July 31, 2002
Perry ad followup
Yesterday I wrote about an ad that Governor Goodhair is running which attempts to link Democratic candidate Tony Sanchez to drug money. Today, the federal judge in the case that Perry's ad cites specifically repudiated Perry's charges.
A senior federal judge -- breaking from traditional judicial silence -- Tuesday said Republican Gov. Rick Perry's new television commercial falsely uses one of his 1984 orders to portray Democratic Tony Sanchez as laundering money for drug dealers.
"Insofar as the ad appears to attribute any of this to me, it's absolutely false," said U.S. District Judge Harry Lee Hudspeth.
Citing Hudspeth's order approving the government seizure of some of the drug money held in First City National Bank of El Paso, Perry's commercial says:
"A federal judge confirmed Sanchez's bank wired millions of laundered drug money to Manuel Noriega's Panama."
Hudspeth said his order involved the Internal Revenue Service seizing funds from a money broker who was making deposits for a Mexican drug lord. Hudspeth said his order said nothing about whether the banks or bankers had acted improperly or illegally.
"It was not criticism of any banker anywhere," Hudspeth said.
I really think Perry went over the edge on this one. Tony Sanchez's business career is fair game for examination and criticism, but this ad just strikes me as being hysterical. It will be interesting to see how this affects the poll numbers.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 31, 2002 to Election 2002
That's not good news for Perry, because it has the potential to hurt his credibility, and to render the entire issue irrelevant as a result.
Let me throw out a question, though. I hate such attack ads, but we keep on seeing them, presumably because they "work." But how do they work? That is, are they just intended to rile up a candidate's base and get them to the polls, or do they actually resonate with swing voters that typically decide close races?
I've heard that attack ads are effective in that they help keep turnout down. Presumably, that benefits those with larger committed bases of support.
I guess they help drive up an opponent's negatives as well. If you think people are making a least-of-evils decision, you may as well make the other guy look more evil.
I'm not convinced that it works, either. Look at the campaign Phil Sudan ran against Ken Bentsen in 2000, for example. Nasty, negative, expensive, and he wound up getting less than 40% of the vote in a district that's about 50-50 GOP/Dem.
We'll see. November is a long way off.