The dog days of August have taken on a whole new meaning this election year. Political ad spending (a.k.a. attack advertising) has already reached Brobdingnagian levels usually reserved for the waning days of a campaign.
From MSNBC’s First Read:
Last week, the campaigns, political parties, and outside interest groups spent almost $40 million in TV ads in the presidential contest, according to ad-spending data from SMG Delta. And this week, with the Americans for Prosperity $25 million buy for the next month (which breaks out to some $5 million per week), that number could very well jump up to $45 million or $50 million — in August. And in just 8-12 battleground states.
This is the Depraved New World of political campaigns. And it’s not limited to the presidential election. From yesterday’s New York Times:
Outside Cash in Missouri Race Could Be a National Model
WASHINGTON — Missouri’s long, divisive Republican Senate primary draws to a close Tuesday, but after all the intraparty fireworks, it is the incumbent Democrat, Senator Claire McCaskill, who remains in deep trouble.
As the three Republican candidates have battled it out, Ms. McCaskill has had to buckle down as well. Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, David and Charles Koch’s Americans For Prosperity, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the 60 Plus Association have dumped as much as $15 million into the state since July 2011 to keep her on her heels.
And on her toes.
For her part, Ms. McCaskill has made the outside money the main opponent of the campaign.
One McCaskill advertisement says: “They just keep coming back. Secret money attacking Claire McCaskill. These big oil and insurance companies don’t want you to know who they are.” As a stream of televisions showing her competitors’ ads moves across the screen, it continues: “Claire McCaskill will fight them. Always has, always will.”
Well, maybe not always. We’ll see in November.