"Vermonters First" Pretty Republican Soccer ball

 Duncan Black, aka the blogger Atrios, made an observation yesterday and part of it may have relevance to recent arrival of super PACs here in Vermont. Atrios maintains that the Republican "noise machine,” while never all-powerful, always had a smooth routine that they were very competent at. He thinks the national Republican noise machine is floundering this year, but it is the well practiced routine that has relevance here in Vermont.

Here is the routine as practiced back in the day:

Republicans would kick the soccer ball, the press would chase it and then coo, "oooo, pretty soccer ball."

[...] during the Kerry campaign it was enough for Karl [Rove] to suggest that they were going to run a REALLY SCARY AD SOON and then cable news would spend 3 days talking about JUST WHAT THAT SCARY AD MIGHT BE and HOW IT MIGHT AFFECT THE CAMPAIGN, and then they'd run the web-only "ad" 5 million times and spend the next 10 days talking about it.

So here’s what that routine looks like in Vermont scale. When the Republican super PAC hits airwaves Monday, will Randy Brock get any love? For about a week or so Vermonter’s have been reading about a scary new Republican super PAC lurking nearby that is coming to the state. First we were alerted to news that the Republican super PAC would spend at least $70,000 to run ads pushing conservative viewpoints. Speculation followed about what outside groups might be bankrolling the effort. This was quickly followed by speculation and hints about the content of the ad.  

Then like clockwork, word followed that the ad might snub gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock and focus instead on Wendy Wilton, the Republican candidate for treasurer, and Republican Vince Illuzzi, who is running for State Auditor. This weekend the curtain was raised just a bit more for Monday’s opening show. Finally, close to breathless with anticipation, The Vermont Press Bureau story talks with Tayt Brooks, point man for the outfit “Vermonters First”.

The Illuzzi/Wilton spots are what’s known in the TV business as “bookends” – 15-second spots at the beginning and end of a commercial break.

According to documents on file at WCAX, those spots constitute only a portion of the $53,000 buy by Vermonters First, which includes plenty of 30-second ads as well. An approximately $15,000 buy on WPTZ won’t start until Sept. 17.

We asked Brooks whether we could expect to [see] Randy Brock’s face in those longer spots, but the former executive director of the Vermont Republican Party wouldn’t say. We’ll find out soon enough – the ads begin airing Monday morning.

And there it is, rolled into the Green Mountains: Vermonter's first soccer ball "oooo,pretty." Will the routine work in Vermont?  We’ll find out soon enough – JUST WHAT MIGHT THAT SCARY AD BE and HOW IT MIGHT AFFECT THE CAMPAIGN.

And is it "Vermonters First" as in the wellbeing of our state takes priority, or "Vermonters First" as in the first time Green Mountain state residents will be exposed to this level of outside-financed negative campaigning?  

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