Live from the Wide Missouri: How things get warped, and how telling the truth in a way that Todd Akin was proud to be characterized (in private) and that his core supporters loved to hear is somehow as "attack ad":
No, no, no! The cries of "dirty pool" from "mainstream" Republicans were because of this:
McCaskill: I'm Clare McCaskill, and I approve this message.
Narrator: "The most conservative congressman in Missouri" (KC Star 7/5/12) as our senator? Todd Akin, a crusader against bigger government. He would completely eliminate the Departments of Education and Energy and privatize Social Security. Todd's pro-family agenda would outlaw many forms of contraception. And Akin alone says President Obama is "a complete menace to our civilization". Todd Akin: Missouri's true conservative is just too conservative.
That's a very anti-Todd Akin commercial for Democrats and Independents, and a very pro-Todd Akin commercial for the Republican base that votes in primaries.
There were no McCaskill commercials run against John Brunner or Sarah Steelman—they launched lots of nasty attack ads at each other. To claim "McCaskill ran commercials against the then 'establishment' GOP favorite in its primary" gets it backwards and upside down. She ran commercials informing the Republican Base what the most conservative candidate in the race believed, and thus b both raised his chances with the Republican primary electorate (which liked what it heard) and set herself up for the general by getting her message out early.
The Republicans' only justifiable beef is with their own primary electorate...
I find it interesting that telling Republicans that there is a candidate in the race believes what establishment Republicans only say is regarded as a “attack ad”.
It may be unwise for Democrats to inform the Republican primary base of this. And it certainly annoys establishment Republicans when it happens. But there are very, very interesting assumptions about how the public sphere of discourse ought to operate behind The characterization of Macaskill‘s ad as “attack ad“.
Somebody should take a look back at all the whining of Republicans about Macaskill and unpack what is really going on...