Americans may not yet be embracing Obamacare, but polls show that defunding it is not popular either. Even less popular, shutting down the government over the defunding issue. Worst of all for Republicans, Americans blame them for the shutdown.
As Washington limps into day four of the shutdown, Democrats are exploiting these dynamics to attack vulnerable Republicans. This Sunday, when constituents of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, tune in to watch the Cincinnati Bengals play the New England Patriots, they will see an ad comparing their congressman to a wailing baby that didn’t get its way.
The ad, from the Democratic-aligned House Majority PAC, is part of a multistate ad campaign this week to score points against vulnerable Republicans over the shutdown and debt-ceiling fights. The ad opens with a sobbing baby making inarticulate demands between sobs. When the sound becomes almost unbearable, a narrator begins to speak: “Speaker John Boehner didn’t get his way on shutting down health care reform, so he shut down the government and hurt the economy.” Then “#GOPTemperTantrum” appears on the screen under Boehner’s name.
“Speaker Boehner didn’t get his way and so, like a child, he threw a tea party-inspired temper tantrum and shut down the federal government,” said Andy Stone, communications director for group, which is working to wrest the House of Representatives from Republican control in 2014, in a press release Friday. “The American people are sick and tired of the intransigence and manufactured crises that have become all too common from Speaker Boehner and the House Republicans. Speaker Boehner should stop playing politics, end the nonsense and finally focus on the real-life consequences his government shutdown has caused Americans.”
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The ad is part of a six-figure ad campaign by the super PAC to go after vulnerable Republicans by blaming them for the unpopular shutdown. In the Las Vegas media market, the group is running an ad against Republican Rep. Joe Heck, accusing him of playing Republicans' dangerous game of flirting with a new economic crisis by shutting down the government and putting a government default on the table. In Tallahassee, Fla., the group has an ad accusing Republican Rep. Steve Southerland of putting Floridians’ salaries and savings at risk while he continues to earn his $174,000 per year salary. And in Cleveland, Republican Rep. David Joyce is getting the John Boehner treatment with an ad featuring the same crying baby.
Attack ad aside, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is not having a very good week. At the helm of the House Republican caucus, he is leading a party in a dead-end shutdown fight with no good plan for how to get out of it. As of now, his latest plan to get out of the mess is to propose a grand budget bargain, but given that he’s failed to bring his fellow Republicans on board with such a deal in the past, odds are that won’t go anywhere this time either. The longer the shutdown continues, and the angrier people become, the more potent political attacks like these will be.