26 June 2008

Republican Sen. Gordon Smith Runs Ad Linking Self to Obama

I'm sure you've heard all about those GOP tactics to "harm" Dem candidates for the House and Senate by associating them with Barack Obama, but how about a Republican senator, up for re-election, who is running ads associating himself with Barack Obama? Oregon's Gordon Smith has kick-started a new ad campaign that notes his work with Obama and his approval of bipartisanship. No kidding.

Smith's opponent in the upcoming election, Democrat Jeff Merkley, has derided Smith's ad and declared it an act of "desperation." I think Merkley exaggerates; after all, Gordon Smith is a fairly popular figure in Oregon. He's even retained the endorsement of the local newspaper in heavily liberal Eugene. Smith is being canny in associating himself with Obama; thereby reminding voters --who are upset with Smith's prolonged support for President Bush and the war in Iraq--why they have approved of his work otherwise.

To be fair, although he stood by GWB and his Iraq policy for three years, Smith did announce that he no longer supported the war in December, 2006 (yeah...right after the Dems took "control" of Congress).

UPDATE: the GOP's strategy of portraying all Dems as "Obama liberals" just ain't doin' the job.
From UPI:

WASHINGTON, June 26 (UPI) -- Republican strategists are pulling back on a tactic to defeat Democratic U.S. congressional candidates by linking them with Sen. Barack Obama. GOP leaders say.

[. . . .]

Most notably, Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., praised Obama in an ad promoting his own re-election. A campaign spokeswoman called the unusual move "an excellent way" to show Smith's ability "to work across the aisle."

The new phase of enthusiasm is a far cry from the spring when Republican ads sought to paint Obama as out-of-touch liberal with a brand of politics that should be shunned.

Initially, some Democrats distanced themselves from Obama but now most are reported eager to get as closely associated as possible.

Republican leaders say the strategy will continue in selected areas, the Post said. But, a senior GOP strategist involved in U.S. House of Representative races said it is mostly a dead issue "except in rare instances" and added, "I'm not sure it was a good idea in the first place."
Remember when they tried the same thing prior to the 2006 midterms? The GOP aimed to define Democratic candidates as San Francisco-style Pelosi liberals. That worked out real well for them, didn't it?

Do you think they're out of ideas?


Burr Deming said...

Senator Smith's I-stand-with-Obama ads provide to us a barameter of sorts, a measure of how he and others believe the Presidential election will go.

I'm inclined to think he is right.

mpandgs said...

I think you might be right, but we'll see if/how this gets reflected on the larger stage. Smith is from a fairly liberal state--Obama won the Oregon primary by a substantial lead--so Smith is playing it smart and safe in appealing to his constituents.