A tale of two commercials

Russ Feingold got elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992 because he came across far better than his two Democratic competitors, as shown in this clever ad:

Kevin Binversie picks up the story from there:

In “Houses,” then state Senator Russ Feingold – low on name identification and cash – did a two-minute ad where he portrayed himself as a quirky, folksy, “Man of the People.” In it, he compared his modest home in Middleton to the luxury mansions of his Democratic opponents, former Congressman Jim Moody and Joe Checota. The ad helped turn Feingold from an also-ran with support in the single-digits, into the front-runner.

One of the ad’s highlights was Feingold giving a tour of his own home, in which one of the first things he does is open a nearby broom closet, turn sheepishly to the camera, and say, “Look No Skeletons.”

24 years later, there are a lot of skeletons. So many, they now make for a great ad from Ron Johnson’s campaign.

In “Skeletons,”  Johnson’s team repeatedly shows Feingold telling us “Look no skeletons” as it flashes to a number of headlines and stories related to his Progressives United slush fund, questions related to whether or not he made his decision to run for his old seat on government time, his willingness to disregard his famous “Garage Door Pledge,” his percentage of campaign contributions from outside the state of Wisconsin, how he cashed in on speeches with his “Progressive Rock Star” status, and other topics.

It’s all cleverly put together as the theme from the TV show, “The Adams Family” plays in the background.

“After 34 years in politics, the number of skeletons in Senator Feingold’s closet is downright scary,” Ron Johnson campaign spokesman Brian Reisinger said. “His hypocrisy, broken promises, and shamelessness prove he’s everything people hate about politics – a career politician who will say and do anything to get back to Washington and is only in it for himself.”

This is the fifth in a series of ads from the Johnson campaign targeting specific aspects of Senator Feingold’s legalized slush fund, Progressives United, which operated as a shadow campaign, building campaign infrastructure and fundraising lists while Senator Feingold was a State Department employee.

The ad is devastating if you know the career path of Russ Feingold; it masterfully showcases just how far he has fallen, especially with the steps he’s taken since his 2010 loss. It raises the legitimate question, were we given the “real Russ Feingold” in 1992, or are we getting our true close-up in 2016?

Three terms of Feingold listening to only voices he wants to hear during his “listening sessions,” failing to take a single remotely conservative position, and either parroting the Democratic line or going even further left than that is what Feingold wants voters to forget Tuesday. That’s what 18 years of the phony maverick got Wisconsin.

 

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