Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, March 4, 2009 9:40 pm

Why they ran the ‘Godless’ ad


Shorter Marty Ryall: “We were broke and desperate.”

No, really, that’s pretty much what he says.

And I’d be happy to leave it at that except that he also says:

It was never an attempt to fake Kay Hagan’s voice, or imply that she thinks there is no God. The intention was to provide an exclamation to the ad, showing how radical this group [the atheists who hosted a fund-raiser for Hagan in New York — Lex] is. In hindsight, that voiceover should not have been in the ad. It gave her another avenue of counter-attack to discredit it.

A few points:

  • “It was never an attempt to … imply she thinks there is no God.” Please. Subliminal advertising wasn’t invented yesterday.
  • “The intention was … showing how radical this group is.” At least 10 percent of Americans are atheists or agnostics, and those are just the ones willing to be honest with pollsters. That might be politically unacceptable in many parts of North Carolina, but it isn’t radical. Freedom from religion is just as much a part of our heritage as freedom of religion.
  • Note that he doesn’t say the voiceover shouldn’t have been in the ad because it was wrong. He says it shouldn’t have been in the ad because it gave Kay Hagan a big stick with which to beat Elizabeth Dole over the head. In other words, he’s not sorry he did it, he’s sorry it backfired.
  • Only he also says it didn’t backfire: “Our last tracking poll on the Thursday before the election had us down 8 points and virtually no one was mentioning the Godless issue.” Dude. Get your story straight.

This column is such a mishmash that it’s hard to know what Ryall’s motive is. Perhaps he’s trying to keep his career alive by quasi-distancing himself from one of the biggest Epic Fails in political-advertising history. Perhaps he really believes all this stuff, contradictions included. But it comes across as a dumb explanation of a really dumb move.

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