Monday, September 17, 2007

Pro Ballard Ads Were Produced Independently

Democrats were quick to pounce on the campaign of GOP mayoral candidate Greg Ballard when several YouTube video ads surfaced on the Internet in recent days. "Not only do the spots highlight the lack of understanding about municipal government that we've all come to expect from the Ballard campaign, but they look like they were produced by junior high students," Indiana Democratic Party communications director Jen Wagner said. "If these are the ads that were supposed to have gone up on local television a few weeks ago, Ballard should be thanking the person who axed that plan." There's only one problem with Wagner's criticism. The ads were not done by his campaign or the Republican Party. WTHR's Kevin Rader was on top of the issue even if the Democrats were not. He reports today:

Republican Mayoral candidate Greg Ballard has yet to run television ads in his bid to unseat Democratic incumbent Bart Peterson, but that hasn't stopped supporters from creating their own commercials. There are a number of anti-Peterson commercials currently circulating on YouTube.

For as long as anyone can remember, the front yard was fertile ground for political campaigns. Now MySpace and YouTube are offering a new stage not only for the campaigns but for constituents themselves to participate in the process by making their own videos supporting or criticizing a candidate.

The Ballard campaign says they are well aware of the ads but not responsible for them. (See one example of a pro-Ballard YouTube ad.)

"None of these ads are Republican ads but I love seeing them. I think it is indicative of the feelings in the city because people are really upset with the direction of the city," said Tom John, Marion County Republican Party.

One video criticizes Mayor Bart Peterson to the tune of "I Put a Spell On You," with intertitles like "increased spending" and "no oversight," showing video of the much-delayed Central Library project.

"It's clear in the world of paid media it's a violation of paid and federal election law," said Mike O'Connor, Marion County Democratic Party.

But there is the rub. It is in the unregulated arena of the worldwide web. O'Connor hopes voters who see them will judge them for what they are worth.

"You expect people watching this at home, you hope are generally responsible, rational people who will look at that and take it for what it is worth," said O'Connor.

"It is an interesting contrast. We have the mayor putting up a slick ad that he spent tens of thousands of dollars putting on the air where as we now have all these people with their computers in their basement putting together very slick ads - good ads that show what the real issues of the campaign are," said John.

"I have seen a couple of them. Clearly a couple of them are outside the boundaries of taste and two since we don't know where they come from they have factual inaccuracies," said O'Connor.

Still, it's a new political reality. Just as grassroots internet support can give a longshot candidate a chance, online activity can also hurt a candidate's image - unless, of course, that candidate learns to use the new technology to his or her advantage.

Mike O'Connor just cracks me up. "You expect people watching this at home, you hope are generally responsible, rational people who will look at that and take it for what it is worth," said O'Connor. I take that as a sign he fears the worst. My personal favorite is the YouTube clip of Peterson singing "I'm the Tax Man." Click here to view it. The "Lies, Lies, Lies" ad here is worth a watch as well. For the real Ballard ads, you're going to have to stay tuned. Ballard assures us they will arrive soon enough.

UPDATE: There's already a new YouTube response to O'Connor's reaction here.


Wilson46201 said...

OK, then where are the official Republican mayoral TV advertisements?

Gary R. Welsh said...

You mean you haven't been rummaging through dumpsters for that answer, Wilson? I'm disappointed.

Wilson46201 said...

Once again without the snide cracks -- I am just asking a simple question: where are the official GOP mayoral TV spots or aren't there any?

Anonymous said...

Unknown said...

Jen Wagner talking out her ass. Imagine that.

Anonymous said...

If you read what I wrote on my blog, Gary, you would have noticed that I didn't attribute the terrible ads to Ballard's campaign. Hence the use of the word "if" in my statement. That he had nothing to do with them actually makes me respect his official efforts a little bit more.

I know we're within that window of time where you get all emotional about races like this one, so I hope this post -- and the mere mention of my name -- drives up your hits and comments.

Ballard needs all the help he can get; the WISH numbers indicate he's still in second place by miles. Candidate recruitment is key, as I'm sure the local GOP knows by now.

Wilson46201 said...

You mean Bob Parker wouldn't have been a wise choice either?

Anonymous said...

Wilson -

Well, he did have more personality than Ballard. He just didn't, uh, express himself very well.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Jen, your headline for that same post, "Good for Laugh: Ballard Joins Kelty In the YouTube Battle for Relevancy" certainly implies Ballard's campaign prepared the ads by likening them to Kelty's YouTube ad since Kelty's campaign prepared its own. Dare I ask your thoughts on O'Connor's reaction to the ads?

Anonymous said...

Wilson, a no ad by Ballard is by far a better ad, then having to listen to the bs drooling out of Peterson's mouth.

Anonymous said...

The problem with these ads is they do not necessairly represent the Ballard's views. In fact, I wonder if the Bart Lies liars have any idea what Ballard's views really are.

Anonymous said...

Jen says "Peterson ahead by miles".
Now that's a laughable statement.
Peterson has $3 million in his war chest versus Ballard who has nearly zip and YET PETERSON IS ONLY 14 POINTS AHEAD?
A candidate who is running for their 3rd term virtually unopposed and has millions to spend is only a measly 14 points ahead??

In today's world, public opinion can spin on a dime during a campaign.
Peterson is just one or two seriously bad headlines away from getting beat.
Some say that October 15 is the day one of those headlines will hit. We'll see.

Wilson46201 said...

...and on the 16th the whiny Ballard-backers will be crying that the Feds have been bought off! All that peashake money going into the pockets of FBI agents? Black helicopters from the U.N. stalking US Attorneys? The paranoid fables will run rampant for sure!

Anonymous said...

Wilson, did anyone meantion Pea Shakes aka, Illegal Numbers Racketeering in a post on this thread? Didn't think so.

The FBI and the Justice Department do what they do. They've been investigating the local black syndicate's organized crime network for some time now. If the hammer falls before the election it just falls. No conspiracy, just a factual investigation coming to a close by the Feds.
Will it hurt the Mayor? Depends on who gets indicted.

Anonymous said...

Wilson....who cares what the Marion County official GOP thinks or does at this point? The people are learning the truth!

We are interested in the real issues regarding real people! The political machine is the big part of what is hurting the people. ROCK! And once again you slammed the public with the truth. KUDOS to Kevin Rader for doing the story. I missed it.

HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAXATION will release our endorsements within a week or so.

We also need 600 volunteers. See our web site for details.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of PeaShakes, I drove past one near 38th/Keystone yesterday, operating at nearly full-tilt...somuch so that ingress/egress was interfering with the Keystone traffic.

I watched the Ballard ads. They're cute.

Anon 6:58: up a "measly" 14 points 45 days out is nothing to laugh at. In poltics, it's called a convincing lead.

I know you'd like it to be otherwise, but if your candidate could get the lead into single digits now, and if he had $300-300K to dump into media, and another $200K to drop into GOTV, he might have a prayer.

Some big "ifs."

I've been where you are--supporting a candidate who is out of contention. It's not fun.
And I'll be there again, but not this year.

Peterson by ten.

Anonymous said...

Oh gee if Bart is up by 10 points now might as well cancel the elections. Not that Beth White knows how to run one anyway.

I'm wanting the over/under on how many precincts will go unopened on November 6th.

My money is on 10. All in outlying townships.

Wilson46201 said...

Why are the Republicans rooting for failure? Don't they want democracy to work in America? Why is the GOP so incredibly negative?

Anonymous said...

"Why are the Republicans rooting for failure?"

Republicans do not "root" for failure. It's what we're accustomed to seeing when Democrats are in charge of anything.

8 years of Clinton/Gore - FAILURE

16 years of Bayh/O'Bannon/Kernan - FAILURE

Beth White's ability to run an election - FAILURE

8 years of Bart Peterson - FAILURE

Anonymous said...

Wilson wrote:
"Don't they want democracy to work in America?"

Actually, if we lived in a democracy, Wilson, I might. But as we live in a republic, I'd much rather that system of government work, thank you.


Wilson46201 said...

ummm...we live in what is actually a democratic republic wherein the population chooses representatives to make governmental decisions. Democracy is the process whereby we choose our representatives.

Anonymous said...


No, it isn't. Democracy is when the people assemble and administer the affairs of government on their behalf. A republic is a system in which "the scheme of representation takes place."

I'd suggest, perhaps, that you read Federalist #10, by James Madison.

After doing so, you may have a differing view on whether or not you live in a republic or a democracy.

Clearly, the father of the Constitution says it's a republic; Dr. Franklin said it was a republic when asked what he had given us.

But, alas, even a simple course in introductory American government would show you that much.