Oberweis commercial inaccuracy could be costly in a fall campaign
On Friday, January 10, 14th congressional district Republican candidate Jim Oberweis debuted his first commercial which commenters have said they’ve seen on FOX News channel, confirming Oberweis is on TV in mid January.
I’ve held off commenting about the commercial in order to give blog readers the chance to have their say. Since commenters have had over a week, here is my COMMENTARY on the ad.
At the outset, I agree with commenter “Pinto” in that the ad’s grade is a “B”.
It’s a good ad, but it’s not a great ad. The positives of the ad will be discussed first and are highlighted:
- Impeachment is a timely topic, especially now with the Senate Trial beginning on Tuesday, the 21st.
- Oberweis clearly identifies his target of Congresswoman Lauren Underwood, and in the first frame associates her with Speaker Nancy Pelosi using black and white stills
- Many Republicans have said most Americans are more concerned about “kitchen table issues”, so the ad being shot in setting of a suburban kitchen is not missed (though the kitchen background looks green-screened).
- Points out the truth that impeachment is a waste of time and taxpayer dollars
All of the above valid points, and the first half of the ad is genuine “A+” material. The ad goes amiss in the last half, when Oberweis displayed this frame while saying:
“Congresswoman Underwood, you should be working to protect jobs, cover pre-existing conditions, lower drug prices, fix our roads & bridges, not trying to overturn an election.
“I’m Jim Oberweis, and I’ll put people before politics.”
Oberweis’ ad goes astray when he attacks Underwood’s record with points that ignore Underwood’s record. He leaves himself wide open to a popular Democratic cliche’ the House majority and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) started to use in early December that went something like this from Speaker Pelosi, who’s pictured in his ad, on December 12:
“Over 275 bipartisan bills are sitting on the desk of the Grim Reaper [Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell] while he says, ‘All you’re doing is impeachment.’ No, it’s not all we’re doing. We’ve sent you bills that have not only bipartisanship in the House, but also in the country.
“For example, the bipartisan background check bill [H.R. 8] supported by 90 percent of the American people; Paycheck Fairness [H.R. 7]; VAWA – Violence Against Women Act [H.R. 1585]; Save the Internet Act [H.R. 1644]; Equality Act [H.R. 5], ending discrimination against LGBTQ community; Dream and Promise Act [H.R. 6], keeping our promise to our Dreamers; SAFE Act [H.R. 2722] to protect our federal elections – why would the Republicans not want to protect our federal elections? To whose advantage is that blocking? Raise the Wage Act [H.R. 582], raising the minimum wage – over 30 million people will get a raise; 20 million, around 23 million of them are women. So, it helps women again. The Butch Lewis Act [H.R. 397] to protect our pensions. And Climate Action Now [H.R. 9].
“So we have many, many other pieces of legislation that are sitting there on his desk as he [McConnell] whines about us, what we’re doing here, while he does nothing there.”Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 12/12/19 Excerpt from Factcheck.org
With the above reference and the result of House actions through the end of December, here’s a look at Oberweis’ bullet points from his ad, and sub-bullet points about the Underwood record:
- Protect Jobs
- See Nancy Pelosi references of H.R. 6, H.R. 7, H.R. 582 above, and Underwood supported the bills
- USMCA passed the House December 19 with Underwood’s support
- Cover Pre-existing Conditions
- On day the Articles of Impeachment passed the House (12/18/19), the 5th Circuit issued its ruling in Texas vs. US striking down the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and potentially threatening ACA itself, including protections of pre-existing conditions. Within minutes of the ruling, Underwood left the House floor, collected the facts, and held a telephone press briefing with reporters to protect ACA as the case goes back to District court.
- Underwood legislation prohibiting tax dollars to support the Texas lawsuit became law with the appropriations bill signed on December 20
- Lower Drug Prices
- H.R. 987, Protecting Access to Affordable Health Care, Lowering Rx Drug Prices, passed House with Underwood’s support.
- The “big one”, H.R. 3 which included “Medicare negotiations” passed House on December 11 with Underwood’s support.
- Underwood issued her 5 Point Plan to lower Prescription Drug Prices on October 18, with H.R. 3 being significant component
- Underwood held town hall in Crystal Lake on November 8 on prescription drugs prices and what she’s doing about it in Congress
- Underwood discussed how to begin to reconcile H.R. 3 with the Senate version of legislation in December in a Daily Herald interview
- Underwood introduced the Lower Insulin Costs Now act, H.R. 5444 on December 17, and had her legislation ver batim included in the final appropriations legislation passed later the same day. President Trump signed it into law on December 20 with the H.R. 1865 appropriations legislation.
- Fix Our Roads and Bridges
- The Federal Highway Transportation bill was not up in 2019
- Given Mr. Oberweis had to vote “present” on the capital bill for similar purposes on June 2 in the state senate, unless he divests himself of his dairy business, would have to vote present in D.C. (this was pointed out by commenter Mike Price on January 10, who noted Oberweis hit opponent Sue Rezin for supporting the Capital Bill and the raising of the gas tax to fund it in the state senate when Oberweis voted present).
Will the average primary voter watching this ad know all of the above details while viewing the ad? Of course not, it would be missed.
But if Oberweis finds himself in a general election matchup against Underwood and he tried this ad’s bulletpoints, one can easily see an Underwood/DCCC ad freeze-framing that bulletpoint list, and fill in the truth of Underwood’s record, and make it look like Oberweis misrepresented, or simply didn’t know, Underwood’s record in her first year in Congress.
Neither of the above Underwood/DCCC potential actions make Oberweis look good as a nominee to face Underwood, which is why this ad is only a “good ad” for primary voters, and not a great ad.
Republican primary voters must be discerning and tough on all of the candidates to determine how they will do in a head-to-head matchup against Underwood.
As each Republican candidate for the nomination is evaluated, need to take what they say, particularly in their paid advertising, into consideration to determine if a candidate can stand up to Underwood and her allies in a fall campaign, which will begin on March 18 and last through November 3.
Oberweis, through his commercial, proved again to this discerning voter that right now, he’s not the best. If he improves during the rest of the Republican primary campaign that would be terrific, but he is definitely not ready for Underwood now.
Someone else who needs a little improvement is candidate Catalina Lauf. On Thursday, in a response to an Underwood tweet but also possibly an indirect response to an article published on McHenry County Blog on Wednesday, tweeted the following two-part tweet:
While a tweet is not the same as a paid commercial TV advertisement, Lauf’s Thursday tweets would likely rate a “B+”. She accurately nails Underwood for not standing by our country and the President’s decision to rid the world of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani earlier this year.
Lauf steps onto shaky ground when she talks about healthcare primarily because she has not stated where she stands on healthcare in any detail. Lauf, like the other candidates, has talking points, platitudes and bromides on the issues, but no details, so voters genuinely do not know where Lauf stands on healthcare, including prescription drug prices.
In the 2nd half of the tweet, she begins to fall into the Oberweis trap from his commercial, which is ignoring Underwood’s voting record, and the lie the House has focused more on impeachment. See the above record, and adjust the message.
Over 275 bills, and Underwood had at least 3 components of her own legislation become law is the record the Republican nominee will be challenging in the fall, and only the truth will convince voters to replace Underwood.
And finally, on Underwood calling constituents “racist and sexist”, on Lauf’s appearance on the Steve Cortes show on January 9, a caller from Elburn challenged Lauf that Underwood actually said that. Lauf’s response confidently said it was true, and she accurately gave the publication where the quote is cited.
Here is the reference in a tweet I posted late Thursday night:
One might think, both primary and general election voters, may find it interesting not only where the quote was published, but where Underwood said it, in of all places, the Mission District in San Francisco, in a public interview after having a fundraiser in the heart of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s hometown.
The feedback here is, don’t let Underwood off easy when the truth is on your side.
Finally, on Lauf’s healthcare assertion, everyone needs to read this article from POLITICO published late yesterday about President Trump’s frustration within his administration, particularly on prescription drug prices and recent polling which will have Underwood continuing to run on healthcare until public sentiment changes on this topic which is Underwood’s strength: