then came back* made himself a pile of money, and then late in life, decided to leap into our political life at the very top. And who did his level best to recast himself as a Real Vermonter of humble origins who still retained the common touch.
How’d that work out, Rich Tarrant?
*As a correspondent pointed out, Tarrant wasn’t born in Vermont. And unlike Lisman, he actually made his pile here. The rest of the comparison remains apt.