Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Matt Stoller unfairly criticizes Darcy's first ad

Matt Stoller posted a series of disappointing posts on MyDD earlier today, taking Darcy Burner's first ad ("Bio") out of context and then unfairly criticizing it. Stoller wrote, in part:
It's obvious that Darcy Burner is a great candidate who feels passionately about Iraq...She's articulate, powerful, intelligent, and progressive. She knows the politics, she has a great story, and will be a fantastic Congresswoman. I'm really blown away by her commitment to public service and her authenticity as a communicator. She's running for Congress because of her three year old son, and she wants Congresspeople who are willing to ask the hard questions.

And yet, Steve McMahon's firm has produced a horrible ad that is out of sync with the incredible raw material they have to work with. The conflicts of interest in his work with corporate and GOP clients are obvious, and explain the 'affordable health care' bland messaging.

What the hell is going on? Who recommended that she work with this firm? She's a first time candidate whose career has been spent at Microsoft, so it's not like she knows these people. Someone got her to hire this firm. Who was it?
Well, answer your most pressing question, it was Governor Howard Dean himself (among others) who strongly advised Darcy's campaign team to bring McMahon, Squier & Associates on board. Your distate for the firm is obvious, but not apparently shared by Chairman Dean.

I was very surprised to read Matt's criticism because I believe he is missing the point. Matt didn't see exactly what he wanted to see in the ad and I think that's why he's disappointed. (He seemed more unhappy after he found out that McMahon's firm produced it).

But Matt Stoller is not the intended audience for this ad. He does not live in the 8th Congressional District or even Washington State. He is not on the ground and lacks the perspective that we have on this race.

Stoller could have asked us for our thoughts on the ad before posting to MyDD, but he didn't. He saw it, concluded it was awful, and proceeded to blast it to pieces - only stopping at the end of his commentary to write "I'm just one person. What do you think? Is this ad good? Am I being too harsh?"

One of the things I liked most about the ad is that it doesn't talk about Iraq, or which party Darcy represents, or mention the Bush administration. This is Darcy's first ad - not her last. It's an introduction to her, so it needs to be about her - not about the Bush administration's failed policies.

By all means tackle Iraq, criticize the administration, demonstrate that Democrats are the party that shares the priorities of the American people. This campaign has already proved its ability to be innovative, aggressive, and capable of playing by the Crashing the Gate playbook.

The way Matt Stoller is reacting, you might think this is the only ad Darcy's campaign will ever produce! Fortunately, that's not the case.

This is not a campaign being micromanaged out of the District of Columbia. The staff is top notch, local talent. The best. Additionally, Darcy has turned to many of the highest caliber political strategists in the state for advice, and her outreach to the Democratic grassroots throughout the state has been impressive.

This ad is not a misstep. This ad is an effective, cheery, and uplifting introduction to a person who wants to go to bat for the people of the 8th Congressional District. Someone who shares their values, understands their struggles, has been in their shoes.

Darcy Burner is that someone.

I have every reason to believe that we are on track and headed towards a victory over Dave Reichert this November. And I hope that next time Matt Stoller critiques our strategy and our message, he'll actually talk to us first.

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