Unorthodox TV Ad from Montco Republicans
The spot features amateur footage of Democrat Josh Shapiro and running mate Leslie Richards during a meeting with the press on September 15, 2011. According to several people who have seen the commercial, it is airing on broadcast during the morning shows.
During the meeting, Shapiro was asked repeatedly to identify one specific program he would eliminate in order to to avoid raising taxes, but he did not do so.
Shapiro parried the question, repeating, “We’ve identified a new way of budgeting in Montgomery County that will enable us to meet the obligations to the people of Montgomery County without raising taxes.”
“You’ve been in the state House too long,” one questioner says cynically.
Shapiro was referring to the Dems’ zero-based budgeting platform, in which every item of County spending is evaluated each year, rather than carrying over resource allocation from the previous year. The policy has been supported by fiscal wonks across the political spectrum.
“The question was asked continually by someone who had no idea of what zero-based budgeting is. It is not about one program, one department. Zero-based budgeting takes a comprehensive look at the entire budgeting process. The budgeting process over decades with one-party rule in Montgomery County has simply taken the previous year’s budget and added to it,” explained Dem spokesman Frank Custer.
Even though Shapiro’s answer is logically consistent, the footage is certainly unflattering.
That said, the decision to air the clip as an ad is an interesting one. Some media consultants PoliticsPA spoke with said it was a poor decision. That someone closely following the campaign politics might appreciate such footage, but that a regular audience wouldn’t notice. Furthermore, since Shapiro has high name ID and is practically guaranteed a seat, one producer said it would have made more sense to target Richards.
Others praised the ad, saying it was original, felt authentic, and could cut through the clutter of typical campaign commercials.
“This ad is brilliant,” said one Montco Democratic strategist.
Here is a longer clip of the press conference, posted by the Brown-Castor campaign.