Thursday, November 12, 2009

Arkansas Is A Great Media Market To Stretch Your Money-- And Let A Whole Lot Of Voters Know What Blanche Lincoln Is Up To


This morning Blue America's latest Campaign for Health Care Choice ad started running in Arkansas. Yesterday, Chris Cillizza served notice on the gang of criminals known as our governing elite that grassroots Democrats are coming after one of their own.
The squeeze is on for Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) on health care in the form of a new series of ads paid for by the liberal Blue America PAC that cast the Arkansas Democrat as bought and paid for by insurers. "Blanche Lincoln claims to fight for health care reform but whose interests does she really represent," asks the ad's narrator before noting that Lincoln has taken more than $2 million in campaign contributions from the health and insurance industries. The narrator concludes the ad by asking viewers to call Lincoln and "demand she allow an up or down vote on the public option." (This is the fourth ad paid for by Blue America targeting Lincoln this year.) Polling shows Lincoln, who is up for re-election in 2010, holding relatively slim margins over a series of unknown Republican candidates. Lincoln's dilemma? How to walk the line between the conservative leanings of the Razorback State-- Obama took just 39 percent there in 2009-- and the increasingly vocal and well-funded left within her own party who see the inclusion of a public option as a sine qua non for health care reform.

I don't know if I would interpret Lincoln's dilemma quite the same way Chris did. Take the deranged teabaggers, Fox robots, and Insurance Industry lobby out of the equation and health care reform isn't a political issue. It's a human one. And the majority of Arkansas residents favor meaningful health care reform that includes, specifically, a public option. When asked "Would you favor or oppose the government offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan-- something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get-- that would compete with private health insurance plans?" 56% of Arkansans say they favor it-- including 83% of Democrats, 57% of independents and even 21% of Republicans! Who's against it? Blanche Lincoln's campaign donors, the special interests who have bought her out for the millions of dollars they've given her to bankroll her putrid and disgraceful career.

Jacquie, the Blue American ad buyer, been busy all week putting together a media buying strategy that would guarantee that virtually every likely voter in Arkansas with cable TV would become aware of Lincoln's record of taking "contributions" from special interests and then voting against her own constituents to keep the money rolling in. The policy of direct buys for TV ads-- no agency mark-ups-- automatically stretches every dollar by 15% compared to traditional Inside the Beltway operations. For this campaign we bought spots in the major metros (Ft Smith and Little Rock) plus the smaller, fringe markets (Jonesboro, Memphis, Springfield). So what can a small donation do? Well, in northwest Arkansas, near the Missouri border, less than $10 will buy an ad on USA's first run new programming in prime time. And exactly $10 will make sure this spot is seen on MSNBC's Morning Joe in the Ft. Smith market. Although, speaking of MSNBC, $27 will buy a spot in Ft Smith on Hardball, Countdown or Rachel Maddow. Also in Ft Smith $34 buys an "in your face" spot on Fox & Friends-- a bargain when you consider it costs $71 to reach the same all-important women demo during Jon & Kate Plus 8.

In Jonesboro, $12 puts an ad on Anderson Cooper 360 and it's only $11 to advertise on Wolfie's Situation Room. If you're feeling like the money is burning a hole in your pocket, you can donate $26 and we can get a spot up on Monday Night Raw, which is HUGE in Jonesboro.

Little Rock is more expensive. Do we have anyone who wants to contribute $73 today? It gets the spot on CNN's Morning Show. In fact, the first 5 people who donate exactly $73 today get an autographed copy of Jonathan Tasini's book, The Audacity of Greed, a book we'd like to urge everyone on Blanche's staff to read... and then think about when they're getting ready to go to work in the morning. Remember, as Digby pointed out yesterday, Lincoln finds herself between a little rock and a hard place because of her own sense of ethics, scruples and responsibility-- or lack there of. You can contribute here; a decision to filibuster the bill with the Republicans won't just screw her own constituents; it will screw the entire country-- just the way she did with Employee Free Choice.

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