I saw a Sue Minter TV ad the other night, and was unimpressed.
It was a negative spot aimed at Phil Scott — but it misses the mark. It tries to paint Scott as a proponent of higher taxes, which is (1) inaccurate and (2) highly unlikely to succeed. It also furthers the Republican talking point that taxes are political poison, which is counterproductive to sensible decision-making.
The sad thing is, there’s so much material for a better spot.
“What material?”, you may ask.
Well, it’s this. Phil Scott has been in state government for 15 years. He’s more experienced than Minter. His entire campaign is based on the idea of Scott as a “leader.”
But he’s failed to outline a coherent platform, as embodied in his frequent statements of “I don’t know” and “We haven’t costed that out” and such.
So here’s the ad.
I see the customary dark-shaded picture of Scott, and a doomish voiceover saying “Phil Scott. 15 years in state government. Claims to be a leader.”
And then, rapid-fire, clips of him saying “I don’t know” taken from debates, press conferences, and media interviews. Believe me, there’s plenty. I’d start slow and layer on more and more, as a series of question marks fill the screen, obscuring his face.
Finally, the denouement. Warm, sunny music behind Minter. She touts her detailed agenda, including costs and proposed revenue sources. “Visit my website for more.” Close with “I’m Sue Minter and I approved this message, because I know where I stand.”
It hits Phil Scott on a weak point — his fuzziness on policy. It draws a contrast between his desired image (Leader) and the content of his message (Mush).
I believe it would be very effective, and I don’t know why it hasn’t been done already.
Do I hear a voice from the balcony slamming me for advocating negative tactics? Oh, please. This may be negative in tone, but it’s an accurate depiction of an opponent’s weakness. Fair game, as they say. And don’t try to sell me on the idea that Phil Scott hasn’t resorted to negative tactics, because he has.
Nobody’s pure in this business. But we can, at least, hope for a modicum of factualness in a negative ad.