As Republicans prepare for an expected "tidal wave" victory in the midterms, says Howard Kurtz at The Daily Beast, "the Democratic Party is fighting back" with an onslaught of negative campaign ads that depict GOP opponents not merely as extremists, but as unethical "sleazebags." (Watch an example targeting Linda McMahon, the GOP Senate candidate in Connecticut, below.) Defending the approach, Eric Schultz, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, says that the "election has to be a contrast," not just an "up-and-down vote on Democrats." But will these brutal ads really help, asks Kurtz. Here, an excerpt:
We’re talking ugly stuff here, accusing one opponent of threatening his wife, another of indifference to employee deaths, a third of trying to evict a child….
The allegations, often based on selective use of facts, are fair game. But they also represent the kind of scorched-earth tactics that strategists employ when their clients are in danger of losing, and losing big. The party is spending heavily on these aerial attacks….
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, not surprisingly, says it’s not working. The Democrats, says spokesman Brian Walsh, 'have come to the conclusion they can scare voters by trying to marginalize the candidates personally. Harry Reid spent $6 million in attack ads against Sharron Angle, trying to demonize her,' and yet the Nevada Republican remains competitive.