John Ransom

One has to laugh at the clumsy way the SEIU and Americans United for Change has tried to swipe the GOP message on the budget and the debt ceiling. If the SEIU is really concerned about the debt ceiling then pigs- and maybe others- have learned to fly.  

In new ads released July 21st that target select House GOP members, SEIU claims that the members are “recklessly risking default, recklessly risking jobs and the American economy. They’re willing to risk it all to protect tax breaks for millionaires, oil companies and CEOs who fly around in corporate jets.”

CEOs who fly around in corporate jets? My first thought was, if these CEOs have the ability to fly, why would they need corporate jets in the first place?

The ads are running in U.S. Reps. Sean Duffy’s (WI-7), Dave Camp’s (MI-4), Chip Cravaack’s (MN-8), and Richard Hanna’s (NY-24) districts according to Americans United’s website. 

The ads have bigger problems than just some awkward phrasing.

A long time ago I learned from political advisor Greg Graves that the first rule in political advertising is whatever you say it has to be believable to voters. For example, he said, if you are running a Republican against a Democrat, you can’t make a charge that somehow the Democrat is against increased entitlement spending. It may be true, yet voters will never, ever believe that a Republican will support higher entitlement spending than a Democrat will. To craft a TV ad saying so would be a waste of time and money, both of which are the most precious commodities of a campaign.

And that’s about the politest thing that I can say about the new ads by Americans United and the SEIU.

The ads fail on a few counts in the believability category.

First, there is the problem of the messenger. A messenger can undermine the message of the best message out there. Obama, for example, would have a hard time convincing voters that he’d like to pass a balanced budget amendment, but those darn Republicans just won’t let him. 

So, the SEIU is hardly the right group to be out talking up job creation. They spent the last few years trying very hard to guarantee that SEIU members would have to be laid off in higher numbers by not making concessions on benefits to help ailing state budgets. It’s only been through the determined efforts of governors like Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and New Jersey’s Chris Christie that more union workers haven’t been laid off. 

Unions are, at their core, anti-job creation because they are always looking for bigger slice of the existing pie while jobs represent slicing the pie into more pieces.  


John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance.