Clint Curtis Should Remove This Ad

I’m no admirer of Tom McClintock, and I’m looking forward to an opportunity to vote for a different, more progressive candidate with integrity, someone who will run against him for California’s 4th Congressional district.

I’ve been favorably impressed — up until now — by both Clint Curtis and Ben Emery. In fact, I’ve been something of a fan of Clint Curtis ever since his whistleblowing days in Florida when he revealed that Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Tom Feeney tried to get him to write election-tampering software.

But I was surprised and disappointed to see the following Clint Curtis political advertisement during a commercial break while watching MSNBC on our local Comcast network last night.

I was surprised mostly by the style of the ad, which criticizes personal attacks in political ads, but does so by mentioning several untrue hypothetical personal smears against McClintock, Curtis’ opponent, ostensibly in order to condemn them. But the effect, not subtle at all, is to get those negative images out there in what comes across — hopefully unintentionally — as a sleazy device.

(Note: I captured the video of this weird ad to my computer, uploaded it to YouTube and intended to embed it here for you to see, but in the end I was so troubled by it that I didn’t want to reproduce it here or anywhere … I’ve now deleted it from YouTube. Instead, I created a complete transcript of the 30-second ad, below, with a couple of still frames).

The video begins by showing the following mockup newspaper headline , accompanied by this voice-over narration: “Breaking News! McClintock Accused of Sexual Affair!”

Then Curtis himself appears, and speaks the words below:

“That’s not true!” (referring to the untrue allegations)

“Aren’t we tired of all these negative campaigns or outright lies.”

“The Clint Curtis campaign will focus on the issues. This will not be about who he is spleeping with, how he spends his spare time, or whether he lives in the district.”

“With your help, we will focus on the issues that affect our lives, and get rid of all this negative campaigning.”

“I am Clint Curtis and I approve this message.”

I like Clint Curtis and I hope he reconsiders this ad, which unfortunately reflects more poorly on him that it does on his opponent.

UPDATE 1: I sent the following email to Clint Curtis this morning:

Dear Clint Curtis:

I posted a short review of your political ad decrying negative
campaigning to my online journal here:

“Clint Curtis Should Remove this Ad”
http://sierravoices.com/2010/09/clint-curtis-should-remove-this-ad/

I really like your campaign overall and wish to support it, so I hope
you’ll take a second look at that ad, which — in my opinion – doesn’t
reflect well on you.

Sincerely,

Don Pelton
Editor, “Sierra Voices”

UPDATE 2: I received this reply from Clint Curtis a little after noon today:

Actually the negative from the beginning comes from various Republican
campaigns in the last 5 years and they do not follow explaining that
they are simply based on half-truths or complete lies. (Do not think
that the Dems haven’t had their fair share of attack ads and
disinformation too.)

Try listening to the ad without the negative intro and imagine how much
people will actually pay attention to the message. The ad only works
with the samples of the type of ads that are placed on the public
airwaves everyday. In the Senatorial Debate Barbra Boxer was accused bu
her opponent of helping terrorists.

This one is fairly mild compared to the ads presently playing by several
tea party candidates around the country today. We actually have much
worse intros (based solely on existing Republican Ads) that we have held
back until later.

The key is to focus the discussion on such foolishness and then offer
the solution. I am a proponent of regulation that would make politicians
and operatives that disseminate disinformation legally liable for the
costs associated with corrected the mis-information. This would, of
course, put Fox News out of business but would also stop the nameless
internet campaigns that have convinced 35% of the registered Republicans
that Obama is Muslim (and the whole religion has been defined by the
same group as terrorists) even when fact show he is not.

Let us cure the problem by entering the fight full force. We will not
accomplish the goal by simply whining about it. Democrats need to be
willing to punch it out with the republicans while still preserving our
values.

Clint

Comments

4 Responses to “Clint Curtis Should Remove This Ad”
  1. Jeff Pelline says:

    Thanks but here’s a real issue involving McClintock’s office that was reported in the L.A. Times but not the local “paid” media here:

    http://articles.latimes.com/2009/jul/16/local/me-harass16

  2. depelton says:

    Thanks, Jeff, interesting, and from your cited article:

    “McClintock, who was elected to Congress in November from a Northern California district, is not the alleged harasser, a legislative source said.”

    My concern was not whether McClintock was or wasn’t guilty of something, but rather the disingenuous tone of Curtis’ ad, saying essentially “I’m not going to talk about McClintock’s alleged sexual harassment of some staffer. I’m not going to talk about how he spends his free time. I’m not going to talk about whether he sleeps in the district at night or not. No, I’m above all that”

    Except he just said all that!

    The truth about McClintock is irrelevant to my point, however relevant it may be to any number of other issues (such as whether he is deserving of re-election).

    Curtis does not esteem himself by that disingenuous tone.

  3. Frank says:

    Clint Curtis is a poser. He claims he was a republican. That is his cover. Then because of a single case of corruption real or alleged he changed his entire belief system and went hard left. Perhaps he was kidnapped by aliens that brainwashed him.

    The man is an opportunist. He is probably a secret conservative that understands there is easier to con useful idiots on the left.

  4. depelton says:

    Frank:

    Your comments would be more compelling if you avoided the attack on Curtis’ character (which seems entirely speculation on your part) and dealt with his position on issues.

    After all, McClintock parachuted in to CA04 from southern California, so there’s a well established tradition of opportunists, to use your word, in this district.

    Ever since I posted this complaint about one of Curtis’ ads, I’ve seen many of his later ads and have found them to be on point.

    Your reference to people on the left as “useful idiots” further undermines your credibility.

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